Accessible Pedestrian Signals: Atlanta, GA

Project Abstract

This case study is one of nine case studies on accessible pedestrian signals posted by Pedestrian and Bike Information Center. These studies describe experiences of US cities that have installed Accessible Pedestrian Signals. Some of these cities have a long history of installing APS; others have more recently installed APS at one or two intersections. This and each case study includes information on the municipality's history of APS installation, process and procedures, types of devices installed, dates installed, installation, maintenance, and evaluation issues, and contact information.

ga 1:  Pedhead-mounted speaker mounted on the pole as typically installed in Atlanta.
Pedhead-mounted speaker mounted on the pole as typically installed in Atlanta.
History and background Atlanta has installed APS upon specific request since 1992. Until April 2003, all devices installed had been pedhead-mounted devices. The city is evaluating pushbutton-integrated devices as part of a research project. There have been requests by citizens who are blind for devices with pushbutton locator tones at pushbutton actuated locations, however the city has not installed them generally to date.
Process and procedure Individuals who are blind or visually impaired make a request to the traffic engineering department. The engineer evaluates the intersection and current timing and signalization. He may meet the blind person and an orientation and mobility specialist (usually from the Center for the Visually Impaired) at the intersection to discuss the problems.
Requests are prioritized by date of request and volume of traffic.
If the request is for an APS at a signalized intersection and devices are in stock, they can usually be installed in less than a month.
Funding City traffic engineering funds, however, some private developers have paid for street improvements as part of a development project.
APS type and features Pedhead-mounted speaker mounted on the pole as typically installed in Atlanta.
Pedhead-mounted devices from IDC/U.S. Traffic are installed at approximately 15 intersections.
APS features:
  • Walk indication -Cuckoo/chirp
  • No pushbutton locator tone
  • No automatic volume adjustment

Atlanta has recently installed pushbutton-integrated APS from Polara Engineering and a receiver-based system from Relume as part of a research project.
Date installed 1992 to present
Installation issues Pedhead-mounted devices are simple to wire and install on the pole or on the pedhead.
Signal shop found the pushbutton-integrated device to be very difficult to install, requiring additional wiring and careful adjustment. After installation, the control unit of one APS was malfunctioning and the device was not sounding; manufacturer replaced the unit.
Maintenance Many pedhead-mounted units have been installed for five to ten years or more without problems. Recently, two units failed two consecutive times until engineers found that water was getting into the devices, probably through the speaker holes. They recommend double checking the seals and mounting the speakers under the pedheads to protect them from the impact of heavy rain.
In general, Atlantaï¾’s department considers pedhead-mounted devices very reliable and serviceable. Vandalism has not been a problem.
Evaluation The traffic engineering department has received some complaints about noise levels of pedhead-mounted speakers (ones currently installed do not have automatic volume adjustment), but complaints have usually stopped a couple weeks after installation. At times, they have adjusted the volume after installation.
The city looked at pushbutton-integrated devices with locator tones to address concerns of persons who are blind about finding the pushbuttons. However, the signal maintenance department prefers to install the pedhead-mounted devices, as long as there are no complaints.
Contact Santana Herrera, Traffic Systems Engineer City of Atlanta Traffic and Transportation 68 Mitchell Street, SW 4900 City Hall South, Atlanta, GA 30303 Phone: 404-330-6501 E-mail:
More information:

 Pedhead-mounted speaker mounted on the pole as typically installed in Atlanta.     
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Pedhead-mounted speaker mounted on the pole as typically installed in Atlanta.

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