12 tips to welcome a deaf or hard of hearing person

12 tips to welcome a deaf or hard of hearing person

12 Tips to Welcome a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person

 

You don’t know sign language and you sometimes welcome deaf or hard of hearing people? Don’t panic!

For fear of doing wrong, we often just keep quiet. However, there are tips to facilitate verbal communication with deaf people. So, in an attempt to reestablish this dialogue this article will provide you with tips to make everyone comfortable. 

The objective is to help hearing people working in the public and private sector by making them aware of simple ways to facilitate communication with deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

What are the right things to do? How to adapt your environment and your body language? Here are 12 tips to help facilitate verbal exchanges daily.

  1. Ensure good lighting and absence of backlighting especially behind the reception desk                                                          good lightening to welcome a deaf person
  2. If possible make dubbing of audio messages available by a visual display with text but also images and pictograms   audio dubbing deaf people
  3. Use amplification systems or a induction loop system to improve hearing quality for people wearing hearing aids  hearing induction loop system deaf people
  4. Provide paper or a smartphone to write or draw if necessary      writing to welcome deaf people    
  5. Provide suitable visual aids: signage, written documents, diagrams, visual guides in American Sign Language etc.     accessible signage
  6. Speak directly to the person even if he or she is accompanied     speak with a death person
  7. No need to scream or raise your voice. It distorts the articulation no need to scream with a deaf person
  8. Stand in front of the deaf or hard-of-hearing person. Stand in the light but not against the light so that he or she can see your lips when speaking how to talk to a deaf person
  9. Express yourself clearly and distinctly by marking downtime (without exaggerating) to see if the person understands      welcome a deaf person
  10. Use a common vocabulary avoiding word play and expressions use easy vocabulary with deaf people
  11. Reformulate if necessary by using synonyms reformulate deaf people
  12. Check the message’s understanding: beware of misunderstandings! avoid misunderstanding with deaf people

Hearing-impaired people have very different profiles. The choice of communication varies from one person to another and their environment. These simple and easy-to-implement tips will allow you to interact with every visitor or client, taking into account hearing impairment in all its diversity.

To understand more about this invisible impairment, the article 8 Clichés About Deaf People will help you toss aside prejudices to welcome deaf people in the best possible way.

Feel free to share these tips around you to make all your staff aware of good communicative attitudes.

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No need to scream or raise your voice. It distorts the articulation

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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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 Policy for Accessible Pedestrian Crossings

London’s Policy for Accessible Pedestrian Crossings

London’s Policy for Accessible Pedestrian Crossings

 

The first traffic light appeared in London 150 years ago. Now Transport for London (TfL) has implemented more than 6,000 of these devices across the capital with audible signals for blind pedestrians. Despite the extensive network of public transportation, many Londoners still choose to drive a private vehicle to get around the city. To this traffic can be added cabs, trucks, cyclists, buses, coaches and all kinds of new urban means of transport like electric scooters. 

Considering that in 2017, 20,4% of road deaths in London were pedestrians and that 76% of collision happen at junctions, how do the 250,000 blind people living in the capital cope with road crossing?

The city of London has put in place a rather favorable policy for blind pedestrians but there is still room for significant improvement to guarantee safety for all.

Let’s take a look at the daily struggles of blind londoners and the commitments made by local authorities to reinforce pedestrian safety.

Crossings and the problems

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has carried out a survey in 2014 of over 500 blind and partially sighted people all over Great Britain including the City of London. This report sets out evidence which demonstrates how unsafe local neighbourhoods and the street environment can be for those with sight loss.

Here are the results of the survey concerning road crossing:

⊗ 55% of blind and partially sighted people said their local roads were unsafe: lack or dysfunction of tactile cones or audible signals, street obstacles like car parked in front of a crossing, lack of refugee islands etc.

⊗ 40% of people without sight loss also said their local roads were unsafe. 

⊗ 74% of blind and partially sighted people said that there was a need for more pedestrian crossings in their area. 

⊗ 67% face the inconvenience of having to take longer journeys in order to cross roads at safe pedestrian crossings.

