Traffic Signals And Truncated Domes


Traffic Signals And Truncated Domes

     Man, listen to that traffic!" Sid said, as the two blind friends approached the busy intersection.

     "Yeah, That’s what we’ll go by. Makes it mighty easy to tell when and where the traffic is moving, right?" Jeff said.

     "Easy? Where I come from we would have an audible signal on every corner at this big an intersection. This has got me nervous!" Sid said, beginning to hold back.

     "Never heard those birdies where I come from." Jeff said. "Sid, the train station is right across the street here and by my watch, we have only ten minutes to catch our train, so come on up here and let’s catch the first green light."

     "But, how are we going to tell exactly when the light changes?" Sid said.

     "There! The side street cars are moving out. Come on, we can go." Jeff said, stepping off the curb.

     "Wooee! Made it!" Sid said. "Man, they need a signal there!"

     "That sounds like folks going in a big entrance on the left." Jeff said. "Let’s join ‘em!"

     Inside the station. "Jeff, I hear the escalator on our right." Sid said and led the way at a fast clip.

     "Alright, Sid! We will make it now." Jeff said as he followed.

     "Oh man! It just hit me… what if they don’t have truncated domes to show us the platform edges?" As he spoke, Sid literally stopped in his tracks.

     "Sid, not a problem! I’ll show you what we do in my city. We don’t have the bumps. Come on, man. Get that cane out there and let’s go or we’ll be stuck two hours for the next train." Jeff said.

     "Well, they do in mine!" Sid said, leading off again.

     "Okay, okay, we’ve got two minutes. It’s cane and brain time bud. We can still make our train if we keep hustling. Heads up, cane out, move and grove.” Jeff said as he moved ahead, his friend bringing up the rear.

     In the train, the two friends relaxed over a game of cutthroat pinochle with a Braille deck. "Man, oh man, traveling!" Sid said. "I love it and I hate it."

     "Yeah, love it and hate it, I guess that fits." Jeff said. "Speaking of traveling, when can you come visit my fair city and me? Our first tourist stop will be at the best pizza joint in the whole world, then a triple-A ball club game, then my favorite fishing hole…"

e-mail responses to

**1. “After reading this thought provoker, it tends to substantiate my already held view that audible traffic signals and truncated domes cause us to become dependent on them. I have walked on elevated platforms and found the edge and the car just fine without falling off without the truncated domes. Guide dogs are also taught to keep well away from the edges of platforms. However, I do believe that we would benefit at certain extremely busy intersections from audible
traffic signals, or perhaps vibrating traffic signals--not the ones that chirp inanely, but some we have control over.
The problem with audible traffic signals or truncated domes is that if blind people don't learn how to manage with other alternative techniques, they will
feel lost without them. However, for me, there are some intersections in Orlando I just will not cross, because it is too difficult to tell when I can
go. An audible traffic signal would be of great help, though I would rely on other cues as well.”

Sherri from (Orlando, Florida USA)

FROM ME: “Is there a way to have the best of both worlds; good travel skills and confidence and audible and tactual clues?”

**2. “I live in New York City and would absolutely love audible traffic signals
and truncated domes. There is a lot of traffic and sometimes streets branch off in different directions. Also, drivers aren't always paying attention. I know how to cross with parallel traffic, but crossing major streets can be scary.

The subway platforms are usually crowded and I'd be very happy to use truncated domes if they were present. It would provide me with an extra measure of security.

I know that there are many blind people who are not in favor of the audible signals and truncated domes and that's their right. They don't have to use them if they don't want to, but I personally would love whatever safety assistance I can get. I don't see anything wrong with asking for help or using special systems if they would help me travel more safely.”

Janet Ingber (New York City, New York USA)

FROM ME: “Are there any side effects of having such noticeable blind person oriented aids such as the auditory signals and truncated domes spread about a community?”

**3. “This short-short story is rather simplistic, especially given that more and more busy intersections have multiple flow signals, rounded corners,
lots of noise and drivers who may or may not pay attention to pedestrians. Of instance, we have a busy intersection near where I live that has six or eight lanes of traffic on both roads, rounded corners, a continuous right turn lane that is not light controlled, and multiple
signals which change for right turns, left turns, strait, etc. With the addition of the continuous right turn lane, I find it quite difficult to accurately judge traffic flow. Unfortunately, this intersection must
crossed because of bus stops. An accessible signal would be nice, but wouldn't really help unless other changes are made.

