Many pedestrians rely on unmistakable visual cues to safely cross a road such as ‘walk/don’t walk’ indicators, crowding of other pedestrians and movement of vehicular traffic. For people with visual disabilities, such cues may not be evident: they instead rely on accessible pedestrian signals for independent and safe crossing.
Accessible pedestrian signals provide a locator tone to help users find the activation button. A different walk indicator tone provides notice of when it’s safe to cross.
Raised arrows on push buttons and tactile indicators along the intersection’s curb ramp or depressed curb define the pavement edge and the direction to travel. The mounting height and location of controls are important factors in ensuring usability.
Accessible pedestrian signals are required where new pedestrian crossing signals are installed or when existing pedestrian crossing signals are replaced.
Requirements for the Design of Accessible Pedestrian Signals
- The locator tone must be distinct from the walk indicator tone.
- Must be installed within 1,500 mm of the edge of the curb.
- Distance between pedestrian signal controls
- Where two pedestrian signal controls are installed on the same corner, they must be located a minimum of 3,000 mm apart.
- Exception: Where a 3,000 mm separation cannot be met due to site constraints or existing infrastructure, the two accessible pedestrian signal assemblies can be installed on a single post. Where this occurs, a verbal announcement must clearly state which crossing is active.
- Mounting height
- The activation button of the accessible pedestrian signal control must be maximum 1,100 mm above the ground.
- Tactile arrows
- Must include tactile arrow symbols aligned with the direction of crossing.
- Activation features
- Must include both manual and automatic activation features.
- Walk indicators
- Must be provided both audibly and through vibro-tactile indicators.
Better Practice Considerations
- Consider using distinctly different tones for north-south and east-west crossing. Use them consistently throughout the municipality or region.
- Refuge islands
- At lengthy pedestrian crossing routes, consider incorporating refuge areas (islands) to allow people to stop in a safe location. Be sure to include TWSIs to help people with visual disabilities identify safe stopping areas.
- Countdown signals
- Including countdown signals on visual crossing indicators may help users understand how long they have to cross.
- Tactile Mapping
- Consider providing a tactile diagram on the pedestrian signal control showing the laneconfiguration of the roadway to be crossed.