ADB SAFEGATE helps U.S. airports reduce the number of runway incursions by 52%

ADB SAFEGATE is proud to have participated in the multi-year Runway Status Lights (RWSL) project initiated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2008 to prevent runway incursions at major airports across the country.

©ADB SAFEGATE RWSL runway visual lights


Runway Status Lights (RWSL)

The FAA recently announced that the RWSL project has been fully implemented at 20 airports and that a 2017 report on the effectiveness of RWSL at 15 of the airports showed an overall 52% reduction in the average runway incursion rate.


Runway Status Lights provide direct warning to pilots about potential runway conflicts

ADB SAFEGATE partnered with the FAA, Sensis Corporation, and HNTB Corporation to deploy the RWSL program. The program was designed as a second layer of protection to increase situational awareness on the airfield to help prevent runway incursions. 

RWSL is a system of red lights embedded in the pavement of runways and runway-taxiway intersections that automatically warns pilots and vehicle operators if it is unsafe to cross or enter a runway. It also includes “take-off hold lights” that indicate if a runway is unsafe for departure.

“ADB SAFEGATE strives to keep airfields operational and safe, and projects like the RWSL program help make our vision a reality,” said Nick Haines, Director, Engineering Services, Americas. “This project is a great example of multiple contributors working together in a good partnership to tackle a major safety concern that the FAA wanted solved.”

ADB SAFEGATE’s portion of the RWSL program deployment included delivery of the airfield lighting system, which consisted of the company’s red RWSL LED fixtures, an Individual Lamp Control and Monitoring System (ILCMS) on both the airfield and in the vault, an ALCMS computer, and L-829 ferroresonant constant current regulators.

RWSLs are now operational at the following airports:

  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport
  • Boston Logan International Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  • Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport
  • Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • LaGuardia International Airport
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Orlando International Airport
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • San Diego International Airport
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Washington Dulles International Airport


The Future of RWSL

Recently, ADB SAFEGATE was awarded a contract to provide testing and integration support to the FAA during its effort to update RWSL ILCMS technology to ADB SAFEGATE’s RELIANCE Intelligent Lighting Platform II. The contract is for supporting the conversion to RELIANCE IL at the FAA Level 2 test facility in Oklahoma City and to install and support the 6 circuits at Orlando International Airport (MCO). ADB SAFEGATE is supplying a total of 9 RELIANCE IL Masters and 352 Remotes. The FAA also contracted with the company to provide updated RWSL fixtures as part of another contract. 

“Airports in other parts of the world are interested in experimenting with this idea, and we helped facilitate a visit to the FAA by the Chinese to see the RWSL system in action,” adds Haines. For the rest of the world, RWSL is a type of autonomous runway incursion warning system (ARIWS) as defined in ICAO Annex 14 aerodromes. RWSL systems have been deployed at multiple airports in Japan and at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. Japan, France, the USA and other worldwide experts participated in criteria harmonization promoted by ICAO to ensure worldwide and consistent operational use where implemented.

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