Adopting a Design Approach to Put People at the Heart of New Mobility Services – Interview with Marie-Charlotte Moret

Adopting a Design Approach to Put People at the Heart of New Mobility Services – Interview with Marie-Charlotte Moret

Adopting a Design Approach to Put People at the Heart of New Mobility Services – Interview with Marie-Charlotte Moret

 

Marie-Charlotte Moret is a service designer. “Designer ah?! She creates beautiful objects then!”. No, not only. Her job is to analyze actual practices to bring out new solutions that improve everyday life, with services that are useful, usable and “desirable” (beautiful), essential conditions for their development and sustainability. This is why this approach is central to create new mobilities in the urban environment of the 21st century. Explanation!

 

Putting people back at the heart of urban mobility is a growing concern for city designers and local public transport authorities. Can you explain how service design meets this challenge?

 

The designer’s approach is indeed centered on humans. The methodology we apply is the analysis of what already exists, the audit of the environment, the behavior of the users and the constraints encountered. It is only after each step is complete that we start the creation process in order to answer the problems previously observed by choosing the product that best suits the needs. The next step is to check how the solution is used and what are its potential misuses.

I also apply the methodology of design thinking, which includes the users from the beginning of the reflection. Contrary to common assumptions, it is not just about filling a wall with post-it. The method involves observations in the field, interviews, explanations… We begin by empathizing with the user. What are his needs that are not covered? What are its constraints? Why would he use one solution over another? This approach is very useful for creating products as well as services.

 

You have worked on solutions to improve the mobility of people with disabilities. What have you learnt from this experience?

 

At University, I wrote an essay on: “How to improve the lives of elderly people in retirement homes”. When I arrived at Okeenea Digital in 2018, I discovered new users: people with disabilities in their urban mobility. However, the methodology remains the same. Putting the user in the center should be the start of any new project. Understand the needs, the problems, the daily life… to improve the overall experience.

Last year, we responded to SNCF’s Open Beacon tender (the French National Railway Company) by offering a mobility assistant at train stations. I then undertook observation sessions in the field, met users with all types of mobility problems. Currently, there is a human assistance service available for all travelers with disabilities or reduced mobility called Access Plus service. But this service is completely saturated and is very expensive for the SNCF. On the other hand, it is quite restrictive for users who must anticipate their trip at least 48 hours in advance and arrive well before the departure of their train. The organization is very rigid and does not allow a partial support on a single part of the trip, for example for a person who knows by heart his station of departure but only needs help for his correspondence or upon arrival. 

We then imagined an mobile application combining wayfinding technologies and human help in case of temporary difficulties. Working on a project such as this one of course involves understanding the needs of the end users, but more generally of all stakeholders including station staff. During this project, I also exchanged a lot with reception agents, security agents and staff of the Access Plus service. 

In short, to be a good designer, you have to think wide, not stay in a bubble. You must consider the experience as a whole. If you design a guiding solution, you must think about how the user will prepare his itinerary from home, the actual wayfinding solution, but also what happens after.

 

By working alongside with people with disabilities, did you discover difficulties, obstacles that you did not suspect?

 

When I led interviews and observations for the development of this wayfinding application in the metro of Marseille in France, I suddenly realized the diversity of uses among visually impaired people. Depending on how old was the person when the disability occurred, the mobility aid used (white cane, guide dog or nothing), residual visual abilities, the mastery of technological tools…, mobility approaches are very different.

But the accessibility of the environment is definitely decisive! I was recently very shocked watching a documentary of the journey of a person in a wheelchair. An elevator failure is enough for a 20-minute trip in theory to actually last more than an hour and a half. If the person is not aware of the failure, he must go back to the subway to continue his journey and turn around at another station. But in the absence of information on accessible stations, he must sometimes test them all before finding the right one. Hell! All these efforts to, sometimes, not even reach his destination.

