How Does the City of Toronto By-law Secure Pedestrian Crossings For Blind People?

How Does the City of Toronto By-law Secure Pedestrian Crossings For Blind People?

How Does the City of Toronto By-law Secure Pedestrian Crossings For Blind People?

 

A previous article has rounded up the difficulties faced by blind and visually impaired Torontonian when crossing the street as well as the existing solutions to tackle them. This new article aims to enlighten on the regulations and initiatives in force at federal, provincial and municipal level.

We will give you all the keys to better understand the regulations in place and how it is possible to act in your own way.

 

Federal laws and organizations

All federal laws have been mentioned in a previous article: What Are the Regulations Concerning APS in Montreal?

In this article you will learn about:

⊗ Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Final Guidelines for Accessible Pedestrian Signals

⊗ Bill C-81 : An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada

In addition, two state-funded associations play an major role in pedestrians’ accessibility:

⊗ The Centre for Active Transportation (CAT) with its program Complete Streets for Canada

⊗ The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) with its program Clearing our Path

The CAT – a project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada – has initiated a program called Complete Streets for Canada. Its mission is to ensure transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire street network for all road users, not only motorists but also pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

 

As of January 2019, there are over 100 Complete Streets policies in Canada, in all 10 provinces. In addition to policies, Canadian cities are starting to produce Complete Streets guidelines, most notably in Toronto in 2016.

The Canadian federal government while playing a role in interprovincial transportation systems is not responsible for developing transportation policy at municipal level. However, the federal government can choose to play a role in funding transportation infrastructure and systems at provincial and municipal levels. 

Clearing our Path is a CNIB foundation designed to create accessible environments ­for people impacted by blindness. 

One of their main action is to facilitate street crossing to limit exposure to vehicular traffic by incenting the implementation of islands, raised pedestrian crossings and Accessible Pedestrian Signals.

 

Provincial regulation

 

Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC), 1962

 

The Ontario Human Rights Code aims at removing existing barriers due to disabilities and avoiding making new ones by designing inclusively:

“The Code protects people from discrimination and harassment because of past, present and perceived disabilities. Disability covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not visible. A disability may have been present from birth, caused by an accident, or developed over time.”

 

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), 2005

 

The AODA advocated for a barrier-free society for Ontarians with disabilities.

Amongst other standards, the Ontario regulation 191/11 – Integrated Accessibility Standards section 80.28 – gives details about Accessible Pedestrian Signals characteristics and installation obligations:

“Where new traffic control signal systems with pedestrian control signals are being installed or existing pedestrian control signals are being replaced, the pedestrian control signals must meet the requirements for accessible pedestrian control signals.”

“Accessible pedestrian control signals must meet the following requirements:

⊗ They must have a locator tone that is distinct from a walk indicator tone.

⊗ They must be installed within 1,500 mm of the edge of the curb.

⊗ They must be mounted at a maximum of 1,100 mm above ground level.

⊗ They must have tactile arrows that align with the direction of crossing.

⊗ They must include both manual and automatic activation features.

⊗ They must include both audible and vibro-tactile walk indicators.”

 

How to blind people cross the street safely in Toronto, find out!

 

Municipal regulations and action plans

Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines

 

The City of Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines from 2004 regulates the design, planning and construction of accessible facilities and the preparation of accessibility audits.

Section 1.5.1 is dedicated to Accessible Pedestrian Signals:

⊗ “Signals at pedestrian crosswalks should be designed generally in accordance with requirements of the Highway Traffic Act and the Ontario Traffic Manual Book 12 – Traffic Signals.

⊗ Both audible and flashing crossing signals should be provided as an aid to persons who have hearing or visual limitations.

⊗ Audible pedestrian signals should be loud enough to be heard clearly above the ambient noise (i.e.: at least 15 decibels louder than ambient noise).

⊗ Two different audible pedestrian signals, identifying when it is safe to cross either direction, (as indicated by a separate tone) are required for persons with visual disabilities.

⊗ Where extended time is required to cross, (e.g., by seniors and persons with disabilities), a clearly marked pedestrian button should be available and mounted on a pole beside the curb cut, at a maximum height of 1065 mm. 

