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Pushbutton Information Message

A pushbutton information message is a speech message that provides additional information when the pedestrian pushbutton is pushed, and is a feature available on some pushbutton-integrated APS. This message may provide the name of the street that the pushbutton controls, as well as other intersection geometry or signalization information.

This message is referred to by different names in the information from manufacturers. These include:
  • Voice on location
  • Informational message
  • Verbal message
  • Additional message
  • Instructional/location message
Additional information
The pushbutton information message is provided from a speaker located at the pushbutton, during the flashing and steady Don't Walk intervals only. The message is intended to be audible when standing at the pushbutton location. Pedestrians may be required to press the pushbutton for approximately three seconds (see extended button press) to call up this additional speech message.

The pushbutton message, in conjunction with the tactile arrow, can clarify the street names and the crosswalk controlled and signaled by the device. To do so, the pushbutton message must indicate which street is actuated by the pushbutton, and the arrow must point in the direction of travel of that crosswalk.

A message that includes only the intersection street names, without clarifying which street is actuated by the pushbutton, does not provide unambiguous information. See recommendations, below, for pushbutton message wording.

Some devices respond to the extended button press by providing more than one additional feature, so the extended button press may activate the audible beaconing feature as well as provide additional information.

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Limitations on use
An APS pushbutton should not be used for landmark information or to inform pedestrians with visual impairments about detours or temporary traffic control, according to recent research (Bentzen et al. 2002).

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When to use
PROWAAC X02.5.1.4 A recommends requiring that unambiguous information be provided at pushbuttons indicating which WALK signal is requested by that pushbutton. The MUTCD says that unambiguous information should be provided (MUTCD 4E.08). PROWAAC (X02.5.1.4 C) also recommends requiring intersection identification information at each APS. Pushbutton messages are a good way to provide this information.

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Pushbutton message wording
Pushbutton information messages should be developed according to the following models (Bentzen et al 2002). The full report, Determining Recommended Language for Speech Messages used by Accessible Pedestrian Signals, is available on the Accessible Intersections page of the web site of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, www.ite.org:
  • Model pushbutton message: "Wait to cross Howard at Grand."
  • Model pushbutton message for intersections having an exclusive pedestrian phase with right turns-on-red prohibited: "Wait to cross Howard at Grand. Wait for red light for all vehicles."
  • Model pushbutton message for intersections having an exclusive pedestrian phase with right turns-on-red permitted: "Wait to cross Howard at Grand. Wait for red light for all vehicles. Right turn on red permitted."
  • Model pushbutton message for angled crosswalks: "Wait to cross Howard at Grand. Crosswalk angles right."
  • Model pushbutton message for crosswalks to medians where a second button push is required: "Wait to cross Howard at Grand. Short WALK phase. Raised [or cut-through] median with second pushbutton."
  • Model pushbutton message for signalized crosswalks to splitter islands: "Wait to cross right turn lane to island for Howard and Grand crosswalks."
  • Model pushbutton message for crosswalks at "T" intersections: "Wait to cross Howard at Grand." (Not different from standard intersection identification message.)
Use "Street," "Avenue," etc., where needed, to avoid ambiguity.

Keep the word order illustrated in the above model messages.

Where model messages have complete sentences, sentences should be complete, for best comprehension.

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How used
Pedestrians who are unfamiliar with the intersection, or who wish to confirm their location, will:
  • Locate and depress the pushbutton for approximately three seconds;
  • Stand beside the pushbutton speaker to listen to the speech message play; and
  • Push the button again, if desired, to hear the message repeated.
At a location with two pushbuttons on a pole and a speech WALK message, it is particularly important that users understand and recognize the street name.

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