Another example that also concerns mobility is free-floating scooters. When I see the number of abandoned scooters in the middle of the sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, I can not help but think of the visually impaired or wheelchair users. In this case, we see that the use has not been thought through. We thought about the need for quick mobility over short distances, the ergonomics of the application to unlock the system, in short, only the needs of end users. But at no time, we thought about the consequences of the commissioning of these vehicles on other users of the public space.

 

We clearly see that players are at the heart of the mobility and urban development policy. Do you have any advice for the stakeholders to achieve this?

 

Public authorities are in charge of the mobility and urban development policy. From what I know, although I may be wrong, there is no designer position in these instances. However it is up to decision-makers to choose the service providers who will execute the work or design solutions for the mobility of their citizens. They have every interest in favoring companies that have this approach, who practice innovation through the understanding of the needs. Even though it may cost a little more, the savings made afterwards and the service rendered really worth it. There is a tendency to focus too much on the possibilities of new technologies. But technology is useless if it does not answer a real need. And of course, innovation must fit into the economical context to have a chance to grow and live on. Usage, technology and economy thus form an inseparable triptych.

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 When I see the number of abandoned scooters in the middle of the sidewalks (…) I can not help but think of the visually impaired or wheelchair users. In this case, we see that the use has not been thought through. We thought (…) only about the needs of end users. But at no time, we thought about the consequences of the commissioning of these vehicles on other users of the public space.

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Lise Wagner

Lise Wagner

Accessibility Expert

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Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

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on the accessibility market.

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By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

We Need to Talk About Pedestrian Crossing’s Accessibility of San Francisco

We Need to Talk About Pedestrian Crossing’s Accessibility of San Francisco

We Need to Talk About Pedestrian Crossing’s Accessibility of San Francisco

 

Being a pedestrian in San Francisco is rough. In fact, it’s deadly. More vehicles than ever are on the road. Latest statistics show that 15 pedestrians were killed at an intersection in 2018. 55 were critically injured and 183 suffered severe injury from a motor vehicle. Pedestrians remain in proportion, particularly exposed road users but it is all the more true for blind and low vision people. In fact, have you ever wondered how do visually impaired people cross the road? 

If you live in San Francisco, a leading city that has long pride itself on inclusion, you are entitled to wonder if it is now implementing measures to provide for more safety and autonomy to those who cannot see. 

How inclusive and accessible is San Francisco now? This article provides for an overview of San Francisco’s policy towards blind pedestrian safety. 

 

Stats and facts about San Francisco pedestrian safety for blind people

San Francisco pedestrian safety infography blind people APS

With 797,300 people living with visual impairment in California, the State holds the record for having the highest number of people with visual disability of the United States. The Fog City itself has identified no less than 18,162 blind people that need help navigating streets.

If the city invests in the safety of its citizens including those with disabilities, intersection crashes continue to cause serious injuries and kill pedestrians every year.

San Francisco is made for walking: commitments to a Walkable City

 

When we talk about walking in the street, we inevitably talk about crossing them. As long as we stay on the sidewalk, in principle everything is fine. But the number of intersections in San Francisco was estimated at 18,525. Thus the probability of having to cross the sidewalk is high. Let’s add the 492,988 vehicles that plow the city every day. That’s when things get complicated.

For several years, the city of San Francisco has been following a process of gradual transformation based on the strong idea of ​​a shared use of public space, where all modes of travel have the same rights in the city. The goal is to restore the place to pedestrians by organizing a harmonious and safe cohabitation between them and the vehicles.