⊗ Tactile features should be provided as an aid to persons who have both hearing and vision limitations. (ie. A tactile or vibro-tactile feature on pushbuttons.)”

⊗ In locations frequently used by seniors or persons with disabilities, crossing timing should be provided to permit pedestrians, or wheelchair users to cross safely.” 

 

City of Toronto Corporate Accessibility Policy

The City of Toronto’s Accessibility Policy, adopted by Council on June 26, 2018, is a framework for compliance with the City’s commitments to accessibility and the requirements of AODA.

 

The City affirms its commitment to meet the requirements of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and the Ontario Human Rights Code with 3 main actions:

⊗ The creation of a multi-year accessibility plan (MYAP)

⊗ Provide information about services for people with disabilities

⊗ Create a Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee to implement AODA locally

 

Toronto Vision Zero

 

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is an action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. Launched in July 2016, the Plan prioritizes the safety of the most vulnerable road users through a range of initiatives including Accessible Pedestrian Signals, speed reduction and leading pedestrian intervals. 

In June 2018, Toronto’s council approved $13 million in funding for road safety measures to improve and accelerate the Vision Zero program in the years to come.

For more information on Vision Zero, read our article: Vision Zero a Revolutionary Approach to Road Safety.

 

Toronto complete street guidelines

Complete streets of Toronto – part of the Walk Toronto Program and the federal Complete streets program – is enabling people with special needs to cross with confidence. 

In August 2014, Toronto City Council adopted a Complete Streets policy and in January 2017, Toronto’s Complete Streets Guidelines were released.

Chapter 9 is dedicated to street design for intersections. It includes two accessible and universal design strategies to provide access, predictability, safety and convenience for everyone especially for blind and partially sighted people at intersections:

⊗ tactile warning surface indicators

⊗ accessible pedestrian signals

The City of Toronto, supported by provincial and federal regulations, is implementing many initiatives to help visually impaired people cross the street safely, including the implementation of APS.

Toronto’s Accessibility Policy that requires the installation of APS at all new crossroads and crossroads that are subject to major renovation allows the City to have 33% of its total signalized intersections equipped with APS systems which is fairly remarquable.

Will the city succeed in implementing its Vision Zero and Complete Street policy for the coming years? Will the number of APS continue to increase? This is the hope of the visually impaired community in Toronto.

media

The City of Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines from 2004 regulates the design, planning and construction of accessible facilities and the preparation of accessibility audits:

⊗ Both audible and flashing crossing signals should be provided as an aid to persons who have hearing or visual limitations.

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

follow us!

more articles

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.

London’s Accessible Pedestrian Crossings: What Does The Law Say?

London’s Accessible Pedestrian Crossings: What Does The Law Say?

London’s Accessible Pedestrian Crossings: What Does the Law Say?

 

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself as a pedestrian facing a horde of cars pressed into the streets of London. How to know if it is safe to cross?

Every day more than 250,000 visually impaired people cross the streets of London.

What are current regulations, legislation and guidance to make the pedestrian crossings of the capital accessible?

Let’s have a look at current regulations in force. You will then be able to assess whether your crosswalks are up to standard and take the necessary steps to comply with them.

 

The Highways Act 1980 

The highway authority has the duty under the Highways Act 1980 to keep the streets and pavements clear of obstacles and clutter to allow every pedestrian to walk along them safely.

The Equality Act

The new Equality Act 2010 (former Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – DDA) provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and avoid any discrimination caused by physical features. The Act also requires local authorities to provide information that is accessible for everyone.

Inclusive mobility

In 2005 the Department of Transport published “Inclusive mobility – a guide to best practice on access to the pedestrian and transport infrastructure”. The aim of this guidance is to provide advice on best practice to assist professionals to meet their responsibilities under the Equality Act. These guidelines do not have any legal status but they provide guidance on best practice in a general sense that relevant organizations can apply to their particular situation. 

These include specifications on:  

⊗ Audible and tactile signals at pelican crossings and controlled junctions

⊗ The Design of Pedestrian Crossings 

⊗ Tactile Paving Surfaces

The main purpose of these guidelines is to set road designs for people with physical impairment to the highest possible standards that can benefit to everyone.

