walkinginfo.org Logo Go to contents of page
APS home go to front of Accessible Pedestrian Signals
Go to Front page Background section Travel by Blind
Rules & Regulations
Technologies and Features section Types
Walk Indications
Other Features
Choosing and Installing section Where to Install
Designing Installations
New Construction or Reconstruction
Retrofitting an Intersection with an APS
Installation Specifications
Field Adjustments
State of Practices section Case Studies
International Practice
Devices section Manufacturers
Selection Tool
Product Matrix
Downloads section Full Guide
Rating Scales
Field Adjustments

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices - MUTCD Where required
MUTCD offers guidance regarding factors to consider in an engineering study in deciding whether an APS is needed. Factors include:
  • "Potential demand for APS
  • A request for APS
  • Traffic volumes during times when pedestrians might be present; including periods of low traffic volumes or high turn-on-red volumes
  • Complexity of traffic signal phasing.
  • Complexity of intersection geometry."
Avoidance of ambiguity
Several statements address ambiguity:
  • "Information provided by an APS shall clearly indicate which pedestrian crossing is served by each device."
  • "When used, verbal message shall provide a clear message of the Walk interval and to which crossing it applies."
  • "Provision of different sounds for crosswalks in different directions has been found to give ambiguous information to blind pedestrians."
  • "Pushbuttons should clearly indicate which crosswalk signal is actuated by each pushbutton."
  • "In choosing audible tones, possible extraneous sources of sound should be considered."
WALK indication
  • If APS have tones, they shall have a tone for the walk interval.
  • WALK tones shall have a faster repetition rate than an associated pushbutton locator tone.
  • Shall operate day and night.
  • If used, the speech message for a WALK signal shall be the term "Walk sign."� which may be followed by the name of the street to be crossed. "Vibrotactile devices, where used, shall indicate that the walk interval is in effect, and for which direction it applies, through the use of a vibrating directional arrow or some other means." Vibrotactile pedestrian devices "should be located next to, and on the same pole as, the pedestrian pushbutton, if any, and adjacent to the intended crosswalk."
Volume: Audible tones "shall be audible from the beginning of the associated crosswalk."
  • WALK tones should be no louder than the locator tone except when there is optional activation to provide a louder signal tone for a single pedestrian phase.
  • WALK signals and locator tones should respond to ambient sound, be no more than 5dB louder than ambient sound, and be 89 dB max.
  • Locator tones should be audible 6 to 12 feet from the pushbutton or to the building line, whichever is less.
topup arrow

Developing Standards and Guidelines

Pedestrian pushbuttons
  • Shall activate both the Walk interval and the accessible pedestrian signals
  • Should contrast with the housing
  • May have locator tones
  • Locator tones shall be easily locatable
  • Locator tones shall repeat at one-second intervals and shall have a duration of 0.15 sec max
At locations with pretimed or nonactuated signals, pushbuttons may be used to activate the APS.

Location of pushbuttons
Pushbuttons should be located
  • adjacent to a level all-weather surface,
  • on an accessible route to the curb 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
Where two APS pushbuttons are located on the same corner, the pushbuttons should be separated by a distance of at least 3m (10 ft).

Pushbutton signage
Tactile arrows
  • should be oriented parallel to the associated crosswalk
  • should have high visual contrast
Name of the street in Braille may be provided.

Audible beaconing
The audible tones may be made louder for the subsequent pedestrian phase, up to a max of 89dB, by holding down the pushbutton for a minimum of 3 seconds.
  • may also alternate back and forth across the crosswalk to provide optimal beaconing.
APS "...shall not be limited in operation by the time of day or day of week."

When used, APS shall be used in combination with pedestrian signal timing.

A speech message when the WALK signal is not on shall be the term "Wait."

If the pedestrian clearance time is sufficient only to cross from the curb to a median (of sufficient width for pedestrians to wait) and accessible pedestrian detectors are used, an additional accessible pedestrian detector should be provided in the median.

The MUTCD is revised on a continuous basis, following Federal regulatory procedures. Users should check current provisions on the MUTCD website at mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov.

topup arrow

  << previous page  |  next page >>
spacer image
This site was developed under the sponsorship of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program.