Is this Piece suggesting that accessible signals shouldn't be put in unless all intersections have them? One of the arguments against accessible signals is that blind people might pay attention to the signals instead of the traffic flow. Perhaps this is true in some cases, but the same could be true of sighted people who go when the walk light goes on. Should we eliminate that assistance for sighted pedestrians so we all are more equal?

Now, as for the truncated dome question, sighted people have a contrasting colored line on the edge of curbs and platforms to assist them in locating the edge. Perhaps we should remove that assistance for sighted people so we all would have the same risks.

Instead of debating why the accessible signals and domes shouldn't be used, I suggest that more people need to get involved and push for governmental entities to install them! Unfortunately, many people, who should be involved, sit back and say nothing or are against changes.
This is exactly what politicians and engineers want. ‘It must not be an important issue, because few of you people seem to want it."’

Doug Hall (Daytona Beach, Florida USA )

**4. “Audible traffic signals have got to be a sighted person's idea--or that of a newly blinded person who still thinks like a sighted person! It is an attempt to give the blind equal access to information, assuming that since sighted pedestrians have lights saying, "Walk," and "Wait," that blind pedestrians should have a non-visual equivalent. We who are blind are so
often asked as we approach an intersection," How do you know what color the light is?" And we also know some version of the answer: "It doesn't matter what color the light is; what matters is what the cars are doing." It is a difficult concept for sighted people to grasp.

But let's follow the trail of equal access. No prudent sighted pedestrian would step out into a busy intersection solely on the basis of what the pedestrian signal says. The person may use the light as a cue, but then look carefully in all directions to make sure that it is safe to cross.
Similarly, a blind pedestrian might use the audible signal as a cue, but then listen carefully to make sure that it is safe to cross. But here the parallel breaks down. While the visible signal in no way impedes the sighted person's ability to watch the traffic, the exact opposite is true
for the blind pedestrian, as the audible signal interferes dramatically with the sounds of the traffic. The blind pedestrian faces a dangerous choice: wait on the curb until the noise stops and thereby waste valuable crossing time, or cross the street solely on the basis of the signal,
without being able to hear the traffic adequately. Sometimes there is a third choice: enlist the help of a sighted pedestrian for help in crossing
safely. But if that is necessary, what is the point of the audible signal in the first place?

In the town where I used to live, our Federation chapter had actively opposed audible traffic signals. When one suddenly appeared at an intersection near the rehab agency, we invited the city engineer to come to a chapter meeting and discuss the issue. When we explained our concerns about the dangers created by audible signals, a light seemed to go on for
him. He told us of a middle-sized town where a study had been done about painted pedestrian crosswalks. For years, the city had not had specific crosswalks, but simply recognized every intersection as a priority for pedestrians. When crosswalk lines were later painted, more pedestrians were hit by cars than before. Research revealed the reason. Pedestrians
felt a false sense of security in a painted crosswalk, even though it is rather obvious that a little paint on the pavement is very poor protection against tons of moving metal! Similarly, a blind pedestrian may feel safe with an audible signal, but in reality that chirp or whistle won't save you
from that quiet car turning right on red, or the driver in such a hurry as to run a red light!

At best, audible signals are a waste of money and make the city planners feel good that they are accommodating the disabled. At worst they are just plain dangerous for blind pedestrians. Blind people can easily be trained to cross lighted intersections safely. Let's do just that, and save the
city's street budget for something worthwhile.”

Carolyn Brock (Portland, Oregon USA)

FROM ME: “What do audible signals cost per unit?”

**5. “The use of audible traffic signals, and truncated domes, in my opinion, is a waste of time and money. I know that some people seem to think that they are a good thing, but are they really?

All audible signals are going to do is distract you. I mean, what if someone runs a red light? If you go by the audible signal you will only pay attention to that, whereas if you would just listen to traffic you will hear the vehicle. And in relation to that, those just learning to be independent won't be because they will learn to listen for the audible signals. A perfect example of what will happen when they are in a town without them is in this story. That person was not independent. He
was so dependent on these audible signals that when there weren't any, he stopped in his tracks because he was afraid to go without them. Plus, the signals that are used are ridiculous. A bird chirping for one way, some other nature sound for the other. Why not have just "walk" and "don't walk" instead of something that sticks out like a sore thumb like that.

As for the truncated domes, they do the same thing, only in a different situation. Anyone who has gone through proper training can tell you that they are unnecessary. You can hear the train, and if you can't, than that is what canes are for. They are not just sticks that we use to let the public around us know that we are blind. They actually have a useful purpose. Someone with the proper training could easily shoreline and find the edge of the area that is safe to walk.

