Use of an audible signal in such a way that blind pedestrians can home in on the signal from the opposite corner as they cross the street.
PROWAAC defined audible beacon as: "a permanently fixed source emitting sound for directional orientation".
Basic issues and information
A minority of crosswalks require audible beaconing, in which the sound source provides directional orientation. Where audible beaconing is required, the WALK signal is normally louder than any associated locator tone.
MUTCD and PROWAAC recommendations are that the beaconing be called up by special actuation, rather than the APS functioning in the louder mode all the time. The recommended form of special actuation is an extended button press (holding the pushbutton in for a longer period of time). For further discussion, see the section titled "Extended button press".
On-going research may refine these recommendations.
Ways to provide beaconing
Beaconing can be provided in several ways, any of which are initiated for a single cycle by an extended button press. (MUTCD 4E.08 and PROWAAC 126.96.36.199F & 188.8.131.52A,B).
Audible beacon speakers must be oriented in line with the relevant crosswalk.
Not all crosswalks at an intersection may need beaconing; beaconing may actually cause confusion if used at all crosswalks at some intersections.
Audible beaconing may be needed at:
PROWAAC recommends that beaconing be available on demand rather than as a constant feature of the device to address noise pollution concerns.
Locations where beaconing is not appropriate
Audible beaconing is not appropriate at locations with free right turns or split phasing, due to the possibility of confusion. See discussion in Location of new construction. Other methods of providing directional guidance, such as tactile guide strips, should be considered at those types of locations.
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