⊗ Around half of local authorities couldn’t even provide information about the accessibility of the crossings they manage.

For existing pedestrian crossings, the main challenges that blind and low-vision people face are the lack of accessible facilities or their dysfunction. 

Other difficulties come from new developments in areas such as floating bus stops which can make it much harder for blind people to get about. Many can’t avoid using these areas, but 40% are either using the area less or avoiding it altogether.

Also removing crossings, kerbs and tactile paving can have a devastating impact. These are essential landmarks in the city to find one’s bearings. Without them, blind and partially sighted people are left on their own in an increasingly crowded and changing city.

Transport for London has issued a 2017 factsheet synthesizing all casualties in Greater London. The document shows that 6,652 pedestrians were involved in an accident, highlighting the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries, in particular those involving heavy and light goods vehicles.

For fear of dangerous hazards, some blind and partially sighted people rather avoid taking certain routes or even stay at home and suffer isolation as a result.

 “In my area we have floating bus stops. This is where they have introduced cycle lanes that continue straight forward even when a bus is at the stop. So the bus pulls in away from the kerb, and you walk across the cycle lane. I don’t know where they got the idea, but they are becoming very popular in London. I find it a nightmare when I’m on my own. I worry I could easily be hit by a cyclist.”

Mohammed’s experience (London – RNIB

This survey highlights four main problems that need to be taken into account by local authorities:

1. Lack of tactile and/or audible signals or lack of maintenance of such devices

2. Lack of zebra crossings and pelican crossings

3. Restrictive new street developments

4. Lack of staff training to provide information about accessible crossings

Crossing solutions and London’s commitments

London Vision Zero

The City of London has undertaken major changes to enhance road safety with the ultimate goal to eliminate all road hazards from London’s transport network by 2030.

 The Vision Zero action plan, launched in July 2018, is a direct answer to meet to reduce danger caused by vehicle journeys.

The plan focuses on four main areas:

⊗ Safe speeds limiting central London to 20mph limit and reducing speed limits at other locations to address areas of high road danger

⊗ Safe streets: more pleasant and safer junctions including wider footways, less street clutter, more accessible crossings, more visibility at junctions etc.

⊗ Safe vehicles: Bus Safety Standard for the city’s entire bus fleet and freight vehicles.

⊗ Safe behaviours: roads policy and enforcement raising standards for all drivers 

London pedestrian crossing urban facilities

The needs of disabled pedestrians like blind and low-vision people should be considered when designing the layout of crossings. If these are well provided then a better crossing will probably result for all users.

Tactile paving 

To ensure the safety of blind and partially sighted people at these sites it is important to provide tactile paving to the recommended layouts in Disability Unit Circular DUl/91.

Ground change is useful for a person using a long roller cane. For example the blister paving (uniform straight rows) used at a pedestrian crossing tells the user when to stop as the kerb is dropping.

In London there is a small amount of tactile paving used as a marker to flag up where the crossing is. It is called a ramped section Then near the road, there is a full lenght of the crossing equipped with blister paving to work out where the crossing is located. 

The ramped section is fitted with red blister surface at controlled crossings only and with yellow blister at uncontrolled crossings. Both use bright contrasting colors to better understand the nature of the crossing to come and are designed for partially sighted people. It may also be of benefit to sighted pedestrians and may emphasise the presence of a crossing to drivers. Recommendations for the design and use of tactile pavement are also detailed in Circular No. DU 1/91

Offset blister paving and lozenge shaped paving can also respectively be found at train and tram stations both indicating the platform edge. Corduroy paving are long strips of raised paving in rows with rounded edges warning of some hazard ahead like stairs. If there is a path that is half foot traffic and half for bicycles, directional stripes tell you which side is which.

Audible and tactile crossing signals

According to TfL, all of London’s pedestrian crossings are accessible, with tactile paving, audible signals and/or rotating cones on the pushbutton units.

At signal-controlled intersections audible signals or bleepers in the form of a pulsed tone and/or tactile signals are normally used during the green figure or “invitation to cross” period.