 

Design of Pedestrian Crossing

The Department of Transport has issued a guideline in 1995 updated in 2005 in a traffitc advisory leaflet advising on the design of general pedestrian facilities at signal-controlled junctions. A full section is dedicated to accessible pedestrian crossings.

According to the Department of Transport, two audible signals and one tactile signal standards are available: the normal standard “bleeper”, the “Bleep and Sweep” signal and the tactile cone.

The standard “bleeper” is the audible solution used when all cars are stopped at a junction. For more complexe crossings, the “bleep and sweep” signal is used. By adapting the output level of each crossing signal, pedestrians can determine which crossing is safe to cross and thus reduce the risk of confusion.

The tactile signal is a small cone fitted underneath of the push button box. The cone rotates when the green man pedestrian signal is lit. To ensure consistency for visually impaired people the tactile unit should be installed on the right hand side of the bottom of the push button unit.

When audible signals are unsafe only tactile devices shall be used. However, the question of security remains debatable. Indeed, several local associations contest this notion of “security”. According to them, all pedestrian crossings should be equipped with an audible signal no matter the design of the junction.

 

Design Standards for Signal Schemes in London

 The Design Standards for Signal Schemes in London are guidelines that list all standards for audible and tactile signals for the City of London. If you are a decision-maker from London this document specifically might interest you.

“Where pedestrian facilities are being provided, audible and/or tactile devices must be provided for the visually impaired in addition to the normal Red and Green Man indication. 

The tactile or audible devices shall always operate at the same time as and be interlocked with the Green Man indication.”

The Design Standards for Signal Schemes in London

The mayor of London says that all pedestrians crossings are accessible, in practice, it is very common to find a crossing only equipped with a cone and not with an audible signal making crossing more difficult and less secure for visually impaired people.

The document updated in 2011 contains all practical information related to the installation of accessibility equipment on pedestrian crossings in London such as:

⊗ location of pushbutton and tactile units 

⊗ red lamp monitoring

⊗ audible signal installation requirements

⊗ ‘all red’ detectors

To enable blind and low-vision pedestrian to safely cross the road, all London’s signal-controlled junctions must be equipped with audible and/or tactile signal unless specific considerations warrant their exclusion. As we know London is a large and old city. The road layouts vary widely because the space and geometry of each junction and crossing are different. Consequently these texts above list general specifications regarding accessible devices location and design but may be subject to changes to achieve safe and unambiguous signalling.

 

For more information about London’s policy on accessible pedestrian crossings, check out our last article!

 

Source documents:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3695/inclusive-mobility.pdf

http://programmeofficers.co.uk/Preston/CoreDocuments/LCC175.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/design-standards-signal-schemes.pdf

media

Where pedestrian facilities are being provided, audible and/or tactile devices must be provided for the visually impaired in addition to the normal Red and Green Man indication. 

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

MOST POPULAR

Sorry, No Posts Found

follow us!

more articles

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.

What Are the Regulations Concerning APS in Montreal?

What Are the Regulations Concerning APS in Montreal?

What Are the Regulations Concerning APS in Montreal?

 

200 Accessible Pedestrian Signals can be found throughout Montreal. These devices help visually impaired people to cross the street safely by activating an audible message. 

The municipal council of Montreal has full responsibility for APS installation and maintenance in the City while taking into account national standards and guidelines.

As a road decision-maker of the city of Montreal you will find in this article all the information you need to know about APS regulation.

State Final Guidelines for Accessible Pedestrian Signals

In May 2008, the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has issued Final Guidelines for Accessible Pedestrian Signals that update the accessible pedestrian signal provisions within the TAC Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC).  

These guidelines do not constitute standards but provide a set of stand-alone national guidances to uniform installation, operation and maintenance instructions necessary to meet the Accessible Pedestrian Signal needs of people with vision loss in Canada.

Ideally, funding levels for APS should be set to accommodate local needs. Potential APS sites must be prioritized for installation as part of a program, or a list of requested sites.

The final guidelines include a number of factors that are indicators of a need for APS such as:

⊗ Intersection safety, including intersection configuration, width of crossing, and vehicle speeds;

⊗ Pedestrian usage, including the number of potential users, proximity to pedestrian generators and transit;

⊗ Traffic conditions; 

⊗ Difficulty in crossing the road without the use of APS.