So,, to sum it all up, audible signals and truncated domes keep us dependent on sources that can't always be reliable, they are not
necessary, to those with the proper training they are a distraction, and therefore they are a waste of money.”

Brent J. Heyen (Chadron, Nebraska USA)

**6. “ Ah traveling, love it and hate it. How apt a description that is. I love traveling in theory. Then when I get out there and encounter the myriad things that a blind person has to deal with sometimes I hate it. But as far as the thought provoker goes it is as usual a great one. If a person is used to the helpful little things that some cities have they may be disoriented in a place that doesn't have them. I grew up never having the things mentioned in the provoker and in fact still live in a city without them. But in a way I'm glad. I won't be thrown off if I encounter them, and I won't be set back in my travels if I don't find them. That's not to say that I don't feel they SHOULD have these things. They are so simple and yet would make many people's lives easier. Not just blind individuals either.”

Wendy McCurley (Fort Worth, Texas USA )

**7. Wonderful story to show the superfluity of traffic signals and truncated
domes. I now live in Sioux Falls, SD, where there are no such "helpful devices" and yet blind pedestrians are doing fine. I very often need to cross 41st Street
with its multiple lanes, dubbed as the most dangerous in SD, with no traffic signals. The trick is to learn to listen to traffic; a signal provided freely to blind pedestrians. It goes without saying that training and the right attitude is needed to this end.”

Mr. Nevzat Adil (Rehabilitation)

**8. “From what I can see, Sid's become spoiled by those audible signals. Since he's come to depend so much on them, there isn't much way he's going to be able to visit his friend's city. There's one of those
signals - a loud screeching bell at a local shopping mall in my area.
The mall's bus stop is across a very busy street in the parking lot. The
bell has never helped me. Rather it makes me highly uncomfortable. If
I'm trying to 'follow the bell' I don't pay attention to the more
important signals, like watching to see if the cars have actually stopped
as they're supposed to when the bell goes off. I ran into a deaf co
worker of mine on the bus stop at the mall once. He obviously had done
very well with the bell. He had pushed it, to indicate for the cars to
stop, but since he couldn't hear it, he didn't pay attention to it beyond
that. As for the bumps in the roads to make the cars slow down, I trip
over them constantly.”

Patricia Hubschman (New York USA)

**9. “Although I spent some time in Topeka, Kansas, where there was an audible traffic signal on the corner of the street where the rehabilitation center was located, I have never lived in a city with audible traffic signals or truncated domes. I have learned to use my hearing and existing vision to determine when it is safe to cross a busy street. In Sheridan Wyoming, there are no trains of any kind so I have not had a problem with truncated domes but I figure that in
that situation, I could probably be able to see where the platform meets the track.

I feel that it is every city's responsibility to make travel as easy as possible for the blind and visually impaired. However, in some small towns like Sheridan, audible traffic signals may not be affordable. So, I guess those of us who live in these cities must make the best of things.”

Abbie Johnson (Sheridan, Wyoming, USA >)

FROM ME: “How can a city make their intersections safe for the blind if the blind people in the community are not in agreement? Do they, the city not do anything? Do they do what the majority wishes? Do they do what the group that makes the loudest sounds ask? Who chooses which intersection is to be given a signal detectable by the blind?”

**10. “Audible traffic signals have got to be a sighted person's idea--or that of a newly blinded person who still thinks like a sighted person! It is an attempt to give the blind equal access to information, assuming that since sighted pedestrians have lights saying, "Walk," and "Wait," that blind pedestrians should have a non-visual equivalent. We who are blind are so often asked as we approach an intersection," How do you know what color the light is?" And we also know some version of the answer: "It doesn't matter what color the light is; what matters is what the cars are doing." It is a difficult concept for sighted people to grasp.

But let's follow the trail of equal access. No prudent sighted pedestrian would step out into a busy intersection solely on the basis of what the pedestrian signal says. The person may use the light as a cue, but then look carefully in all directions to make sure that it is safe to cross. Similarly, a blind pedestrian might use the audible signal as a cue, but then listen carefully to make sure that it is safe to cross. But here the parallel breaks down. While the visible signal in no way impedes the sighted person's ability to watch the traffic, the exact opposite is true for the blind pedestrian, as the audible signal interferes dramatically
with the sounds of the traffic. The blind pedestrian faces a dangerous choice: wait on the curb until the noise stops and thereby waste valuable crossing time, or cross the street solely on the basis of the signal, without being able to hear the traffic adequately. Sometimes there is a third choice: enlist the help of a sighted pedestrian for help in crossing safely. But if that is necessary, what is the point of the audible signal in the first place?