At staggered crossing, there is a risk that the signal at one crossing may be heard and mistaken for another and so the standard audible signal must not be used. The alternative is the ‘bleep and sweep’ tone. It has been specially designed to be distinctive. The audio level has been lowered down taking into account the ambient level in order to be heard only near the crossing in use.

If audible signals cannot be used for technical or physical reason (low vision and hearing difficulties) or if the crossing is not equipped, then tactile signals should always be provided. Often unknown by the general public, public cones can be of great use in a lot of different situations. They are activated by an electric motor that drives the cone in a rotating motion felt with the touch of the hand. It is usually implanted under the push button box to be protected from bad weather and dirt. These small cones rotate when the steady green figure is shown.

All the above devices, whether audible or tactile, must conform to TR 0141(5) including the requirements for lamp monitoring. Traffic Advisory Leaflet 4/91(11) gives further information.

Regarding audible and tactile crossing signal maintenance, the Mayor of London has declared in 2009 that all devices are checked, as a minimum, annually to ensure they are in good working order. Any defects identified during the inspection is rectified. All signals are equipped with a self-reporting functionality, however it cannot be applied to tactile cones and/or audible pedestrian crossing signals.

Transport for London relies on pedestrians to report any working defects affecting the good use for the devices.

 

More than half of blind and partially sighted English people find their crosswalks unsafe. And yet, the mayor of London says that all pedestrian crossings are accessible. Is it due to a maintenance problem? Behavior on the part of motorists? Or simply the technology used to make crossings accessible?

One certain thing is that the actual system is noisy and there is a real problem in residential areas where it is often shut down at night. Also the tactile cone is tricky to find and people who most need it often cannot find its location.

The Vision Zero program partly aims to answer this problem, but there is still some way to go to allow the 250,000 blind Londoners and thousands of tourists who come every day to enjoy the effervescence of the capital.

Here is all you need to know about accessible pedestrian signals regulation in London:

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

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“In my area we have floating bus stops (…) So the bus pulls in away from the kerb, and you walk across the cycle lane. I don’t know where they got the idea, but they are becoming very popular in London. I find it a nightmare when I’m on my own. I worry I could easily be hit by a cyclist.”

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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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.

Urban mobility of the most vulnerable: 5 minutes to understand

Urban mobility of the most vulnerable: 5 minutes to understand

Urban Mobility of the Most Vulnerable: 5 Minutes to Understand

 

Ensuring urban mobility for all is a major challenge. Many people who are vulnerable because of their physical condition, mental health, age or strong cultural barriers can not move independently. The sidewalks that we walk every day without difficulty can be a source of anxiety and factor of social withdrawal for the most fragile people.

In the light of different surveys, we will try to understand the behavior and needs of fragile people in their travels. What are the difficulties encountered? What are the measures to be taken to improve their experience in the urban space? This article takes stock of the situation.

Make the city “legible”

According to Kevin Lynch’s book Image of the City (1960), the city is made “legible” thanks to five structuring elements: streets, neighborhoods, landmarks, boundaries and nodes (junction and concentration points). Pedestrians rely on these physical forms to find their bearings. They are meant to offer the user the opportunity to create a mental image of the places he or she walks.

When readability is lacking, apprehension takes the lead. This anxiety can become a real source of stress that paralyzes the most vulnerable people so that they give up moving and lose autonomy.

The perception of urban space varies from one user to another according to his physical and mental abilities, his personal experience and his culture. These personal filters encourage the consideration of the capacities of the most diverse users.

Priority goes therefore to the “legibility” of the city to improve the feeling of safety of all users.

Urban mobility: who are the most fragile people?

Disabled people

“About 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning.” WHO

Disability typologies are grouped under six main categories:

⊗ mobility impairment

⊗ sensory disability

⊗ psychic handicap

⊗ mental disability

⊗ cognitive impairment

⊗ debilitating diseases

Among them, there are people with several disabilities of the same degree as deafblindness and people with a severe disability with multiple expressions resulting in extreme restriction of autonomy.

Old people

“Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years old will nearly double from 12% to 22%.”(WHO)

The elderly are often affected by gait disorders, cognitive disorders and sensory disorders.