Bill C-81: An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada

Bill C-81 Statutes of Canada Chapter 10 “An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada” was ratified on July 21th 2019.

“This Act is to be carried out in recognition of, and in accordance with, the following principles:

⊗ all persons must have barrier-free access to full and equal participation in society, regardless of their disabilities;

⊗ all persons must have meaningful options and be free to make their own choices, with support if they desire, regardless of their disabilities;

⊗ laws, policies, programs, services and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons;”

The implementation of this national act will probably soon lead to new regulations for APS installation and characteristics throughout the country.

 

Locals laws of Montreal

Montreal’s road network is composed of approximately 2300 intersections equipped with traffic lights, of which 200 is equipped with Accessible Pedestrian Signals. The Municipal Powers Act provides that the municipality has jurisdiction over public roads. Management of APS is not the responsibility of the Government of Quebec or Canada. 

The City of Montreal is therefore responsible for installing and maintaining all traffic lights.

According to the legislative framework in force, the traffic lanes fall into two categories: the arterial network and the local network. In 2016, 1711 intersections were part of the arterial network and 575 of the local network.

Since 2015, the municipal council has jurisdiction over traffic lights located on the city’s local and arterial network under section 85.5 of the Charter of Ville de Montreal.

As the instance responsible for the management and maintenance of public roads, the City must respect the standards established in the Highway Safety Code Chapter C-24.2. These are the standards for the manufacture and installation of traffic lights established by the Ministry of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification recorded in Volume V – Road Signs.

During the 2000s, the Department of Roads, Transport and Infrastructures has denounced poor maintenance of traffic lights causing regular breakdowns. In 2004, the City began an initial phase of upgrading traffic lights as part of the Transportation Plan for the Island of Montreal. Adopted in 2008, the Plan announced orientations in several areas prioritizing pedestrians by improving the safety of walking and adopting the Vision Zero project aimed at reducing road accidents by 40% by bringing APS to standard.

In 2013, the authorities reiterated their commitment to accentuate the installation of APS in the city. The upgrading program “Traffic lights and traffic management equipment” was registered in 2015 as a priority program by the Office of Projects and Capital Programs (BPPI).

APS characteristics

From a legal point of view, since 2008 the standards required by the Ministry and the Canadian Electricity Code are applicable to the City of Montreal. The City, the Department and the Canadian Electrical Code therefore impose common requirements regarding the characteristics of the APS units.

The main APS characteristics can be found in the Final Guidelines for Accessible Pedestrian Signals.

APS installation

The installation of APS, as well as pedestrian lights, bicycle lights and bus priority lights, are internal standards. The Division of Exploitation and Arterial Network (DERA) has produced a guide in addition to the Ministry standards called “Signaux Sonores DT-2002” to standardize in detail the installation of APS at intersections equipped with traffic lights.

Without going too far in the technical specifications, the APS standards provide, among other things:

1. The permanent emission of a beep in the immediate vicinity of each activation button, in order to facilitate the identification.

2. Production of a confirmation tone when the audible signal is commanded for the next cycle.

3. The installation, on both sides of the pedestrian crossing, in its center line, and at a suitable height, of speakers coming into operation only when the APS has been activated, and playing a characteristic melody throughout the time when the crossing of pedestrians is allowed, a rhythm on 4 notes in the engagement phase, and a rhythm on 3 notes in phase of release. This melody is played alternately on both sides of the pedestrian crossing, to allow the pedestrian to maintain a trajectory in a straight line.

4. When several APS are installed at the same crossroads, the “Melody of Canada” is installed for those of the East-West axis and the “Cuckoo” for those of the North-South axis. Research and experiments are currently underway to improve the parameters of the “Cuckoo”.

5. When an APS is in use on a given crosswalk, the movement of pedestrians can not be thwarted by any vehicular movement; the right turn on a red light is prohibited at all times, and turns on green light, if any, are permitted only outside the cycle where the audible signal is heard.

