|September 28, 2002|
These APS's and detectable warnings are unnecessary and expensive. This money could more profitably be spent on rehabilitation services for the blind.
Accessible pedestrian signals should never be used to provide directional guidance. If APS', with locator tones for each APS, were fully deployed, the standard intersection would have eight beeping APS buttons, adding to the general noise at the intersection. This increased noise background would make it more difficult to hear the flow of traffic.
The guidelines before the Access Board also require detectable warnings at every crosswalk. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) recommends that detectable warnings should only be considered if the slope of the curb ramp is 1-15 (1 inch of rise or fall for every 15 inches of run) or flatter. Anything with a slope greater than 1-15 is readily detectable with or without a cane.
APS'S should only be used when traffic patterns do not provide the clues the blind rely upon to know it is safe to walk. In these cases, the NFB recommends vibrotactile APS's which inform the blind pedestrian that it is safe to walk without increasing the noise in the environment.
Based on my 17 years of total blindness, I know, that with training, the blind are able to travel competently without such costly modifications to our environment.
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