To translate this idea into practical reality, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is working on three ways to improve walking in San Francisco:

⊗ Pedestrian program

 ⊗ Pedestrian strategy

 ⊗ Vision Zero

With its slogan “San Francisco is a city that walks”, the SFMTA  is carrying out its Pedestrian Program including the School Safety Program to ensure safe route to school and quick effective measures turning intersections into safe areas such as: 

⊗ Red visibility curbs at 80 intersections

⊗ Painted safety zones at 40 intersections

⊗ Sidewalk bulbouts at 15 intersections

⊗ High visibility crosswalks at 200 intersections

⊗ Pedestrian headstart signal systems at 60 intersections

⊗ Advanced limit lines at 35 intersections 

To further lead people to choose to walk for most short trips, ex-mayor of San Francisco Edwin M. Lee has implemented the San Francisco Pedestrian Strategy in 2013. This action plan is broken down into various measures mainly impacting crosswalks such as:

⊗ Give extra crossing time at 800 intersections citywide, at least 160 annually

⊗ Re-open 20 closed crosswalks by 2021

⊗ Upgrade 13,000 curb ramps in the next 10 years

⊗ Install pedestrian countdown signals at 184 intersections by 2021

⊗ Target enforcement of high-risk behaviors (i.e., speeding, red-light running, failing to yield to pedestrians) on highinjury corridors and intersections, and report quarterly on injury collisions and enforcement

San Francisco is also part of the global Vision Zero movement. Its goal? Safer, more livable streets to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024.

Latest Vision Zero end of year report shows that there is room for progress. To meet the 2024 ultimate goal, ex-Mayor Lee partnered with the SFMTA and Department of Public Health to present the WalkFirst program as part of Vision Zero global action plan.

By providing technical and statistical analysis of where and why pedestrian collisions occur in the city, the Vision Zero program is able to provide a roadmap of needed pedestrian safety projects for upcoming years. The City has leveraged $17 million for this project at 170 high-priority locations identified by WalkFirst.

San Francisco’s policy towards Accessible Pedestrian Signals

 

Our streets should be safe to everyone including the young ones, the elderly and the disabled. That is part of the definition of an inclusive city which is partially addressed in the city’s three programs presented above.

But San Francisco is going one step further.

To provide safety and autonomy for blind people when crossing the road, San Francisco has adopted a policy to implement Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) throughout the city.

An Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) is a pedestrian traffic light equipped with an audible and/or tactile signal that allows people with visual limitations to cross at an intersection. 

In a context where the multiplicity of vehicles using the roadway complicates the analysis of the circulation by the ear and where the tactile cues are not always implanted so as to constitute an effective marker, audio guidance on pedestrian traffic lights is a much-needed technology for visually impaired people.

Find out why Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) are a vital solution for the visually impaired in this article: How Do the Blind Safely Cross the Road?

 

2007: Accessible Pedestrian Signal Settlement Agreement

 

San Francisco was the first city in the United-States to address this critical pedestrian safety issue back in 2007.

In the Accessible Pedestrian Signal Settlement Agreement the city agreed to install at least 80 intersections with APS and to spend a minimum of $1.6 million on APS over a 2½-year period. The agreement also provides that the city will seek additional funding for more installations.

This agreement is the result of a successful multiyear advocacy campaign by the California Council of the Blind, the San Francisco LightHouse, and others. Before the campaign, only one intersection was equipped with Accessible Pedestrian Signals located at San Francisco State University. Using structured negotiations, members of the visually impaired community and the city jointly came to an agreement in 2007 that has resulted in the installations to date. 

 

2010: Accessible Pedestrian Signal program receives funds

 

In the span on the three years following the agreement, San Francisco has equipped 36 new intersections with APS (116 in total) making San Francisco the national leader on this important safety issue.

In 2010, the City received more than $200,000 in federal funds in order to equip 5 additional intersections with Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS).

2019: San Francisco APS state of play

 

According to the SFMTA last update in March 2019, 272 intersections of San Francisco are equipped with APS. The full list is available here. 83 other intersections are upon request by the public to have APS installed.

Regarding the installation policy, the agency publicly states on its website:

“SFMTA’s policy is to install APS at all new traffic signals, and at any existing signalized intersection that is undergoing a major signal upgrade.”