Local associations recommendations

On September 12, 2015, by the unanimous will of its General Assembly, the Regroupement des Aveugles et Amblyopes du Québec fully supported Quebec’s standards for APS, and expressed its desire to maintain its mandatory and universal nature.

The association strongly invited the Ministry of Transport of Quebec and the Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs to facilitate the installation of new APS by participating in their financing alongside the municipality.

They are also encouraging research, experimentations and technological watch to change the current standard, and invite the Ministry of Transport to provide technical and financial support.

Find out more about Montreal accessibility in our article!

media

The Municipal Powers Act provides that the municipality has jurisdiction over public roads. Management of APS is not the responsibility of the Government of Quebec or Canada. The City of Montreal is therefore responsible for installing and maintaining all traffic lights.

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

MOST POPULAR

Sorry, No Posts Found

follow us!

more articles

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.

Everything You Need to Know about Accessible Pedestrian Signals Regulation in New York City

Everything You Need to Know about Accessible Pedestrian Signals Regulation in New York City

Everything You Need to Know about Accessible Pedestrian Signals Regulation in New York City

 

Summary

Local requirements are to install 75 new Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) every year in New York City. Vision Zero and Pedestrian Safety Action Plans are setting the bar even higher by planning on installing 150 new APS units per year in 2019 and 2020, doubling APS local requirement.

In compliance with the American with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) federal standards, these new devices must equip all newly constructed intersections equipped with pedestrian signals or pedestrian facilities undergoing construction activity.

However, in practice certain criteria must be fulfilled for their implementation including requests from the blind and low-vision community, frequency of use etc.

The remaining APS installation locations provided by the law are based on engineering studies to prioritize their installation.

The Americans with Disability Act, 1990 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act from 1973 is one of the first American law offering protection for people with disabilities. This legislation required nondiscrimination in all programs, services, and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

In 1990, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) for state and local governments has extended the Rehabilitation Act to newly constructed or altered public facilities regardless of the funding source.

The ADA requires these facilities to be accessible to individuals:

Each facility or part of a facility constructed by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity shall be designed and constructed in such manner that the facility or part of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if the construction was commenced after January 26, 1992.”

All local laws must comply with ADA standards.

Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right of Way (PROWAG) 

The Guidelines proposed by The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board in 2011 play an important part in the implementation of the laws that require newly constructed and altered facilities to be accessible to individuals with the ADA.

The PROWAG ensure that “pedestrian signals, including requirements for accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons’ located in the public right-of-way are readily accessible and usable by pedestrians with disabilities.”

The guidelines are the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) standards.

The National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 

The National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) from 2009 part 4 on Highway Traffic Signals Section 4E.09 states that “The installation of accessible pedestrian signals (…) should be based on an engineering study, which should consider the following factors: 

  1. Potential demand for accessible pedestrian signals; 
  2. A request for accessible pedestrian signals; 
  3. Traffic volumes during times when pedestrians might be present; 
  4. The complexity of intersection geometry (from the pedestrian point of view);
  5. The complexity of traffic signal phasing.

When used, accessible pedestrian signals shall be used in combination with pedestrian signal timing. The information provided by an accessible pedestrian signal shall clearly indicate which pedestrian crossing is served by each device.

Accessible pedestrian signal detectors may be pushbuttons or passive detection devices.

Accessible pedestrian signals are typically integrated into the pedestrian detector (pushbutton), so the audible tones and/or messages come from the pushbutton housing. They have a pushbutton locator tone and tactile arrow, and can include audible beaconing and other special features.

The name of the street to be crossed may also be provided in accessible format, such as Braille or raised print. Tactile maps of crosswalks may also be provided.

At accessible pedestrian signal locations where pedestrian pushbuttons are used, each pushbutton shall activate both the walk interval and the accessible pedestrian signals.

Pushbuttons for accessible pedestrian signals should be located as follows:

⊗ Adjacent to a level all-weather surface to provide access from a wheelchair, and where there is an all-weather surface, wheelchair accessible route to the ramp; 

⊗ Within 1.5 m (5 ft) of the crosswalk extended;

⊗ Within 3 m (10 ft) of the ,edge of the curb, shoulder, or pavement; 

⊗ Parallel to the crosswalk to be used.”

