Case Study — Atlanta, Georgia

Date: May 2003

History and background

Atlanta has installed APS upon specific request since 1992. Until April 2003, all devices installed had been pedhead-mounted devices. The city is evaluating pushbutton-integrated devices as part of a research project. There have been requests by citizens who are blind for devices with pushbutton locator tones at pushbutton actuated locations, however the city has not installed them generally to date.

Process and procedure

Individuals who are blind or visually impaired make a request to the traffic engineering department. The engineer evaluates the intersection and current timing and signalization. He may meet the blind person and an orientation and mobility specialist (usually from the Center for the Visually Impaired) at the intersection to discuss the problems.

Requests are prioritized by date of request and volume of traffic.

If the request is for an APS at a signalized intersection and devices are in stock, they can usually be installed in less than a month.


City traffic engineering funds, however, some private developers have paid for street improvements as part of a development project.

APS type and features

Figure 9-19. Pedhead-mounted speaker mounted on the pole as typically installed in Atlanta.

Figure 9-19. Pedhead-mounted speaker mounted on the pole as typically installed in Atlanta.

Pedhead-mounted devices from IDC/US Traffic are installed at approximately 15 intersections.

APS features:

Atlanta has recently installed pushbutton-integrated APS from Polara Engineering and a receiver-based system from Relume as part of a research project.

Date installed

1992 to present

Installation issues

Pedhead-mounted devices are simple to wire and install on the pole or on the pedhead.

Signal shop found the pushbutton-integrated device to be very difficult to install, requiring additional wiring and careful adjustment. After installation, the control unit of one APS was malfunctioning and the device was not sounding; manufacturer replaced the unit.


Many pedhead-mounted units have been installed for five to ten years or more without problems. Recently, two units failed two consecutive times until engineers found that water was getting into the devices, probably through the speaker holes. They recommend double checking the seals and mounting the speakers under the pedheads to protect them from the impact of heavy rain.

In general, Atlanta's department considers pedhead-mounted devices very reliable and serviceable. Vandalism has not been a problem.


The traffic engineering department has received some complaints about noise levels of pedhead-mounted speakers (ones currently installed do not have automatic volume adjustment), but complaints have usually stopped a couple weeks after installation. At times, they have adjusted the volume after installation.

The city looked at pushbutton-integrated devices with locator tones to address concerns of persons who are blind about finding the pushbuttons. However, the signal maintenance department prefers to install the pedhead-mounted devices, as long as there are no complaints.


Santana Herrera, Traffic Systems Engineer
City of Atlanta Traffic and Transportation
68 Mitchell Street, SW
4900 City Hall South, Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-330-6501

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