Considering all the undergoing and future roadworks of this constantly moving city, APS units should increase if the policy remains the same.

SFMTA also receives requests from users and local associations to install APS at specific intersections. Theses requests are subject of a prioritization according to those three criterias:

⊗ The relative priority of the requested intersection as compared to other requested intersections.

⊗ Whether any work is being planned at that intersection.

⊗ Whether an APS is likely to be installed within the next three years.

These prioritization criteria are intended to sort out user requests, which can not all be met due to limited funding.

So far San Francisco has been setting out the exemple for other worldwide cities in terms of pedestrian safety. However, only 1,47% of intersections are equipped with APS leaving scope for even greater commitments from the city. 

Also, it seems that SFMTA has been moving at a slow pace in the last two years when it comes to installing APS in the city. On an average, 17 new APS units have been installed since 2010 but it looks like this number is declining. Is San Francisco going to lose its leading position on the world’s accessibility podium? More than 18,000 blind San Franciscans are keeping a close eye on the project.

Want to go one step further? Find out all you need to know about APS regulation in Toronto.

 

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SFMTA’s policy is to install APS at all new traffic signals, and at any existing signalized intersection that is undergoing a major signal upgrade.

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Zoé Gervais

Zoé Gervais

Content Manager

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Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

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The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

Public Transport Information Accessibility: 5 Solutions for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users

Public Transport Information Accessibility: 5 Solutions for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users

Public Transport Information Accessibility: 5 Solutions for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users

 

“Due to an accident on the track, the metro will be stopped for a few moments, thank you for your understanding”, “Line 21 is diverted due to road work, exceptionally the bus will not stop at the next three stations”.

All these audio messages familiar to our ears and broadcast in our stations and in our public transports are essential to ensure comfort and safety of travelers especially in case of emergency or disruption. But public transport information must be accessible to all types of audiences for whom it is intended. The audio format, if it has the advantage of being direct, excludes all users with a hearing loss, ie 466 million people worldwide (source: who.int).

So how to ensure quality information for hearing impaired users when using transportation? Let’s focus on regulations, needs and existing solutions for deaf and hard of hearing public transport users.

Regulation and accessibility of passenger information

In the United States equal access to information of transportation is ensured with the Americans with Disability Act. Under Title II, agencies which operate at a local or state level are required to provide equal access to all services offered by the organization including public transportation. A public entity must ensure that its communications with deaf citizens are as effective as communications with others.

In Canada, The Guide to Accessibility for Intercity Bus Services states that  “Public announcements should be provided in both audio and visual formats, if possible, in all passenger service areas inside terminals.

In the United States and in accordance with the ADA, the National Association of Deaf (NAD) continues to advocate that all transportation systems (airline, train, bus, subway, etc.) make all audible information accessible by providing the same information in a visual format.

Different laws, for different services exists in different countries. The transportation network managers are responsible for their application at local and state level.

Understand the difficulties and needs of deaf people in public transport

In this regulatory context, where the rights of the disabled public are addressed, people who are deaf or hard of hearing still face accessibility problems, particularly when broadcasting audio messages in the event of an emergency or disruption.

This is compounded by other challenges such as trip planning, ticket purchase, orientation and interaction with travelers and staff.

If the deaf population is very heterogeneous, the perception of the surrounding world remains similar from one person to another. From the reduction to the renunciation of any form of mobility, we find mainly the following inconveniences:

  • difficulties in perceiving sound information
  • annoyance due to noise in degraded sound environments
  • loss of balance, fatigue, headaches, tinnitus etc.

When traveling, people with hearing loss need written support that is broadcast simultaneously with the spoken message, to ensure the same level of information and therefore security and service as the rest of the population. Also, to ensure their comfort, priority seating and a quiet environment should be provided wherever possible.

5 solutions to compensate for audio information in transport

The written format remains the most popular format for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, although it does not take into account the needs of people with reading difficulties due to a disability or a lack of knowledge of the language.