Highway Design Manual from New York State Department of Transportation

Local Highway Design Manual (HDM) from April 26, 2017 chapter 18 section 18.6.1:Pedestrian Facility Design under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that:

“Federal regulations direct that pedestrian safety considerations, including installation of APS at street crossings be included, where appropriate.”

However, a National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 3-62  research recognizes that the types of APS used in the United States are not entirely adequate. 

Decisions to use pedestrian APS to assist blind and vision-impaired pedestrians should thus result from “effective communications” with individuals, groups, or organizations and should be based on the following: 

⊗ Request(s) from blind, vision-impaired individuals or organizations that represent them,

⊗ The frequency or likelihood of use by blind or vision-impaired pedestrians,

⊗ The proximities to transit stops, government offices, medical facilities, places of employment, shopping, places that provide services to blind and/or other vision impaired persons,

⊗ Motor vehicle traffic conditions (e.g., volumes, speeds, vehicle mix, peaks, lulls, etc.), proximity to other accessible crossings,

⊗ Special, unique, or unusual conditions such as motorists’ inability to clearly see pedestrians who are waiting to cross at intersections (e.g., obstructions, curved approaches, parking lanes).

The manual also highlights the benefits to involve an Orientation and Mobility Specialist (O&M) who teaches blind and other vision-impaired pedestrians how to navigate safely and independently in the streets. These people are usually familiar with traffic control devices such as APS and can teach them how to use them.

Local laws of New York

As codified in NYC Administrative Code Section 19-188, Local Law 21 of 2012 stated that 25 intersections each year had to be equipped with new APS units. Effective in January 2016, the new Local Law 60 of 2014 now requires 75 intersections to be equipped each year. Starting in 2019, NYCDOT plans to install APS at 150 locations per year for the next 2 years, doubling APS installations annually.

New York City Administrative Code 19-188 codifies the installation of APS in the city. An Accessible Pedestrian Signals Program has been drawn up to establish the procedure to follow:

  1. the department shall identify intersections where accessible pedestrian signals may be installed based on guidelines;
  2. the department, after consultation with the mayor’s office for people with disabilities and with advocates for and members of the visually impaired community, shall identify intersections which reflect the greatest crossing difficulty for persons with visual impairments;
  3. the department shall annually install, based on such guidelines, an accessible pedestrian signal at 75 intersections identified by the department following such consultation;
  4. the department shall post on its website a report analyzing the status of the accessible pedestrian signals program; 
  5. the department shall post on its website the locations of all accessible pedestrian signals.

New York City Pedestrian Safety and Vision Zero Action Plan

In order to improve pedestrian safety in New York City, the Department of Transportation has developed a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) released in June 2016. The plan advises without requiring to replace non-compliant pedestrian signals with APS at intersections.

NYCDOT has issued a Traffic and Mobility Instruction 15-01 (TSMI) in June 2015 on the “Applicability of Americans with Disability Act Guidelines on Traffic Signals”. This instruction provides general direction and specific policy regarding ADA requirements at signalized intersections. Another more recent TSMI 17-02 revised in September 2017 describes the “Applicability of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Guidelines to Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) countermeasures”. The instruction states that the installation of APS is only applicable to ADA standards when the sidewalk is disturbed.

Additionality, Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to increase pedestrian safety includes the installation of APS devices and is seeking for new technology solutions to help blind and low-vision people cross the street safely. The city has launched a Call for Innovation last year. The winner, a french-based company Okeenea will soon test its solution on the intersection of the West 23rd Stret and 7th Avenue, in Manhattan.

Are New York City crosswalks safe for blind people to cross? Find the answser in our article!

media

The ADA requires Accessible Pedestrian Signals to be accessible to all individuals

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

MOST POPULAR

Sorry, No Posts Found

follow us!

more articles

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.

Are Accessible Pedestrian Signals Required in Your Country?

Are Accessible Pedestrian Signals Required in Your Country?

Are Accessible Pedestrian Signals Required in Your Country?

 

Pedestrian safety is a major milestone in building an inclusive and accessible city. To meet this ambition a simple solution has been developed to help visually impaired and blind people cross the road safely: the Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS). This integrated device located in the pedestrian light communicates tactile or/and audible information about the WALK and DON’T WALK interval.