In the town where I used to live, our Federation chapter had actively opposed audible traffic signals. When one suddenly appeared at an intersection near the rehab agency, we invited the city engineer to come to a chapter meeting and discuss the issue. When we explained our concerns about the dangers created by audible signals, a light seemed to go on for him. He told us of a middle-sized town where a study had been done about painted pedestrian crosswalks. For years, the city had not had specific crosswalks, but simply recognized every intersection as a priority for pedestrians. When crosswalk lines were later painted, more pedestrians were hit by cars than before. Research revealed the reason. Pedestrians felt a false sense of security in a painted crosswalk, even though it is rather obvious that a little paint on the pavement is very poor protection against tons of moving metal! Similarly, a blind pedestrian may feel safe with an audible signal, but in reality that chirp or whistle won't save you
from that quiet car turning right on red, or the driver in such a hurry as to run a red light!

At best, audible signals are a waste of money and make the city planners feel good that they are accommodating the disabled. At worst they are just plain dangerous for blind pedestrians. Blind people can easily be trained to cross lighted intersections safely. Let's do just that, and save the city's street budget for something worthwhile.”

Carolyn Brock (Portland, Oregon USA)

**11. “I just finished reading your latest Thought Provoker, and as a sighted person I found it revealing and educational. I never heard of truncated
domes, I'm assuming they are like bumps to tell you how close to the edge of the platform you are. I've ridden trains my whole life and never gave it a thought to how a blind person might find a train station a dangerous place.

Is it our fault that the sighted don't know enough about the blind, and other handicapped people? Is there any way we can learn about them? I'm one that wants to, I've several blind friends, but I must read Thought Provoker to gain much insight into the lives of the blind. Couldn't more be done to educate the sighted?

Thanks for letting me learn.”

Bill Heaney (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
58 years old, retired policeman.)

FROM ME: “What all do you suggest for Bill to learn more about blindness?”

**12. “Your story brought out a very important point that must always be addressed when we discuss audible traffic signals, truncated domes, etc. How competent is the person who is traveling? In the story, Sid seems to be more hesitant and less confident than his friend. This may indicate that his skills need improvement. A lot of people don't want to hear this, but the reality of it is that if a person has competent skills with a cane or dog, the need for truncated domes will be diminished. The real issue isn't putting bumpy strips along the tracks, but aiding blind people to become better travelers who
will know how to be mobile and safe in this environment. As for the traffic signals, again your story makes the point for me. There are other methods
to use in order to cross a busy intersection. Many travelers actually find the traffic signals to be annoying and distracting. Also, the signals may
reflect the light, but they don't reflect bad drivers who may try to beat the light. Good listening skills, on the other hand, have saved me many a time
when a driver chose to turn or speed up at the wrong time. In the end, sharp traveling skills are a better aid to safe travel than too many unnecessary

Ryan Osentowski (Lincoln, Nebraska USA)

FROM ME: “Can all of us achieve the level of travel skill necessary to not need audible signals and truncated domes? do all states/areas in the USA have too travel instruction for the blind? What do others around the world do about this; instruction in travel skills and auditory and tactual indicators for travel of the blind? Is this just a USA problem?”