A study conducted by UNIVACCESS in 2018 identified universal solutions for public transport for people with disabilities, particularly for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Here are the 5 most frequently identified solutions.

#1. SMS alert

Among the solutions listed are universal solutions such as the SMS alert in case of disruption. This initiative, set up in cities such as Grenoble, Auckland, Geneva and King County, among others, allows users to follow the status of their mode of transport in real time or to receive specific notifications to a route, especially during disruptions.

#2. The light beep

Many cities around the world like Lisbon, Lyon or Singapore have equipped their metro and tramway doors with a flashing light inside and outside. The light accompanies the beep to prevent any crossing of the doors when they close.

#3. Information screens

Information screens are sprouting around the world, like in Manchester or Barcelona. Located on platforms, stations and inside vehicles and wagons, they provide users with useful and reliable written information. Most screens on board inform on the next stop. Some go as far as announcing the places of interest and the shops nearby.

#4. Training of agents in sign language

Some cities like Toulouse have introduce their agents to sign language. Although it is only practiced by a handful of deaf people in the world, its use in stations is a real asset for the users concerned.

#5. Traveler information applications

Different transportation operators thought the world have developed their proper mobile application warning of possible delays, train changes, platform numbers and even on board announcements.

The City of Barcelona for example provides users with an application calculating in real time the number of minutes remaining before the arrival of the next bus. The city of London offers a similar service thanks to a route calculator with simple and adapted choices.

MaaS: an all-in-one tool for tomorrow’s accessibility

What is MaaS? This article tells you everything you need to know!

MaaS-type applications such as Moovit and CityMapper will soon offer an all-in-one solution to promote the mobility of all public and private transport users. From travel planning, to ticket purchase, guidance assistance and real-time information dissemination, MaaS is emerging as the ideal innovation for people with hearing loss.

In conclusion

The dissemination of the right information at the right time is an asset for transport services. For people who do not hear or hear little, lighting, human and technological solutions (screens, SMS and mobile applications) have been tried and tested in many cities around the world. Knowing that after 50 years, one in three has hearing difficulties, compensating for audio information remains a major challenge for transport operators.

All these amenities are universal solutions that can serve the greatest number, disabled or not. Investing in the accessibility of deaf and hard of hearing people, is indeed a guarantee to the access of your network to the greatest number.

You want to make your public transports accessible to disabled people? Check out our article: Making Public Transport Information Accessible to Disabled People

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When traveling, people with hearing loss need written support that is broadcast simultaneously with the spoken message, to ensure the same level of information and therefore security and service as the rest of the population.

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

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The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

France vs Quebec: How Do Accessible Pedestrian Signals Work Across the Atlantic?

France vs Quebec: How Do Accessible Pedestrian Signals Work Across the Atlantic?

France vs Quebec: How Do Accessible Pedestrian Signals Work Across the Atlantic?

 

On both sides of the Atlantic, accessible pedestrian signals allow blind or visually impaired people to know when is the right time to cross the street. But the regulations and technical features of these devices vary from country to country. 

Let’s take stock of the differences, advantages and disadvantages of each system in France and Quebec.

 

Common feature: Accessible Pedestrian Signals are the responsibility of cities

 

Whether in France or in Canada, it is the local administration that is in charge of the equipment of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS). The government is only setting the obligations, standards and guidelines to follow.

In France, the equipment obligations stem from the Disability Act of 11 February 2005, which states:

“The transport chain, which includes the built environment, roads, public spaces, transport systems and their intermodality, is organized to be accessible to people with disabilities or reduced mobility.”

Disability Act of February 11, 2005

In Quebec, since 21 June 2019, the reference text is the Accessible Canada Act – An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. One of its founding principles is that: “all persons must have barrier-free access to full and equal participation in society, regardless of their disabilities”.

