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Vibrotactile-only APS

vibrotactile APS showing a raised arrow that vibrates.">
Bottom view of a
vibrotactile APS showing a raised arrow that vibrates.
Installed in some locations in the US in response to concerns about noise and misleading information provided by pedhead-mounted signals.

This type of APS provides only vibration at the pedestrian pushbutton. The arrow or button vibrates when the WALK signal is on.

WALK indication
Vibration of an arrow or pushbutton on the device

Locator tone
No sound is generated with this device

This device replaces the typical pushbutton.

Vibrotactile devices must be oriented on poles very precisely so the arrow is aligned in the direction of travel on the crosswalk whose signal is actuated by that pushbutton.

The device must be installed close to the crossing departure location in order for blind or deaf-blind pedestrians to stand with a hand on the device while aligned and ready to begin crossing.

Problems and limitations to this type of device:
  • Information about the Walk interval is only available to pedestrians who are familiar with the intersection and the signal.
  • The pushbutton must be installed very precisely next to the crosswalk where users who need the vibrotactile information can stand, prepared to cross, with a hand on the vibrating surface.
  • For the APS to be of value, the person who is blind or visually impaired must know the APS is there and know where to look for it.
  • In a crowded location, it may be difficult for the blind pedestrian to get to the pushbutton and to keep his/her hand on the device while waiting.
Although there is some interest in signals of this type because they are silent and do not disturb others, the PROWAAC recommendations opposed signals that were only vibrotactile because they are not available to those who are unfamiliar with the intersection. (PROWAAC X02.5.2.2 B)

PROWAAC and the Draft Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines require that all signals provide vibrotactile and audible information. Vibrotactile information is useful in combination with audible information, when the APS are well located, for confirmation at particularly noisy intersections and for persons who are hearing impaired.

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