**13. “This is almost like arguing about sex, religion or politics, but I'll go ahead and take a shot anyway.
I am primarily a dog guide user, but I have maintained my cane skills as well, and I've traveled independently throughout the U.S. I've crossed streets
with and without audible traffic signals, and I've used light and rapid rail trains with and without truncated domes. IN short, I'm an experienced and
confident traveler. For me, the value and necessity of audible signals and truncated domes varies with each individual and even situation ally. For example: I used to live in an apartment complex which was across a four-lane road from a train station. Getting from one to the other was as easy as making a mid-block crossing. The street itself was not generally heavily traveled, but during peak morning and evening rush hours, the traffic was heavy, and much of it was either
turning into or out of the entrance for the train station which was near the mid block crossing which I used. The mid-block crossing itself was signalized,
but one had to push the button in order to activate the walk cycle. During peak travel times, I could push the button and wait for stopped traffic; there
was no real parallel traffic. However, at night, there was little traffic, and the through speed of traffic was 40 MPH or greater.
After living in this location for a year, and misjudging the crossing at night (because of the lack of traffic) on more than one occasion, one of which
was quite close to my personal demise, I petitioned the City for, and got an audible signal. The signal didn't tell me that the crossing was safe, but
it did let me know when it was legally my turn to go as well as the few seconds when oncoming traffic had a red light. I still had to listen to traffic
and travel accordingly, but the signal gave me information which I would otherwise not have had.
I think that people who argue against the need for audible pedestrian signals and truncated domes may feel that doing so is a strong statement about their
own capabilities as travelers. However, I think that the same people are very unrealistic about the travel needs of other people. After all, who should
society serve? Should it serve the relatively small percentage of blind people who are confident and competent travelers all the time, every day, or should
it accommodate the vast majority of us, who have varying levels of competence and confidence, and who occasionally have a bad day? For me, the domes and
the audible signals aren't for the days when I'm on top of my mobility game. They're for the days when I'm pre-occupied or bored or tired or just clumsy.
Moreover, they're for the less capable but just as valuable blind people as well. I would add that if we think of audible pedestrian signals and truncated domes as what they are...devices which provide information (much as signs do for
others), then we shouldn't be so worried about what it means if we actually allow ourselves to like them. After all, don't sighted people get "caution"
signs, and wouldn't the average sighted person think that a lack of such signage was an accident waiting to happen? Maybe we should just think of audible
pedestrian signals and truncated domes as accessible caution signs. Sure, maybe we don't always need them, but just like the textured dots on the side
of freeways for the sighted, we'll have them to keep us honest when we're not on top of our game so to speak. One final thought: why do we feel that we have to be better than sighted people? After all, if you took the caution signs and the signalized crossings out of the environment, most of them would be lost, dangerous, afraid, and the lawyers would be bringing liability suits by the truck load. Really! we needn't be so sensitive about having just the smallest of safety nets available to us. Having such a net is not a comment about our weaknesses or incompetence's. Rather, having such a net is an admission that we're very much like everyone else...with all the same imperfections, limitations and needs.”

Ron Brooks (Albuquerque, New Mexico USA)

**14. “My question is, if it is felt wise to give the sighted lighted warnings on street crossings and painted ones on the edges of platforms, then why do we expect the blind to be different? Maybe the warnings need to be for both?! Can we come up with a workable signal for both? A street crossing signal that doesn’t blind the sighted and one that doesn’t deafen the blind? And for the platforms, maybe a painted but tactual surface for the edges? We want to be treated as equals, we the blind, so why not get the same safety information as the sighted, the rest of the traveling public.”

Gary Chainey (USA)

FROM ME: “Is there an audible signal that signals once or maybe twice and shuts up? Is there a audible signal that already comes with a new style lighted crossing signal and doesn’t cost an additional arm and leg? What do sighted people do when it is crowded on a platform and can’t see down at the floor and see if they are in the danger zone?”

**15. “I am an orientation & mobility instructor and I feel that audible signals and truncated domes are very legitimate accommodations. They are not special devices made to give the blind any advantage, but are there to make information which is available to sighted people accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Traffic lights are there and available to all who see and the subway platforms have a wide, yellow line painted on them. Of course, just as with
sighted people, the blind traveler must have alternative skills and use them at all times. These "cues" can be excellent reinforcers of the information
which is available through other methods, i.e.: auditory and tactual with the help of the cane or guide dog. For sighted as well, one must have the fundamental
knowledge and skill to appropriately deal with a situation when the technology fails or is not accessible. For example, there are times when a traffic
light may not be working because of power failure or determining which light is lit is not clear because of the angle of the sun. It would be a problem
if a person were trained and skilled in only one method or the use of one type of accommodation and were unable to safely and appropriately deal with
other situations. This is not advisable nor wise for anyone, sighted or blind.”

C.Gannon (New Hampshire USA)