Foreigners

Cities around the world are not alike and that’s good! Culture is indeed at the heart of urban development. Some tourists and especially some immigrants can lose their bearings because of a different conception of the city as they know it and the lack of knowledge of the language. In American for exemple, over 76 million tourists from all over the world are visiting the country every year. In England, over 40 million visits have been recorded in 2017.

Other factors

Everyone can feel vulnerable, the time of a trip. Distraction, temporary tiredness or punctual stress are all factors that affect physical or intellectual abilities.

Movement strategies of the most vulnerable people

 

The Center for Studies and Expertise on Risks, the Environment, Mobility and Development (CEREMA) has initiated about twenty commented journeys in urban environments with so-called “fragile” people. The objective of this study is to highlight the difficulties of certain urban amenities and the travel choices of the most vulnerable people to solve these difficulties.

The perception of public space by people with disabilities

People with visual impairments face many technological and social challenges on a daily basis. But that’s without counting the environmental difficulties, especially in their movements in the city. The design of the public space is rather intended and thought for people who have all the senses. The experience of space without the eyes rests mainly on the decipherment of the sound and tactile cues, as for example:

 

 

⊗ attention to sidewalk changes that signal a zone change

⊗ listening to the noise of cars to appreciate the proximity of the street

⊗ the attention paid to the arrangement of the trees to know the position of the buildings, etc.

To move safely, visually impaired people make travel choices that vary from person to person such as:

⊗ be accompanied by a person

⊗ favor the streets at right angles and with few shops or terraces to avoid obstacles and crowds

⊗ walk along the walls to cross wide open spaces,

⊗ follow the GPS directions by choosing the shortest route or the one with the least turns

Deaf people, who have invisible disabilities, also find it difficult to decipher their environment. A study conducted by the Gare de Lyon in Paris shows that among users with all types of disabilities, it is the people with hearing problems who have the most difficulty to achieve a journey. This result can be explained by “the natural invisibility of hearing loss that does not generate spontaneous assistance from the public or staff (…) but also by the reluctance of the people involved to announce their disability”, says the study.

To decipher their environment, deaf people favor visual ambiances, kinesthetic or olfactory cues and breaks in the atmosphere or certain urban furniture. They rely mainly on written inscriptions, characteristic smells and break points.

In terms of choice of travel, the CEREMA study shows that deaf people generally avoid approaching areas considered dangerous as water bodies.

As for people with reduced mobility, they prefer a route adapted to their physical condition. Wheelchair users need alternatives to stairs, steps and slopes equal or greater than 1:12. In either case, they take care to prepare their trip upstream.

For people with mental, cognitive and psychic disabilities the understanding of the urban space is often altered by the worry and stress of the unknown. The disability can be aggravated when the logic of the organization of space is not made explicit. In this case, the person tends to give up moving. Travel choices focus on familiar routes, close to home and leave no room for the unexpected.

Public space for the elderly

Older people may also have sensory, physical or motor disabilities, or many at the same time. They are subject to stress, fatigue, memory loss. It can be difficult for them to read road signs or a map because of vision problems.

According to a March 2016 Observatory Mobility (OMNIL) survey, the main reason for moving for people over the age of 60 is the home-purchase journey.

Older people concentrate their trips to do their shopping near their homes. They will take their time, sit on public benches to rest, go outside of the period of influence…

The case of foreigners

For some foreigners, the city they discover may not have the architectural codes they know. In addition, the lack of knowledge of the language is an impediment to decipher road signs and ask for directions.

Preferred travel strategies are the use of a GPS or a map (which can be a distraction 

and can cause accidents) and the assistance of passers-by.

Suggested improvements to enhance urban mobility of fragile people

Facilitating access to the city by all means designing more ergonomic urban spaces. Urban planners and public decision-makers must take into account the mobility difficulties of the entire population and set benchmarks to facilitate their orientation and their choice of trips.

