Case Study — Waukesha, Wisconsin

Date: April 2005

History and Background

Waukesha has been using pushbutton-integrated APS with speech messages since 2002. Prior to that, they used overhead speaker units which provided a cuckoo or chirp, but were not activated by pushbutton. There are approximately 84 pushbutton-integrated APS in service in Waukesha, most of which were installed during summer 2004. The move to pushbutton-integrated devices was motivated by requests from the local blind community, the Sight Loss Network Support Group, who introduced the city to the speech message capability of new types of APS.

Process and Procedure

The initial APS installations were performed in one large campaign in the summer of 2004. These installations were scattered about town, but mainly focused on center city intersections. Another installation campaign is planned, of approximately 100 units, that will focus on installing devices at the rest of the center city intersections, and moving outwards from there. It is also current Waukesha policy that any new signal installation will include APS.


APS in Waukesha are currently fully funded by Waukesha County Community Development Block Grant Program up to a specified amount per year. This funding includes time and materials.

APS Type and Features

Pushbutton-integrated devices from Polara Engineering (Navigator four wire devices with remote configuration capability)

APS features:

Installation Issues

Figure 9-22. APS mounted on lamp post.

Figure 9-22. APS mounted on lamp post.

Installation of the devices is done by city staff. If a signal to be retrofitted already has pushbuttons, this greatly facilitates APS installation. However, the four-wire models still necessitate pulling extra wire.

Most of the signal poles are steel and accommodate the APS devices fairly easily. They try to have two poles per corner for every intersection. Sometimes stub poles are necessary, if the signal poles are not close enough to the crosswalk. In one case, a lamp post was used successfully as a mount for an APS unit (see Figure 9-22), since aesthetics of the area placed restrictions on installing additional poles.

All but one of the existing APS installations were retrofits. However, all new signals will include APS.


There have been no maintenance issues for the APS units in their one year of service.

Cold Weather Issues

There have been no significant issues related cold weather. Waukesha uses mini-plows for removing snow from sidewalks and the manager of city snow plowing has expressed concern that stub poles may be damaged by these plows.


Devices in residential areas initially drew noise complaints. The city had been leaving the sound settings at the factory default. Once the volume was reduced, there were no complaints.


Cheri Shook
City of Waukesha, Wisconsin
Phone: 262-524-3590

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