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Find: Audible Pedestrian Crossings

Stimulus grant funds new crosswalk devices


Canadian guerrilla street artist Roadsworth, or Peter Gibson, is known for manipulating the sturdy white lines of pedestrian crosswalks and double-yellow stripes of road medians into zippers, shoelaces, double-pronged electrical cords and footprints. According to Gibson's artist's statement, he's drawing attention to the negative aspects of car culture:

"I am not so intent on car-bashing as in the culture that has grown around the automobile, one of the defining symbols of our age."

Though the Ada County Highway District and Roadsworth have little in common, one thing that unites them is a desire to re-imagine or improve the functionality of traditional pedestrian crosswalks. Recently, ACHD partnered with Valley Regional Transit to install new vision- and hearing-impaired-friendly pedestrian crossing devices at two intersections on the Boise State campus--one at University Drive and Joyce Street and the other at University Drive and Lincoln Avenue.

The devices, purchased with a $10,000 federal stimulus grant, emit a continuous low beep to help visually impaired peds locate the vibrating push button, which includes a raised arrow indicating the direction of the crosswalk. A voice command then tells the pedestrian that the "walk" sign is on.

ACHD is working with an Americans With Disabilities Act advisory committee to determine the effectiveness of these devices, as well as other possible future locations for them.