An actuation indicator is a light, a tone, a voice message, or a combination of audible and visual indicators that informs pedestrians that the button has been pressed and that their desire to cross has been communicated to the controller.
Audible indicators may include a click, beep, or the word 'wait' when the pushbutton is pushed. The MUTCD refers to a light in response to actuation as a pilot light; it now requires the word “Wait” when the button is pressed, rather than a click or beep.
If there is a light, it is at or near the pushbutton and remains illuminated until the WALK interval begins. The light is dark during the WALK and flashing DONT WALK intervals, unless the button is pressed during flashing DONT WALK. A light may be helpful to persons with low vision, but persons who are blind require a tone.
When to use
An audible indication that the button has been pressed is particularly useful to pedestrians who are blind when the pushbutton is a pressure-sensitive electromagnetic button which does not feel like it depresses.
MUTCD Section 4E.08, P16 refers to a pilot light and specifies that the "pilot light or other means of indication installed with a pedestrian pushbutton shall not be illuminated until actuation. Once it is actuated, it shall remain illuminated until the pedestrian's green or WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication is displayed."
The following paragraph (Section 4E.08, P17) states that at an accessible pedestrian signal location, each actuation shall be accompanied by the speech message “wait.”
How used by pedestrians who are blind or who have low vision
The indicator assures all pedestrians that the device is working, thereby encouraging pedestrians to wait until the onset of the WALK interval.
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