If its regulation is not always easy to be familiar with, we have deciphered for you the great founding principles that legislate Accessible Pedestrian Signals around the world.

International Law Requires Equal Access for People with Disabilities

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Security, safety and freedom of movement are fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) allowing visually impaired and blind people to cross the road safely meets the principle of equal access for all. This is one of the pillars of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) adopted by the United Nations in 2007. With 177 States parties all around the world, the Convention stresses that persons with disabilities should be able to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. States parties should then take the appropriate measures to achieve this objective.

In its article 9 about Accessibility, the Convention provides that: “These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:

  1. a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;
  2. b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.”

The signatories shall “develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public.

Europe: Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

The European Union is a party of UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and promotes therefore the active inclusion and full participation of disabled people in society. Accessibility is one of the eight priority areas of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 with one clear objective: make goods and services accessible to people with disabilities and promote the market of assistive devices. The European Accessibility Act was adopted in March 2019 and Member States have six years to transpose it into national law.

One of the measures to be implemented under this decision is that all goods and services provide information in more than one sensory channel: vision, auditory, speech and tactile elements. Accessible Pedestrian Signals meet these requirements and improve pedestrian safety for visually impaired and blind people.

America: Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination

The Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 1999 within the Organization of American States. 19 States have ratified the convention yet including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

One of the objectives of this convention is to promote full integration of disabled people into society. This includes:

  • “Measures to ensure that new buildings, vehicles, and facilities constructed or manufactured within their respective territories facilitate transportation, communications, and access by persons with disabilities;
  • Measures to eliminate, to the extent possible, architectural, transportation, and communication obstacles to facilitate access and use by persons with Disabilities.”

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)  also establishes a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. The title III “Public Accommodations” sets the minimum standards for accessibility for alterations and new construction of facilities.

National Regulations Standardize Accessible Pedestrian Signals

After a global overview of the various founding regulatory texts that govern and regulate the implementation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals in the world, let’s see how it works nationally. The following section will not go into detail as local laws will be developed in dedicated articles, but will fly over basic legal principles.

United States

The Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way from July 26, 2011 states that all pedestrian crosswalks must be accessible to pedestrians with disabilities. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requires improving accessibility at all newly constructed or reconstructed intersections where pedestrian lights are installed.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) from 2009 also delivers some information regarding the walk indications provided by these pedestrian traffic signals:

“Accessible pedestrian signals shall have both audible and vibrotactile walk indications.”

“Accessible pedestrian signals shall have an audible walk indication during the walk interval only.”

“The accessible walk indication shall have the same duration as the pedestrian walk signal except when the pedestrian signal rests in walk.”

“Speech walk messages shall provide a clear message that the walk interval is in effect, as well as to which crossing it applies.”

For more information about APS regulation in New York City, check our dedicated article.

Canada

The New TAC Accessible Pedestrian Signals Guidelines of 2007 adopted by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) indicates that the Accessible Pedestrian Signals must provide an audible, visual and vibrotactile acknowledgement of the actuation to support the needs of people with hearing and vision loss.

Two types of pushbutton actuation have been identified as relevant by different stakeholders:

  1. The normal actuation which has a strong preference from the industry and from the community because it is simple of use. It is triggered with the simple press-and-release pushbutton actuating the audible and vibrotactile signal.
  2. The beacon actuation that occurs when the pedestrian pushbutton is pressed and held for a predefined time period. This method is used by many jurisdictions.

The Guidelines also provide several information regarding the walk interval, the audible information, the push button location, the volume adjustment as well as deployment and maintenance instructions.

For more information about APS regulation in Montreal, check our dedicated article.

Mexico

The Law for the Attention and Integral Development of People with Disabilities was approved in December 2009. In the Article 28, Paragraph 3 can be found established measures for the installation of visual and auditory signs on main pedestrian crosswalks in order to guarantee the safety of people with disability.

A public investigation on pedestrian crossings from 2018 for the city of Mexico states that only 5% of pedestrian crossing signals are equipped with an audible and/or tactile signal for now. The result of this survey therefore calls for the establishment of Accessible Pedestrian Signals to enhance universal accessibility and abide by the law of 2009.

