Figure 4-2. This APS has a high-contrast, raised tactile arrow on the pushbutton and a high-contrast, recessed tactile arrow on the sign above the button
Figure 4-3. The tactile arrow above the pushbutton on this APS is superimposed on a larger visual arrow, but is not on the pushbutton as required by MUTCD
Figure 4-4. The tactile arrow is located on top of this APS housing but is not on the pushbutton as required by MUTCD (also note the lack of required color contrast between the arrow and housing)
A raised (tactile) arrow is required by MUTCD to be on the pushbutton and is used to communicate to pedestrians which crosswalk is controlled by the pushbutton. The tactile arrow provides confirmation that is similar to the printed sign and arrow which are commonly provided for pedestrians who are sighted.
The arrow must contrast with its background. The arrow is the part of the APS that vibrates during the WALK interval.
It is important that the arrow points in the direction of travel on the crosswalk, as it indicates which crosswalk is controlled by that pushbutton. Tactile arrows provide general alignment information for all pedestrians. However, it is important to note that tactile arrows do not seem to enable the extremely accurate alignment required for blind and visually impaired pedestrians. To align the arrow properly, the installer needs to understand that pedestrians are expecting the arrow to be aligned toward the destination across the street. The purpose is not to point toward the beginning of the crosswalk, or the curb ramp location. Misalignment of the arrow may direct a blind pedestrian into the center of the intersection.
For arrows on the face of the device, the alignment is determined by the installation of the pushbutton on the pole.
When to use
Tactile arrows are required on all APS. (Section 4E.12)
Pushbuttons and arrows should be located as close as possible to the crosswalk line furthest from the center of the intersection and no more than 5 feet from the extended crosswalk lines, (MUTCD Section 4E.08, P4 ) The arrow shall be aligned in the direction of pedestrian travel on the crosswalk controlled by the pushbutton (MUTCD Section 4E.12, P1 ).
Arrows shall have high visual contrast (light on dark or dark on light) with their background so that all users, including those with low vision, may see them readily (MUTCD 4E.12, P1 ).
How used by pedestrians who are blind or who have low vision
Pedestrians who are blind use tactile arrows to determine and confirm which crosswalk the pushbutton controls and the general direction of travel. Other clues from traffic sounds are also used to confirm alignment and crossing direction.
Blind pedestrians typically proceed in as straight a line as possible from the pushbutton to the curb of the perpendicular street in the direction of the arrow. This means that the APS should be within or as close as possible to the crosswalk lines.
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