**16. “This provoker really brings back memories of learning cane travel. I can relate to both situations described in this story. I live in Atlanta, home of busy intersections and crazy drivers. Here, "stop" is just a suggestions; a traffic light means, "Look before you just go through
the intersection, and if you can make it, and there's no cop, keep on rolling!" We do not have audible traffic signals here, so I was forced to rely on
learning traffic patterns in order to cross streets safely. Frankly, if I did go somewhere that had an audible traffic signal, I would not know when it
was telling me to go, so I'd still have to rely on the change in traffic patterns to tell me when it was safe. I can definitely relate to Jeff's fear
of crossing, however, as I have been across some of the worst streets in Atlanta with just my cane, my brain, and a prayer. Even with audible signals
and a knowledge of traffic patterns, you still have to account for those nuts behind the wheel who are putting on their makeup, reading a book, or talking
on the phone, and will not look out for you, even when you have the right of way. On the other hand, the train platform never really held much fear for me. We do have the textured strips on the edge of the platform at most stations, but not in all of them. The knowledge that it was a four-foot fall to the ground into the path of an oncoming train was plenty of incentive for me to
learn to navigate the platform without the warning strips. I was always very conscious that I had to be careful, and usually switched from two-point technique
to sliding my cane tip back and forth when on the platform. That way, the tip of the cane would always drop off the platform before the rest of me, and
there was never a chance for a misstep. My opinion is that it is better to depend on techniques that will work anywhere, regardless of the presence or absence of assistive devices, like audible signals or raised warning indicators on train platforms. If they're there, that is great, take advantage. But if not, you've always got the techniques
you learned without the assistive devices to see you through.”

David L. Thurmond (Atlanta, Georgia USA))

**17. “As I have often said, and as I continue to say, this whole issue is a
problem for many because they are victims of tunnel vision! The people who get most upset about audible traffic signals are those who are between the ages of 20 and 60, the working blind, the just plain blind. These individuals see only their own selves and people like them when they make judgments as to the efficacy of audible traffic signals, textured strips and any other accommodation that might be

They may not need audible traffic signals. And, it is important to be able to distinguish traffic noise in order to cross a street. However, there are those with learning disabilities, those with partial hearing losses, those who are elderly and may need a little extra aid, those who are young and need an extra help to cross a street. There are those in wheelchairs, those whose physical mobility
is unsteady and many other types of disabilities, not to mention those who are cognitively disabled who need these things.

One interesting comment I heard from a friend who went to Singapore (sp) this past summer. She noticed that all the streets had audible traffic signals. She said, and I quote, "We got to where we were waiting for the sound before we crossed, and we're sighted! It was a real help!"

So put that in your pipes and smoke it, guys! Stop being myopic, guys! See the value in this sort of thing. Open your minds!”

Ann Parsons (Rochester , New York USA)

**18. “These two subjects really push my buttons! I strongly believe that Accessible Pedestrian Signals are essential for the safe travel of blind
persons. Too many deaths have occurred already. I also believe that national standards for such signals are long overdue. Some signals are so loud that one cannot hear traffic and I for one, refuse to utilize a signal which hinders my ability to judge traffic. Whether one uses a white cane or dog guide, I believe truncated domes should be standard as well. Pros and cons? People need orientation to both of these safety alerts and...we're never going to please everyone no matter what the standard.”

Jo Taliaferro (Grand Rapids, Michigan USA)

**19. “In most situations I am not in favor of audible signals or truncated domes. They give a false sense of security. Then if a person who is blind has to
travel in areas without these crutches, they would most likely feel helpless. I do, however, strongly believe that all people who are blind should work to make every intersection pedestrian safe. This way, children, old folks, and disabled people alike can enjoy the freedom of traveling safely on foot.”

Mary Ellen Ottman (Daytona Beach, Florida USA)

**20. “Here in our small town in South East Washington, we are just in the process of getting these audible signals installed. I do not walk down town very
often, but when I do, I like these audible signals. Though at times the traffic can be quite busy and the sound can guide one across the street, there
are times when the low traffic makes knowing when to cross the street difficult, thus these signals really help. Here too we have many elderly with failing
eyesight and most of these do not have good mobility or cane training. For these people, these audible crossing signals are a great blessing.

Now there are many crossings where the access has been made assessable for wheel chairs and unless one really pays attention he can be in the street before
he knows it because there are no bumps to warn him. Usually we can tell by the slope of the walk but at one busy crossing the sidewalk is completely
level with the streets to cross, giving absolutely no warning, unless the traffic is heavy at the time. Once here, on a training walk, I was several feet
into the street before called back. An audible crossing signal would be great here.

Then there is one crossing I have to make if I go to any store. This has only stop signs on the crossing street with no warning or caution signs/ signals
on the main road. The main road goes up a hill , thus traffic coming from that direction has only a short distance before reaching this crossing. My
mobility trainer won't guide me across here because of the danger, but either I cross here or walk 8 blocks out of my way to use the signal and then
walk the 8 blocks back to the store. The traffic is usually light on the cross road, the one I am walking, but heavy on the main street with sounds from
other cars prominent as they come out of the super market's parking lot, a busy service station or a large apartment complex, on three sides of this crossing.
Thus usually I have someone with me when I go this way. A signal of any kind would be great here.”