Here are some ways to improve urban mobility for all:

⊗ Provide GPS-type tools for people with disabilities to calculate a route based on a specific disability

⊗ Design clear and visible signage by all to avoid endangerment by looking for clues

⊗ Install audio beacons in key city locations and transportation networks to guide visually impaired

⊗ Securing pedestrian crossings for the visually impaired by installing

⊗ Accessible Pedestrian Signals Avoid the creation of obstacles on the main axes of movement which are the reference routes for the most fragile users

⊗ Consult the users to seek feedbacks and the experts in order to propose adequate solutions

⊗ Make available and maintain accessibility equipment and street furniture, especially benches to rest and promote social bonds

⊗ Delimit space changes with clear visual or tactile cues

⊗ Limit spaces to a proper function to promote readability

⊗ Focus on the quality of public spaces ambiances to make them reassuring and welcoming

We are all vulnerable pedestrians. Tourist, expatriate, permanently or temporary disabled, subject to the tiredness of age or a busy day. This fragility, whatever its nature, induces a loss of autonomy and serenity in our travels.

A more legible city is a city that welcomes more visitors, boosts its economy and takes into account the travel choices of the entire population. Designing the city for the benefit of the most vulnerable means ensuring comfort and security for all. So consult the users and ask them about the areas to focus on to improve your city.

Start now to enhance urban mobility!

Check out our articles on the city of tomorrow:

MaaS: a Solution for Tomorrow’s Mobility

Disability as an Innovation Driver for the Smart City

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Some tourists and especially some immigrants can lose their bearings because of a different conception of the city as they know it and the lack of knowledge of the language.

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

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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.

Disability as an Innovation Driver for the Smart City

Disability as an Innovation Driver for the Smart City

Disability as an Innovation Driver for the Smart City

 

Smart City. A concept that’s making more and more noise. Coming straight from the United States, the smart city is starting to make its way into cities from all around the world.

But what is a smart city exactly? It is a city that puts Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the service of its citizens to provide them with services adapted to their needs in real time. It is found at different levels of society such as education, transportation, environment, health or safety. The overall objective of the smart city is therefore to improve the quality of life of citizens through new technologies.

Quite a nice program! But what are the actual innovations behind this approach? And how can they improve the lives of the most vulnerable citizens? In an aging world where by 2030 the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to reach 1.4 billion, and that already has more than 1 billion people living with disabilities, one wonders how the smart city can respond to their needs.

Let’s explore initiatives from around the world that showcase new accessibility technologies for a smart city that goes beyond disability. Here are some projects that caught our attention.

#1 Transport and Mobility

Intelligent urban mobility aims to make traveling in the city for all citizens easier: on foot, by public transport and by personal vehicle. Intelligent transport provides everyone with real-time, up-to-date data that has a positive impact on the environment and the quality of life of citizens.

We have selected for you some inspiring projects:

⊗ NAVIGUEO+ HIFI: customizable sound beacons installed in many transport networks in France at points of interest such as above a counter or at the entrance of a metro station indicating its location and transmitting practical information. This sound guidance system can be activated remotely using a smartphone, thus offering autonomy to blind and visually impaired people.

⊗ MaaS: a platform that combines all means of transportation available to users. Not only does MaaS (Mobility as a Service) give them the best option according to their capacities and their needs but it also enables them to pay for their trip directly via its platform.

⊗ StreetCo: an application that promotes the mobility of people with reduced mobility thanks to a collaborative pedestrian GPS alerting users in real time of obstacles and informing them about the accessibility of nearby places.

⊗ MappedED!: a platform for inclusive academic mobility in Europe that provides an interactive map about various factors of university with a focus on students with disabilities.

⊗ Uber: the well-known mobility platform helps people with disability with an on-demand transportation service allowing more flexibility and spontaneity when moving for people with disability.

⊗ Autonomous vehicles: if currently the regulation prohibits people who do not have a driving license to drive a self-driving vehicle, this could soon change. Google showed a few years ago the potential of this voice-controlled technology for blind people. To be continued…

⊗ Accessible Pedestrian Signals: they enable blind or visually impaired pedestrians to safely cross the street. Thanks to open data, cities can easily inform their citizens which intersections are equipped with APS. Then, they can adjust their route according to its accessibility. More information in our article How Cities in North America Communicate Efficiently about Accessible Pedestrian Signals: Good Examples to Follow

#2 Inclusion

The concept of inclusion is linked to human rights movements concerning people with disabilities, highlighting the place of “full right” of all people in society, regardless of their characteristics.