Mandatory norm vs guidelines

Paris has 1,770 signalised intersections, of which over 11,000 traffic lights have already been equipped with Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS). On the other side of the Atlantic in Montreal, there are 2,300 signalised intersections, and only 200 are equipped to help blind pedestrians cross the road. The city intends to improve this situation in the coming years, but these figures show that the incentive does not have as much impact as the legal obligation.

The technical characteristics of French APS are described in the NF S32-002 standard intended for the use of the blind or visually impaired persons published in 2004. A decree of 2006 makes it compulsory to bring up to this standard all new installations and whenever road work is carried out on a crossroad.

In Canada, there is no standard per se, but “Guidelines for Understanding, Use and Implementation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals” published in 2008. The installation of new APS is subject of a prioritization according to well-defined criteria:

⊗ User requests,

⊗ Configuration of the crossroad and complexity of pedestrian crossings: width of streets, speed of vehicles…

⊗ Number of pedestrians, especially visually impaired pedestrians, potential users: proximity to poles generating travel, public transport…

⊗ Difficulty of crossing the street without the help of APS: complexity of traffic flows or lack of sound cues…

These prioritization criteria are intended to sort out user requests, which can not all be met due to limited budgets.

On demand activation

 

Most APS installed in Quebec operate permanently. On the walk phase, a melody is emitted throughout the entire phase. However, this system tends to disappear in favor of on demand activation, in order to limit noise pollution. 

On demand activation APS emit a short, regular and permanent location beep. This beep allows visually impaired people to locate the push button used to activate the audio message on the walk phase. Simply press this button briefly or keep it pressed until a confirmation beep is emitted.

In France, all APS operate by activation. And almost always, they are only activated using a standard remote control that blind or visually impaired people can get from their town hall or associations specializing in visual impairment. Only the city of Paris, because of its very strong tourist traffic, keeps the possibility of activating the APS by a push button fixed on the mast of the traffic light.

The push button allows anyone to activate the APS without the need for specific equipment. However, it represents a difficulty for blind people. They must first locate the pedestrian crossing, then look for the mast, which is sometimes several meters away from the crossing, and finally find the button. The activation by a remote control makes it possible to dispense with all these stages. Good practices exist to organize the distribution system of this essential tool. In addition, it is possible to transfer the functionality of the remote control to a smartphone.

Audio indications

 

According to Canadian guidelines, APS must play a melody when pedestrians are invited to cross the road. During the wait phase and the release phase, most signals are silent. The fixed white silhouette indicating it is safe to cross is indicated by a carillon on the East-West axes, and by the sound of the cuckoo on the North-South axes.

For long crossings, the sound is emitted alternately on both sides of the road, so that visually impaired pedestrians can keep their direction while crossing.

An audio message may be broadcast at the push button location during the wait phase indicating the name of the street and information on the geometry of the crossroads to facilitate the crossing. This measure is however optional.

The French standard, on the other hand, provides for 3 types of audio indications: the audio message “Don’t walk”, the walk start tone and the normal walk tone.

The “Don’t walk” message must always be completed with the name of the street. This allows a visually impaired person to confirm his position. This message is easily customizable thanks to the parameterization tools provided by the manufacturers.

The start of the walk tone consists of a series of characteristic notes easily audible in the ambient noise of the circulation. The normal walk tone is a unique melody described in the APS standards.

 

Additional information on the Canadian side

 

According to the Canadian guidelines, other indications can be added to improve the information and facilitate the orientation of the blind or visually impaired:

⊗ A sign indicating the instructions for use of the APS,

⊗ A tactile arrow indicating the direction of the crossing,

⊗ The name of the street in Braille and in relief,

⊗ A relief plan showing the number of lanes, the traffic directions, the orientation of curbs and the presence of refuge islands.

Despite their usefulness, these elements are rarely all present because of the work of personalization and the important cost they generate. Also remember that only 10 to 15% of blind people read braille and are able to decipher a map in relief. The tactile elements also cause hygiene problems.