The Mexican secretary of communications and transportation has also issued a series of texts regulating pedestrian crossing lights.

Brazil

The article 9 of the law 10098 of 19 December 2000 issued by The National Traffic Department Denatran states that pedestrian crossing signs installed on public roads should be equipped with a mechanism that send mild, intermittent sound signal and without stridency, or with alternative engine, which serves as a guide or orientation for people with visual impairment.

It is the responsibility of the Brazilian’s executive transit agencies to carry out the necessary studies to set up audible traffic lights, at least in the places provided for by law. The regulation will come into force from the 1st of January 2020.

France

The French law stipulates that an audible signal must be emitted when the pedestrian crossing light is green and that an audio message beginning with “red pedestrian” must be issued when the pedestrian light is red. The Article 7 of the Decree of 23 September 2015 completes this regulation and requires the addition of the geographical location, ie the name of the street. The implementation of this device concerns all newly and renovated intersections.

The Accessible Pedestrian Signals operate by manual activation through a push button located on the mast, or through a dedicated remote control defined in the NF S32-002 standard.

This legislation aims at preserving the mobility chain described in the 2005 Disability Act for the road’s accessibility.

Italy

The Article 6 of the Italian Presidential Decree No. 503/1996 states that newly installed or substituted traffic lights must be accessible to blind people and to all the people who need time to cross the street.

These installations can be in continuous operation or on call. The information codes on these devices are divided into three phases which correspond to the green, yellow and red indicator.

The law requires two parts: the push button to actuate the audio signal and the speaker that must be mounted on the mast above the pedestrian figure. Both devices can not work without each other.

Ireland

The Irish Equal Status Acts from 2000 states that services which are available to the general public should also be available to people with disabilities. This includes road crossings. Acoustic signals therefore come as a solution that meets the legal requirements of the country.

The Disability Act from 2005 makes all Local Government Authorities responsible for making their public buildings, streets, footpaths, parks etc. as accessible as possible for everyone, including people with disabilities.

United Kingdom

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) from 2016 is the regulatory text that standardizes APS in the country.

The Department of Transport has also issued a Local Transport Note stating that: “(…) audible signals or bleepers in the form of a pulsed tone and/or tactile signals are normally used during the green figure period. The signals are intended for the benefit of blind or partially sighted pedestrians although they can also be helpful to others.”

More recently, the Traffic Open Products and Specifications (TOPAS) has published a document stating that “there are two types of audible products. The ‘single bleep’ version is for installations at single carriageway crossing sites and the ‘bleep and sweep” version is specifically for use at ‘staggered’ crossing facilities. The product emits an audible signal when a steady green pedestrian signal is being displayed and the signal controller’s audible/tactile drive output is present.”

New Zealand and Australia

The 2015 New Zealand Guidelines for facilities for blind and vision impaired pedestrians provides details about Audible Tactile Traffic Signals (ATTS) requirements as well as their set up. All new or upgraded signalised intersections including pedestrian signals must be equipped with Audible Tactile Traffic Signals (ATTS).

The upgrade of pedestrian signals to fully compliant Audible Tactile Traffic Signals (ATTS) systems should be prioritised after considering the following factors:

  • Road Crossing Distance
  • Pedestrian Accident History
  • High Pedestrian Flows
  • Consultation with Disability Group
  • Intersection Configuration
  • Vehicle Speeds
  • The Proximity of Public Facilities

International Conventions regulate the major founding principles related to disability and particularly to road’s accessibility. Implementing Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) in your city means meeting with the international principle of equal access for all. At national level, various texts make laws in terms of Accessible Pedestrian Signals use and implementation.

You want to know more about regulations from your city, your area or your country? You want to provide standards-based pedestrian crossing devices to avoid any penalty? Stay tuned. You will soon find all the information you need in our next articles.

⇒ Everything you must know about APS regulation in New York City and in Montreal.

media

The installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) allowing visually impaired and blind people to cross the road safely meets the principle of equal access for all. This is one of the pillars of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) adopted by the United Nations in 2007.

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

MOST POPULAR

Sorry, No Posts Found

follow us!

more articles

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.