Ernie (Walla Walla Washington USA )

**21. “What little experience I have had with audible traffic signals, I have found them to be more of a distraction than help. With horns honking, people
talking, and traffic whizzing by, I feel that the audible signal adds to the confusion.”

Dove (USA)

**22. “I would like to respond to this thought provoker, because it is a very good one. I live in a city where there are no audible traffic signals or truncated
domes, and I get around very well. I definitely think that Jeff had the right attitude in the story by using his "cane & brain" to get around, where Sid
was used to audible traffic signals and the bumps. I feel that as blind people, we are good travelers don't need these devised to get around, but by
simply using our canes and good travel skills and our wits, we can get anywhere. The sighted have a lot to learn about how blind people travel.
I didn't have a lot of time to write this, but I thought I would jot a quick response to this and then maybe respond back after other people have a chance
to read and think.”

John TeBockhorst (Davenport, Iowa USA )

**23. “ This Thought Provoker, and many of the responses to it, frustrate me
in that we are forced to consider this issue using rigid dichotomies and
useless stereotypes. We are presented with two characters, one of whom
has great mobility skills and breezes through intersections without a
hitch, and another (Sid), who quivers at the thought of crossing without
an audible signal. This is silly and unnecessary in that we are forced to
assume that there is not a blind person out there with great mobility
skills who also happens to use audible signals in certain circumstances.
We are left with the conclusion that there is a causal and irrefutable link
between poor mobility skills and these devices, which is substantiated
with unfalsifiable psycho-babble.
Those who oppose the signals speak about others who will doubtless
jettison all mobility skills at the first sounds of a signal chirp but we
cannot make blanket statements about others without any kind of evidence
or direct experience. We also cannot assume this is an either or
proposition, that there is no middle ground here.
We are told that audible signals are dangerous, as if the technology has
not, and cannot ever change or be modified to suit our needs, that it must
be described now and forever as the loudest and most obnoxious sound ever
devised. Would such persons change their argument if the chirp were
replaced with a buzz? or a hum, or something that is adjustable, or
something that can even be switched off on command?
Is there an issue of pride here? Are we afraid to say that perhaps an
audible signal at least on the busiest of intersections might be of
benefit? Are we afraid others will think that this is the only way we can
cross a street? Are we worried about a diminishment of respectability? I
have, in fact, heard this argued; some say we will be seen as lesser human
beings because we sometimes use an audible signal, as if these signals are
any different than a thousand other things in the world that could be used
against us as well under the worst of circumstances.
It also seems the case that those who argue moderation with
qualifications really mean total mobilization against implementation of
any signals or domes. I have never seen an audible signal go in that
wasn't opposed, at least retroactively. Too many of those who say,
"perhaps, under some circumstances, such devices might be useful to some,"
really don't mean what they say, and actively fight and oppose any signal
that goes in at any time as a prophylactic effort, operating on a slippery
slope approach to this issue.
I fear this issue will never congeal into consensus of even the most
modest and unobtrusive form.”

Brian (Iowa USA)

FROM ME: “What are all the underlying issues involved in this argument? Independence or dependence, pride or false pride, stereo typing, non-flexibility, philosophy, public perception, etc.”

**24. “ If city planners with good intentions really want to help the Blind, I suggest the best adaptation they could make at street corners would be to put Braille signs on the corners indicating the name of the street. Crossing the street is of little concern for the properly trained Blind person. If the sighted
had to travel around without street signs, there would be a lot of wasted gasoline.”

Glenn Ervin (Northeast Nebraska USA)

FROM ME: “If we had Braille signs, should they also have raised large print on them too?”

**25. “I wonder why there are painted edges on platforms and lighted walk and don’t walk signs at intersections for the sighted. They too could do all these things about going with the traffic and watching out for the drop-off at the edge of a platform. Why is it philosophically okay for them and not for us? Is there an over reaction going on here within the blind community?”

Ron Newmont (Vermont USA)

**26. “I'd like to especially recognize the comments by Ron Brooks, Gary Chainey and C. Gannon for their insightful words about this Provoker topic. As
was mentioned previously, mobility is for all people, not just the super
blind travelers, those who have many years of experience and training.
Some people don't need accessible traffic signals and truncated domes
because they have such a high level of skills and some don't need them
because they have no intention to go anywhere by themselves, but I'm sure
that there's a large number of people who could and would make use of
these aids. In answer to those who say that these aids are not needed by
them, I say don't use them! However, I feel that they should be
available for those who do need their assistance. I find it interesting
that several foreign countries, probably where pedestrians are more
important, make installation of accessible signals mandatory while we are
still debating the issue instead of getting the job done.

