Man pushing the button to place a call on a Guardian Wave accessible pedestrian signal



Each day it is estimated that around 12 million blind and visually impaired Americans cross the street, 1 million of which are considered legally blind. Ensuring accessibility for all individuals, including those with visual or hearing impairments, is paramount. By gaining a deeper comprehension of the requirements and challenges faced by individuals who are blind or visually impaired, you’ll be able to create useful accessibility solutions. Accessible pedestrian signals (APS) play a crucial role in creating inclusive environments where everyone can navigate with safety and dignity. APS enables blind and visually impaired people to know when they can safely cross the street. Accessible pedestrian signals translate the warning lights into audio information for people with visual impairments.


Enhancing Safety and Independence

For individuals with visual impairments, crossing busy intersections can present daunting challenges. Accessible pedestrian signals are activated by holding down the push button for 3-5 seconds and then provide auditory, visual, and vibrotactile cues that indicate when it’s safe to cross the street. All of these features may not be important for pedestrians with normal vision; however, they are significant aids to the blind and visually impaired. These signals empower individuals with visual impairments to navigate intersections independently, enhancing their safety and promoting greater independence in their everyday lives.

Additionally, accessible pedestrian signals contribute to the safety of all pedestrians by providing clear and consistent signals, reducing confusion and potential conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles. APS works by communicating information about the walk and don’t walk intervals at signalized in non-visual formats. This further ensures that crossing signals are accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities, communities foster a culture of inclusivity and prioritize the well-being of all residents.


Promoting Equity and Accessibility

Accessibility is not merely a matter of convenience; it’s a fundamental human right. Accessible pedestrian signals play a vital role in breaking down barriers to mobility and promoting equity in urban environments. By providing equal access to pedestrian infrastructure, communities uphold the principles of inclusivity and ensure that individuals with disabilities can participate fully in civic life. They depend on auditory and tactile cues to navigate their surroundings and safely cross streets. Accessible pedestrian signals grant them autonomy, eliminating the need for assistance to cross roads and allowing them to move freely. This autonomy affords them the freedom to explore the city independently, walking at their own pace like any other individual.

Furthermore, accessible pedestrian signals contribute to the economic and social vitality of communities by enabling individuals with disabilities to access employment, education, healthcare, and recreational opportunities. The ADA requires that people with disabilities have full and equal access to their environment. That can be curb ramps, tactile warning strips, and, for the blind and deaf-blind pedestrian, information presented audibly and tactilely that others receive visually. When cities take this to heart and actively invest in accessible infrastructure, they signal their commitment to creating welcoming and inclusive spaces where everyone can thrive.


Empowering Advocacy and Awareness

Advocacy plays a crucial role in driving positive change and advancing accessibility initiatives. America Walks  Promotes the safety of vulnerable road users like pedestrians and individuals with disabilities. By raising awareness about the importance of accessible pedestrian signals, advocates can mobilize community support and encourage policymakers to prioritize inclusive urban planning practices.

Additionally, educating the public about pedestrian rights and the importance of respecting accessible signals fosters a culture of empathy and understanding. When pedestrians are aware of the diverse needs of their fellow community members, they become active participants in creating safer and more accessible environments for everyone.



Accessible pedestrian signals are more than just traffic control devices; they are symbols of inclusivity, dignity, and respect. By prioritizing accessibility in urban planning and infrastructure development, communities demonstrate their commitment to equity and social justice. As we strive to create cities that are accessible to all, let us recognize the vital role that accessible pedestrian signals play in shaping vibrant, inclusive communities where everyone can move with confidence and safety.