County to Install Touch Free Pedestrian Signal Crosswalk Devices at Expressway Intersections in Santa Clara County

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.--The County of Santa Clara is adding touch free, pedestrian activation devices at crosswalks located at 25 expressway intersections with heavy pedestrian use. The installation of the contact free devices will enable pedestrians to wave a hand in front of them and cross the street without having to physically push a button. The first devices have been installed at the intersection of South Bascom Avenue and Renova Drive, in front of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Other devices will be installed at expressway intersections this Fall.

“The County of Santa Clara is one of the first in the nation to utilize contact free pedestrian signal technology,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Chair of the Board’s Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee. “We identified contact free pedestrian activation devices as one more way we can help our residents reduce their exposure to the novel coronavirus. The new devices will be added to crosswalks at 25 expressway intersections around Santa Clara County.” 

The pedestrian activation device allows pedestrians to activate the crosswalk signal with no physical contact, and provides all audio, visual, and touch responses required. The devices, that are also equipped with pushbuttons that only require slight pressure, use infrared technology to detect the presence of a hand or other objects within a few inches.

A simple hand wave activates the crosswalk signal. When you wave a hand within one to three inches of the pushbutton, a small red light on the device lights up and a "WAIT" message is heard. This is the same confirmation pedestrians receive when pressing the button.

The touch free devices, easily identified by the new signage, will be installed along expressways located in San Jose, Santa Clara, San Martin, Saratoga, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Los Altos, including:

  • Two Central Expressway intersections, including one at Castro Street and one at Rengstorff Avenue
  • Two Almaden Expressway intersections, including Blossom Hill Road and Cherry Avenue
  • Four Lawrence Expressway intersections, including Reed Avenue, Homestead Road, Prospect Road and Moorpark Avenue
  • Six Capitol Expressway intersections, including Story Road, Senter Road, Silver Creek Road, Vista Park Drive, Seven Trees Boulevard, and Snell Avenue
  • Three San Tomas Expressway intersections, including El Camino Real, Stevens Creek Boulevard and Cabrillo Avenue
  • Four Foothill Expressway intersections, including Arastradero Road, Main Street, W. Edith Avenue and Magdalena Avenue
  • Montague Expressway and De La Cruz Boulevard
  • Oregon Expressway and Middlefield Road
  • Two additional intersection locations include South Bascom Avenue and Renova Drive (demonstration devices already installed), and Monterey Road and E. San Martin Avenue

“The intersection in front of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is the ideal location for the first installation because of the high volume of pedestrian traffic around and near the hospital campus,” said Harry Freitas, Director of the County of Santa Clara Roads and Airports Department. “We look forward to adding this new technology to our expressway crosswalks.”

Approximately 200 devices will be installed at the 25 intersections. Additional devices will be purchased and installed at other expressway signalized intersections when funding becomes available. Residents may request the devices for other expressway intersections or unincorporated county areas by sending a service request on the County website at These requests will be considered pending availability of additional funding.

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Pedestrian Devices - Planned Locations Map


The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.

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Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez/Laurel Anderson, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, [email protected]

Posted: August 13, 2020


News Release


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