LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — On June 1, a brand-new high-intensity activated crosswalk system was implemented and activated near the University of Kentucky campus at the intersection of South Limestone and Pine Street.

The system, known as “HAWK,” is the first of its kind in Lexington according to Jeff Neal of the city of Lexington’s Traffic Engineering Department.

It was a city initiative to implement the system.

Kentucky is a yield-to-pedestrian state at crosswalks, unlike others that are a stop for pedestrians.


The HAWK system will create a Suto traffic light at an intersection that doesn’t have one.

How it works is a pedestrian activates by pushing a button when they wish to cross.

From there the HAWK system will flash yellow lights to warn oncoming traffic that someone is about to cross.

After turning solid yellow, the light will turn solid red, which will serve as a driver’s queue to stop completely to allow pedestrians to cross, which at that point will be the queue for pedestrians that they can actually cross.

After a short while, the solid red light will turn to a flashing red one, creating a suto stop sign, warning drivers that they are ok to drive, but just be aware someone could still be crossing.

The reason for the implementation of the HAWK system explains Alternative Transportation Manager at the University of Kentucky Sandra Broadwill, stems from one issue. Safety.

“At the intersection of Pine Street and South Limestone is a multilane and in the one direction,” Broadwill outlined. “Previously it was a crosswalk that just a pedestrian could hit the crosswalk button and it would kind of have these flashing yellow signs on the side of the sidewalk and so, it wasn’t really directly overhead like the hawk signal is it was harder to see for oncoming vehicles and if one vehicle stopped for a pedestrian and the crosswalk doesn’t mean that the vehicle and the next lane over would necessarily see a pedestrian. It just is a really unsafe condition the more lanes that you have for pedestrians. This allows that to kind of be a safer situation that still allows traffic to move a lot more freely.”


In an article posted to its website, the university said traffic control measures like this have reduced pedestrian crashes by roughly 55% and crashes that result in serious injury or death by 15%.

Although it was a city initiative to implement the HAWK system. Broadwill said that the university does intend to view this as a pilot program to see how well the system works and how well it’s received by students to ultimately determine whether or not it would be advantageous to implement the system in other areas on campus.

We reached out to the city to see if there were any intentions to expand the system to other parts of the city.

“There are no plans currently to install at other locations since this is only the second installation in KY that I’m aware of,” Neal said.

To learn more about the HAWK system, you can find it here.