However, there is a security measure in Canada that France should learn from. In case of activation of an APS, all vehicle have to come to a complete stop, including turning vehicles. People who are blind or visually impaired are therefore no longer at risk of having their path blocked by a vehicle.

In conclusion…

 

Both French and Canadian Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) have advantages in terms of safety and use. However, for lack of regulatory constraints, APS are not widely used in Quebec, much less in their full version, which best satisfies the use of blind and partially sighted people. 

It must be recognized that French standardization and equipment requirements have considerably boosted the industrialization of new generation of APS. These use advanced technologies in terms of activation, parameterization and maintenance for a very reasonable cost.

 

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Paris has 1,770 signalised intersections, of which over 11,000 traffic lights have already been equipped with Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS). In Montreal, there are 2,300 signalised intersections, and only 200 are equipped to help blind pedestrians cross the road.

writer

Lise Wagner

Lise Wagner

Accessibility Expert

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Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Disability Pride Month: What Is It and Why Is It Important?July celebrates Disability Pride Month! A month to support and raise awareness on disability. It gives people with disabilities an opportunity to be seen and heard. Obviously, everybody has their own...

NEVER miss the latest news about the Smart City.

Sign up now for our newsletter.

Unsubscribe in one click. The information collected is confidential and kept safe.

powered by okeenea

The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

Smart City Expo: A Flagship Event Moving ‘Towards Inclusivity’

Smart City Expo: A Flagship Event Moving ‘Towards Inclusivity’

Smart City Expo: A Flagship Event Moving ‘Towards Inclusivity’

 

The city of Barcelona is about to host the 9th edition of the Smart City’s flagship international event: the Smart City Expo World Congress. This international trade show is the #1 meeting point for Smart City players, which has gathered more than one million visitors from around the world since its creation in 2011.

It is an opportunity for experts, politicians, companies, research centers and global organizations to share their vision and lead together the urban transformation of tomorrow.

Facts and figures about Smart City Expo

Smart City Expo infographic

An inclusive edition: ‘Towards Inclusivity’

A smart city is not just a sustainable and innovative city. Inclusion, and particularly inclusion of people with disabilities, remains an important innovation driver for the Smart City.

This year, the Smart City Expo World Congress puts inclusion at the heart of its approach with an initiative called ‘Towards Inclusivity’, proposing measures to limit the divide related to disability, language, religion or gender.

Here are the initiatives dedicated to disabled people that you can find during the event this year:

⊗ electric scooters available for people with reduced mobility,

⊗ reserved spaces for wheelchairs and electric scooters,

⊗ guided tour available for visually impaired people,

⊗ full accessibility of the venue.

Many debates and conferences on the theme of inclusion will also be proposed during the event to raise awareness and enable all participants to act on their own scale to respond to inclusion society’s challenges, such as digital inclusion, gentrification, urban justice or the sharing economy.

Why participate in Smart City Expo World Congress?

You are involved in the Smart City industry? You want to develop your network? Find partners or customers?

Smart City Expo is the place to connect with your entire ecosystem. Between start-ups, cities, institutions, politicians, more than 25,000 participants from around the world are expected for this event. Don’t miss it!

Moreover, according to the statistics provided by the organizers, two out of three people present at the event are decision-makers, which makes Smart City Expo the ideal place for the collection of qualified prospects and the creation of new collaborations. Overall 92% of participants were satisfied with the quality of contacts established in previous editions.

Join the adventure!

Practical information

From 19 to 21 November 2019 at the Fira Barcelona in Barcelona.

 

What is the Smart City? To go further, read our article on the topic: How Can a Smart City Make Life Easier for People with Disabilities?

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This year, the Smart City Expo World Congress puts inclusion at the heart of its approach with an initiative called ‘Towards Inclusivity’, proposing measures to limit the divide related to disability, language, religion or gender.

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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