Guidelines for the Retrofit Installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals by the Virginia Department of Transportation: Phase I Report

Report No: 03-TAR3

Published in 2003

About the report:

In late 2000, the Northern Virginia District of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) received a request from a visually impaired citizen to install accessible pedestrian signals (APS) at an intersection in Falls Church. Since there were no national or state guidelines for this type of installation, the district was requested to install APS at an intersection as a pilot and develop appropriate guidelines that could be used statewide by VDOT for future installations. The Virginia Transportation Research Council was asked to assist in developing the guidelines. Further, a committee composed of representatives from VDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the blind/visually impaired community (both formal organizations and individual citizen activists) was established to provide overall guidance and advice. The guidelines will be applicable to retrofit installations and will ultimately include the following sections: (1) a procedure for requesting APS, (2) the basic requirements for retrofit, (3) an intersection evaluation methodology, (4) a funding process, (5) the basic specifications for APS equipment to be used statewide, and (6) installation guidance. As of April 2003, the first four of these sections were finalized. The aforementioned committee recommended that VDOT undertake a 2-year pilot to field test the application of these four sections while the evaluation of the piloted equipment was being completed and the final two sections were being developed. This Phase I report describes the background for the pilot project, its purpose and scope, the methods undertaken, and the results to date that led to the recommendation for the 2-year pilot. Specifically, the report includes details on the following: 1. Results of a survey of VDOT's district traffic engineers. No APS have been installed at VDOT-maintained intersections and only a handful of cities have installed them. 2. Results of a review of the literature. The APS guidelines from the Committee for the Removal of Architectural Barriers; the Los Angeles Department of Transportation; Fountain Valley, California; and Portland, Oregon, are described. 3. Timeline of key events in the development of the guidelines. The timeline focuses on the committee's review and role and traces the drafting of the 10 iterations before the final guidelines were accepted and approved. 4. Outline of the guidelines. A final outline of the guidelines is provided, and Sections I through IV are presented in an appendix. Forms for requesting an APS retrofit and for evaluating intersections are also included in appendices. The report concludes with a discussion of the next steps, or tasks, that are required to complete the guidelines.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

E. D. Arnold

Last updated: December 3, 2023

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