Accessible Pedestrian Signal Models
To create an accessible world and to comply with ADA standards, accessible pedestrian signal (APS) models work with detectable warning tiles to keep pedestrians of all abilities safe around vehicle intersections and street crosswalks. These APS models mark heavily trafficked areas in cities with a button for audio directions for individuals with low visibility. A number of APS tools offer direction and aid to individuals with differing abilities, including a rapid tick sound, speech indication, tactile signals, and vibrating indications.
Providing adequate non-visual information to pedestrians who have low vision or are blind is a challenge for most cities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that non-visual information be available for pedestrians to help make an appropriate crossing decision for crosswalks and intersections.
Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) is a device that informs pedestrians with vision impairments about the WALK/DON’T WALK intervals at an intersection.
To make accessible pedestrian signal models truly useful to individuals with impairments, the APS models must be situated mindfully in location and operation. Individuals with impairments must be able to locate the APS tool and reach it easily, and the APS tool should share correct information.
Rapid Tick Walk Indication
Most APS models include a push-button on each individual pole that indicates to the pedestrian whether to walk or remain on the curb. Once it’s safe to cross, the APS provides an audible indication with a fast ticking or beeping sound that comes at a rate of 8-10 repetitions per second. These ticks are often considered to be the clearest indicator of a safe crossing.
Speech Walk Indication
When APS models are mounted within 10 feet of each other, the rapid tick walk indication can cause confusion as to which crosswalk is safe to cross. Two different tone indications would only add to the noisy chaos. In this situation, the speech walk indication signal would say, “[street name], WALK sign is on to cross [street name].” The message would be repeated throughout the walk indication.
Vibrotactile Walk Indication
Some APS models include a vibrating plate or arrow that indicates when it is safe to walk by vibrating. A pedestrian with low vision and poor hearing can place a hand on the device to be informed on when it is safe to cross the street. In noisy environments, a vibrotactile walk indication can help to confirm audio information.
A tactile arrow on the APS should align with the crosswalk that the device serves. That way individuals with hearing or vision impairments can determine that the APS model is matched with the crosswalk that they intend to use.
All APS models should come with Braille signs and tactile arrows to serve pedestrians who are blind. It is critical that Braille street labeling be installed correctly. Otherwise, pedestrians with low or no vision may become disoriented.
APS Microphone and Speakers
Most APS models include a microphone and speakers. The microphone monitors the ambient sounds of the intersection, and its technology uses those measurements to adjust the volume of the connected speakers to ensure that the waiting pedestrian is able to hear the walk indication over the traffic sounds. Microphone and speaker placement are crucial to ensure that the pedestrians know when it is safe to cross.
Other options for helping to make cities more accessible to all pedestrians are tools such as tactile crosswalk maps and extended pedestrian timing. Engineers and researchers continue to find new ways to create an accessible pedestrian experience.
At StrongGo, we are at the forefront of creating a more accessible world with our Tekway Detectable Warning Dome-Tiles. Speak with an industry expert today to determine the best options for your project.