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Public-images-osm logo.svg flashing_lights
Further refinement for nodes already tagged with highway=crossing where crossing traffic receive a flashing caution light Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: properties
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
Status: in use

This tag indicates the presence of flashing lights to warn crossing traffic at a highway=crossing, or similar crossing, to be on the lookout for other pedestrians, cyclists etc. that maybe present. Since the presence of flashing warning lights does not always carry the same requirements as a highway=traffic_signals would and the situation differs based on the rules of the road in such scenarios that don't always dictate a tag for the crossing traffic. This tag serves more to indicate a greater level of protection and safety for the pedestrians/cyclists than that of a simple crossing=marked or crossing=unmarked crossing.

In fact it is important to note that the presence of flashing lights may not even mean there are any pedestrians/cyclists present or waiting to cross as the flashing_lights=always tag value means there is always flashing lights, this scenario presumptively grant crossing users some what greater protection than nothing at all but not nearly as much protection as flashing_lights=button or flashing_lights=sensor might.

The flashing lights themselves may be either included as part of roadside signage or integrated into the road like some traffic_calming=table structures have.

In the United States, a common type of flashing light for crossings is a Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon (RRFB).

The flashing_lights tag

Tag Values

This is the default or assumed state if the flashing_lights tag is not included and indicates no flashing lights are present at the highway=crossing.
A flashing lights for crossing traffic is presence at the highway=crossing and no further information about it's operation or triggering is known. The flashing_lights=button, flashing_lights=always, or flashing_lights=sensor tag values are better and preferred selection when known.
A button may be pressed but the pedestrian(s)/cyclist(s) wishing to cross which activates the flashing lights for crossing traffic.
Bike and pedestrian crossing in Portland, Oregon.jpg
A flashing light is always operational at the crossing regardless of the presence of any pedestrian, cyclist, etc. This is different than flashing_lights=yes in that it indicates an always on condition without trigger by either flashing_lights=button or flashing_lights=sensor where flashing_lights=yes the state and triggering are simply unknown or unspecified.
A flashing light is triggered by an approaching pedestrian(s)/cyclist(s) or movement in the waiting area of the crossing making an initial button press un-necessary and ideally allowing for crossing pedestrian(s)/cyclist(s) to be able to cross without stopping. In some scenarios the approach sensor doesn't provide safe crossing conditions requiring crossing pedestrian(s)/cyclist(s) to fulling stop at the crossing, in these scenarios it is not uncommon to see both a flashing_lights=sensor + flashing_lights=button values or flashing_lights=button;sensor

Use with other Tags

Combining with crossing=traffic_signals
Although uncommon if the crossing pedestrian(s)/cyclist(s) receive a traffic light while crossing traffic received only flashing lights then it is possible for these tags to be used together although it is far more common that if the crossing pedestrian(s)/cyclist(s) have a highway=traffic_signals node that the crossing traffic will likewise have a highway=traffic_signals node

See also