Functioning of pedestrian signals

Pedestrian Signals

Pedestrian Signal Timing

Intersection Geometry

Figure 10-10. This intersection in Göteborg, Sweden has a bike lane (seen on left side of photo) with its own signal head, and an APS that is mounted on the same pole

In cities, streets were generally narrow, with lots of islands. In general, medians or islands separated traffic. Most channelized turn lanes were signalized.

Arterials typically have bicycle lanes on both sides of the street. Bicycle lanes are usually signalized separately, using small ball signals and separate pushbutton actuation.

There are no curb ramps as such; all curbs at corners are typically 3–4 cm high, which is said to be acceptable to persons with mobility impairments.

Number of APS

Overall number was not available.

APS are fairly extensively installed in downtown areas. In suburban areas, signals are installed at the request of persons who are blind or visually impaired and may be installed only on some crosswalks of the intersection, depending on the request.

APS have been in use in Sweden since the 1960s.

APS functioning

Figure 10-11. This street crossing in Göteborg, Sweden, includes two islands and numerous APS (located in the photo by circles or half-circles)

There is no Swedish standard for APS, but most APS have a ticking sound that repeats at 60 pulses per minute for the locator tone and 600 per minute for the WALK interval.

The APS is typically placed on a signal pole or stub pole near the edge of the crosswalk furthest from the intersection, about 0.5 meters from the curb.

Signal volume is typically set to be audible 3 meters from the pole. Signals respond to ambient sound, within a range set by the installer. APS can also be set to a constant volume.

Each intersection had a number of APS and pedestrian signal heads because there was an APS on each island/median; many medians had an additional pedhead as well.

APS is differentiated from standard pedestrian pushbutton by different colored panels on the side of the device.

A raised tactile arrow on top of the device points across the crosswalk. At median locations where the signal actuated a simultaneous WALK for pedestrians crossing in both directions from the median, arrowheads were on both ends of the shaft.

Signals were of a type that could include vibrotactile information through a separate button on the bottom of the device. However, that feature was not commonly provided.

Additional information

Figure 10-12. The Swedish APS displays a tactile map on one side

Figure 10-13. A pedestrian uses the tactile map

Most devices had a crosswalk map feature on the side of the device, indicating the number of vehicular or bicycle lanes to be crossed, and where present, the locations of islands or transit rails across the crosswalk. However, Kaj Nordquist of the Swedish Blind Association, stated that most blind people in Sweden only traveled on familiar routes so the tactile maps were not used much. He stated that orientation to new routes is generally available to blind citizens of Sweden.


Although there were a number of APSs at each intersection, it was possible to locate the devices, and use the WALK indication of the device to cross efficiently.

Because of the precise location of each APS, the information provided was unambiguous as to which crosswalk had the WALK interval.

A pedestrian waiting to cross could always be within arm's reach of the APS, so there was no question regarding which APS was sounding during the WALK interval.

Sources of Information

Jan Lund, Prisma Teknik, Tibro

Roger Peterson, Prisma Teknik, Tibro

Bengt Ekdahl, Traffic Engineering, Göteborg

Kaj Nordquist, Swedish Blind Society, Stockholm

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