Creating a smart city means looking beyond disability to enhance accessibility for all. Because what would be the point of living in a smart city if it’s not accessible to all its citizens?

Luckily, there are some new technologies that enable to have a barrier-free and inclusive society. In the end, the smart city will erase disability to focus on different capabilities and the innovations that put us, all of us, as equals.

Let’s see some of the initiatives that promote the inclusion of people with special needs in society:

⊗ Avencod: “Nature creates differences, Avencod makes talents”. This is the slogan of the French-based company that employs people with Asperger syndrome to fulfill missions in digital areas such as web development.

⊗ The Open Voice Factory: a free software that helps give voice to people with communication difficulties.

⊗ The Disability Innovation Institute in Australia is doing research on smartphone use as a tool for integrating people with intellectual disabilities. The results show that the use of the smartphone increases social inclusion, the feeling of belonging to a group and social recognition.

 

#3 Health

New technologies including mobile technologies create smart health solutions for citizens. Some project leaders have focused their efforts on solutions dedicated to people with disabilities to enable them to gain autonomy in their daily lives.

⊗ The Evolvable Walking Aid: a modular range of parts that can be assembled to form a cane, crutches or a walking frame to avoid buying new equipment for walking when the mobility of the user is evolving.

⊗ WatchHelp: a mobile application connected to a watch that promotes the autonomy of people with mental and/or cognitive disorders. The application sends notifications in the form of simple visuals indicating the daily actions to be performed.

⊗ Wandercraft: exoskeletons allowing people with reduced mobility to walk independently and naturally.

 

#4 Safety

Safety is a major issue in reflections to improve the quality of life in the city. The safety of people with disabilities, which is put to the test daily, has inspired a French-based company:

⊗ aBeacon Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS): Okeenea won a call for innovation of New York City’s Department of Transportation to implement a new generation of connected Accessible Pedestrian Signals that allow visually impaired pedestrians to cross the street safely. This new device is triggered remotely and delivers fully customizable information.

#5 Infrastructure

Building smart infrastructures in the cities of tomorrow helps including different population groups, including the elderly and people with disabilities. Smart Buildings are designed to meet the specific needs of the most vulnerable people from the design stage through data collection and sharing.

⊗ Connected retired homes: retired people are starting to embrace the internet of things with next-generation connected retirement homes. These smart life-care homes include immersive screens, connected boxes, automation, videoconferencing and mobile applications to help residents regain some independence.

#6 Information

⊗ Communicating urban furniture: Kansas City was among the finalists for the 2016 Smart City Challenge offering its residents at city key locations interactive kiosks used to collect and share data. The screens are backlit and at a height accessible to people in wheelchairs. The terminals are also equipped with audio jacks to allow people with visual impairments to connect headphones.

⊗ Humble Lamppost intelligent public lighting: a project competing with the innovation partnership for smart cities and communities. The project leaders have thought of a connected floor lamp that broadcasts sound information tailored to the citizens. The autonomous device also saves energy and increases the safety of pedestrians nearby.

The smart city is a vector of innovations in areas related to disability and accessibility. New technology and IoT offer new opportunities to empower a growing group of people with specific disabilities.

Ever wondered how Vision Zero project impacts road safety? Read our article!

Designers of the Smart City, decision-makers, a smart city is an inclusive and accessible city. Think about the needs of the most fragile users right from the conception by consulting them. That’s how your solutions will be universally accessible!

Are you already looking towards the future? Then, these articles are made for you:

Artificial Intelligence and Accessibility: Examples of a Technology that Serves People with Disabilities

Creating an Accessible and Barrier-Free Society Through Inclusive Design: a Constant Renewal

Updated on September 13th, 2021

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Designers of the Smart City, decision-makers, a smart city is an inclusive and accessible city.

Think about the needs of the most fragile users right from the conception by consulting them. That’s how your solutions will be universally accessible!

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

share our article!

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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!

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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.

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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