Pedestrian Signals:

Pedestrian signal indications should be used at traffic signals wherever warranted, according to the MUTCD. The use of WALK/DON’T WALK pedestrian signal indications at signal locations are important in many cases, including when vehicle signals are not visible to pedestrians, when signal timing is complex (e.g., there is a dedicated left-turn signal for motorists), at established school zone crossings, when an exclusive pedestrian interval is provided, and for wide streets where pedestrian clearance information is considered helpful.1

The international pedestrian symbol signal is preferable and is recommended in the MUTCD. Existing WALK and DON’T WALK messages may remain for the rest of their useful life but should not be used for new installations.1 Pedestrian signals should be clearly visible to the pedestrian at all times when in the crosswalk or waiting on the far side of the street. Larger pedestrian signals can be beneficial in some circumstances (e.g., where the streets are wide). Signals may be supplemented with audible or other messages to make crossing information accessible for all pedestrians, including those with vision impairments. The decision to install audible pedestrian signals should consider the noise impact on the surrounding area. Much more extensive information on the use of accessible pedestrian signals (APS) and the types of APS technologies now available is provided online at www.walkinginfo.org/aps.



  Purpose
• Indicate appropriate time for pedestrians to cross.
• Provide pedestrian clearance interval.
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  Considerations
• Ensure that signals are visible to pedestrians.
• When possible, provide a walk interval for every cycle.
• Pedestrian push buttons must be well positioned and within easy reach for all approaching pedestrians. Section 4E.09 within the MUTCD provides detailed guidance for the placement of push buttons to ensure accessibility.2
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  Estimated Cost
$20,000 to $40,000
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  Case Studies
Portland, OR 
Monterey, CA 
San Francisco, CA 
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia 
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Example of a pedestrian regulatory sign used in conjunction with a pushbutton. The recommended language for such signs can be found in Section 2B.44 of the MUTCD.

Photo by Robert Schneider
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U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration