ACCESSIBLE PEDESTRIAN SIGNALS

 

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New Accessible Pedestrian Signals have been installed at:

27th STREET & 2nd AVENUE
Traffic light by the High School Near Frank Park

These APS signals provide audible and vibrotactile WALK indications to help people who have trouble seeing the pedestrian signal. The sounds come from the pushbutton and automatically adjust to ambient sound so they will be louder when the traffic is loud and quieter when traffic is quiet. Audible and vibrotactile WALK indication tell a visually impaired pedestrian that the WALK signal is on, but it is still important that they check traffic to be sure that cars are not running the red light or turning across the crosswalk.

Each APS has the following features:

  • Pushbutton locator tone: tone that constantly repeats once per second from each pushbutton. Helps people who are blind or who have low vision find the pushbutton.
  • Audible and vibrotactile WALK indications: sound and vibration during the WALK signal
  • Rapid tick WALK indication: rapidly repeating tick from the pushbutton location to indicate that the WALK signal is on.
  • Actuation indicator: a tone, a click, or a spoken "wait" when the pushbutton is pushed to indicate that the button has been pushed
  • Short Button Push: button "CLICK" sound to indicate that the button has been pushed.
  • Long Button Push: "WAIT" voice to indicate that it is not safe to cross the intersection.
  • The standard pushbutton locator tone will start again after the crossing period has ended.

Suggested techniques in using APS:

  • Approach intersection and stop at curb or curb ramp/street edge, maintaining initial alignment; check alignment for crossing by listening to traffic. Even if a pushbutton locator tone is noticed during approach, continue to the curb or edge of street first.
  • Determine starting location for crossing, and identify tactile cues to use to realign after pressing the pushbutton, because after pushing the button, there may be no time to listen to parallel traffic and realign before the next WALK signal.
  • Listen and evaluate the intersection. Determine traffic patterns and intersection geometry and listen for a pushbutton locator tone, or a tone or speech WALK indication. (important that students/clients understand and can recognize the difference between a pushbutton locator tone and typical WALK indications)
  • Search for a pushbutton using a systematic pattern. Even where there is a pushbutton locator tone, a systematic search pattern is needed to maintain orientation. Because dog guides are trained to avoid obstacles they may be reluctant to approach poles supporting pedestrian pushbuttons. It may be more efficient for the handler to use a cane to search initially before teaching the dog to locate the pole.
  • Once the APS is located, explore the device and its functioning, including locating the tactile arrow to confirm that the arrow is pointing in the direction of the street being crossed.
  • Hold the pushbutton down for more than three seconds, and see if more information is provided.
  •  Listen to APS and traffic for full cycle to make sure that tones or speech correspond with traffic information.
  • Press button and return to predetermined spot at the curb, realign and prepare to cross.
  • When WALK indication is heard, confirm that traffic on perpendicular street is stopping or stopped, and listen for initial parallel traffic movements when available. Traffic may still be legally clearing the crosswalk when the WALK begins, so careful listening is important.
  • Cross the street using typical alignment techniques (traffic, straight line travel, etc) while continuing to listen for turning cars. In many cases, cars can turn right and left across the crosswalk during the pedestrian phase. Although drivers are supposed to yield to pedestrians, they often do not.
  • Be aware that a locator tone on the destination curb may provide additional wayfinding information.
  • Continue to be vigilant of traffic even though the WALK indication is on.

The First APS intersection in Western Nebraska made possible by:

  Tri-City Active Living Advisory Committee
  Panhandle Public Health District
  Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  Disability Rights Nebraska
  General Traffic Controls
  Pelco Products
  City of Scottsbluff

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