Streets are generally wide. Driving is on the left.
Even where there is a very wide median it is not considered or used as pedestrian refuge.
Most intersections have pedestrian crosswalks; a fence is typically used where crossing is prohibited.
At areas with high levels of pedestrian traffic, there may be exclusive pedestrian phasing. Most intersections with exclusive pedestrian phasing have audible signals.
Japan has very few non-signalized turn lanes or pork chop type islands.
Tactile Ground Surface Indicators, such as bar tiles and 'dot tiles' (called detectable warning in the US) are ubiquitous in urban areas and have been in use since the 1960s. There was often a bar tile leading toward the crosswalk, with dot tiles at the edge of the street. However, the tiles, locations, and installation varied greatly.
Number of APS
Japan has 170,000 signalized intersections. Of those, 10,570 intersections have audible pedestrian signals.
There are a variety of APS systems, most with sound broadcast from the pedestrian signal head. A number of melodies and tones are used to indicate the WALK interval. The tone or melody varies from municipality to municipality; each is allowed to choose its own. JPNA has developed a receiver-based system called PICS.
Functioning of broadcast APS
PICS system is being developed, evaluated and installed under the direction of JPNA.
PICS-A speech system provides pedestrian traffic signal information and location information for bus stops and public facilities through a speech message to visually impaired pedestrians. As the traveler approaches within 10 meters of the intersection where the PICS-A system is installed, an FM radio message is received by the hybrid radio/IR receiver in either a speech or vibration mode. The vibration alerts users to the presence of the transmitted signal. The speech message identifies the intersection. When pedestrians arrive at a corner and are within the crosswalk with the receiver aimed toward the infrared transmitter on the opposite corner, they receive IR speech information about the status of the pedestrian signal. A third function extends the pedestrian phase when a button on the receiver is pushed.
PICS-B image system
The PICS-B image system extends green lights and provides route guidance and information about the surrounding area on a visual display to people with mobility or hearing impairments. Portable receivers (transceivers) are pointed at "IR stations" located near pedestrian traffic signals to extend the pedestrian signal timing, make emergency contacts, and obtain route guidance and information of surrounding area. A visual display provides information to the pedestrians.
The authors found the variety of overhead speakers loudly broadcasting musical sounds or birdcalls to be confusing and distracting. Although these systems have been in use in Japan for about 40 years, there is growing concern about the noise pollution they cause.
The PICS-A system provided signal and directional guidance quite efficiently. Radio transmitted information was useful for general intersection information on approach. A large array of transmitters is required for this system.
Kunio Kurachi, Mitsubishi Precision Co., Ltd, Tokyo
Takabun Nakamura, Okayama Prefectural University, Okayama
Hirohiko Ohkubo, Mitsubishi Precision Co., Ltd., Tokyo
Michiko Shimizu, Orientation and mobility specialist, Tokyo
Osamu Sueda, Rehabilitation Engineering Society of Japan and University of Tokushima Mikio Sugimoto, National Police Agency, Government of Japan, Tokyo
Masaki Tauchi, Okayama Prefectural University, Okayama
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