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Portland Bureau of Transportation

We keep Portland moving

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Audible Pedestrian Signals


View Audible Pedestrian Signal Locations in a larger map

Portland has Audible Pedestrian Signals in several selected locations. Read below to learn:

For more information, contact Peter Koonce at 503-823-5382 or peter.koonce@portlandoregon.gov

Submit an online request for a pedestrian signal

Location Criteria

The City of Portland will consider the installation of accessible pedestrian traffic signals to provide crossing assistance at signalized intersections, but only where needed. To be considered for APS, the location must first meet the following basic criteria:

  1. The intersection must already be signalized.
  2. The location must be suitable to the installation of APS, in terms of safety, noise level, and neighborhood acceptance.
  3. There must be a demonstrated need for an APS. The need is demonstrated through a user request.
  4. The location should have unique characteristics (i.e.; a unique intersection configuration).

Installation Procedures

Once the above criteria above met, the following procedures will be followed:

  • The APS will be activated by a pedestrian signal push button with at least a one second-delay to activate the sound.
  • In the event the number of acceptable requests exceeds Transportation funding, the Bureau will appoint a committee representing the affected communities to assist the Bureau in prioritizing and recommending future APS installations.
  • The Bureau will coordinate with Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) on driver education, specifically on pedestrian issues and the white cane law.
  • When appropriate, the Bureau will refer people who request APS information and installations to facilities and agencies that provide mobility training.
  • Once an APS is installed, City staff will take steps to publicize and educate the affected communities on the location and operation of the installation. The City will notify Neighborhood Associations of new installations.

Evaluation Factors

An evaluation team comprised of City staff and a mobility specialist will conduct the scoring of factors. The person making the request will be consulted during the course of the evaluation to better determine the pedestrian's needs. The following factors shall be used to prioritize potential APS locations:

EVALUATION FACTORS

PEDESTRIAN USAGE Parameter

Points 

Proximity to facilities for the elderly and/or disabled:

This includes, but is not limited to, the Oregon Commission for the Blind, Vision NW, Independent Living Resources, and senior retirement complexes. Points are assigned on the basis of blocks - 1 block equals 200 feet - from proposed APS site to subject facility. The closer the two are, the more points are given.

4-6 blocks 

3 blocks

2 blocks

1 block

<1 block

2

4

6

8

10

Proximity to key destinations:

 

This includes, but is not limited to, medical, educational, social, recreational, commercial, and public facilities. Points are assigned on the basis of blocks - 1 block equals 200 feet - from the proposed APS site to subject facility. The closer the two are, the more points are given. In case of multiple facilities, points will be given on the basis of the closest facility.

4-6 blocks

3 blocks

2 blocks

1 block

<1 block

2

4

6

8

10

Proximity to transit stops & routes:  Because many visually impaired people rely on public transportation, points will be given for the number of transit stops and routes within one block of the proposed APS site. 

1-2 routes

1 stop;

1-2 routes

2 stops;

3+ routes

3+ stops 

 

4

6

8

Need to cross:  The more frequent the usage of the APS, the more points are given. This information must be provided by the requestor.

Occasionally

1x/week;

Regularly

3x/week;

Daily

High 

 

2

4

6

8

Alternate crossing location:  The presence of a good alternate crossing location is considered. The further away a good crossing location is from the proposed APS site, the more points are given.

400 feet

401-600'

601-800'

<1000'

1

2

3

4

Pedestrian accidents in past 4 years: Past pedestrian accident experience at the intersection will be used as an indicator of potential safety. Based on reported accident information, the higher the occurrence of accidents, the higher number of points given.

1 crash

2 crashes

3 crashes

4 crashes

5+ crashes 

2

4

6

8

10

INTERSECTION CONDITIONS    
Intersection configuration: The number of approaches to an intersection and their geometric configuration (offset, skewed, etc.) affect the ease or difficulty of crossing for the visually impaired. In particular, traffic at 3-leg intersections tends not to provide adequate audible clues for the visually impaired to permit them to effectively judge the signal phases.

4-leg right angle;

3-leg tee;

3 or 4-leg skewed;

4-leg offset;

other complex 

 

1

2

3

4

5

Width of crossing: Wider streets present more crossing difficulties for those who are visually impaired. If each leg of the intersection has a different width, the widest street measurement will be used. Crossing width will be measured at the point pedestrians normally cross the street. The wider the crossing, the more points will be given.

<40 feet

41-52'

52-68'

69-78'

>79 feet 

1

2

3

4

5

Traffic volume:  Traffic volume may impede or assist visually impaired pedestrians. Optimal crossing conditions occur when crossing right angle signalized intersections with a moderate but steady flow of traffic through the intersection on each leg with a minimum of turning movements. Traffic that is either light, very heavy, or erratic in its flow makes it difficult to pick up audible clues as to whether the light is red or green. In such cases, APS can assist in determining when it is possible to safely cross the street. Traffic volume will be separated into different classifications, and points will be given per each classification. 

Vehicles per hour 

 
  Heavy traffic flow: Approach traffic on all legs is in excess of 2,000 vehicles per hour during any peak hour. 

2,000-2,999

3,000-3,999

4,000-4,999

5,000-5,999

6,000+ 

1

2

3

4

5

  Light traffic flow: Approach traffic on all legs is less than 900 vehicles per hour during any one-hour period between 6 AM and 6 PM.

800-899

700-799

600-699

500-599

<500 

1

2

3

4

5

MOBILITY EVALUATION     
  Based upon evaluation by staff and mobility instructor, 0-10 points may be assigned.     

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