Although I say that accessible signals and truncated domes should be
installed, I also say that by themselves, they won't do the trick. We
must get traffic engineers and governmental officials to properly
consider pedestrians and pedestrian safety when designing intersections.
Rounded and offset corners, right on red turning, wide streets, multiple
signalization, new more quiet cars, and a noisy environment all make
crossing streets more difficult for pedestrians who have no or little
vision. In addition, enforcement or lack thereof of existing laws and
driver attitudes effect the safety of all pedestrians.”

Doug Hall (Daytona Beach, Florida USA )

FROM ME: “If city planners got their streets made right/well for foot-traffic, including the blind, then what would be needed on the blind travelers part of this linked need/problem?”

**27. “As an English person I'm not sure if the intersection is the same on English roads but on many busy in the UK there are both and audible signals. The audio is a beeping sound and the tactile signal is a round cone situated under the crossing control button which turns when the light turns to green
and the beeping sound also happens when the light changes to green. Sighted
people in my experience use the audible signal and hardly ever look in the
direction of travel (grin).

To make it easier for cane users or those with remaining vision there is a
colour contrasted tactile paving in front of the crossing in the shape of a
capital T. The horizontal line of the T marks the curb edge and the
vertical stretches right back to the inner shoreline.

I do hope I have explained this so that everyone understands, if not I'm
sure someone will put me right (smile).”

Jayne Connor (High Harrington, Cumbria England)

FROM ME: “It is great to see how it is done in other countries. Another question I would have is, what is the status of wide-spread availability of good travel skill instruction in England and other countries? (Isn’t both needed; intersections that are passable and travelers that can travel independently?)”

**28. “I haven't read the whole story yet, but I have my own thoughts on the traffic signals and the domes. I feel that the traffic signals would be more useful
if they could be controlled, and were not so intrusive concerning other environmental cues. If people felt that the signals were absolutely necessary,
why could they not be tactile, like a vibrating pad on the traffic pole? I have no interest in using them myself and find them dangerous when I am trying
to pay attention to the traffic around me, especially at strange crossings. My opinion is that if they can be truly helpful, I am happy, but please don't
impede my ability to travel safely with extraneous noise.

As for truncated domes, I find them convenient, my biggest use for them here in Denver at the lightrail is to give me a little added security if I am rushing
to catch a train. I tend to like knowing I have that extra foot on one side. I would be fine without them, but I see how they can be useful, and I honestly
use them regularly.”

Amy Mason Denver (Colorado, and Multiple parts of Nebraska USA)

**29. “I’ve been around audible signals in the US and find them to be half useful and half dangerous. If you could push a button to use it when you wished to, then I think that would be better. but, when it goes on, make it so it only speaks out a couple of times when the light changes, then it shuts up and lets you listen to other environmental sounds as you go about your business.”


FROM ME: “Are there any signals out there like this? Sounds like a good mix; it’s there if you want it and once it tells you the light has changed, it gets out of the way.”

**30. “I'm always traveling the railroad, and there are definitely little bumps at
the edge of the platform. I don't know how much others depend on them, but I
have been known to fall because my shoes slip off them. I think they're

Lori Stayer (Merrick, New York USA)

FROM ME: “Question- Anyone know if there are statistics for accidents on loading platforms, like in subways, etc? Who is getting hurt/killed; sighted versus blind/disabled. Are there figures for accidents on platforms with and without truncated domes? Do the domes mess up footing for some people?”

**31. “ I was born blind, am now 56 years old, have been using a cane since the end of high school. I admit I'm not the best of travelers; often I tend to be
too cautious. When I lived near Chicago and frequently traveled on commuter trains and elevated rapid transit, for example, I was often fearful on narrow
el and subway platforms, particularly when they were crowded, having heard stories of people being pushed off such platforms. There was no such thing
in those days as truncated domes or any texturing, and sometimes surfaces were slippery with snow and ice. Nevertheless I've traveled widely, have been
in over half the states.

Only within the past two years have I had experience with audible traffic signals and truncated domes. These experiences were in San Diego and Atlanta.
(Yes, Mr. Thurmond, there is an audible signal at the corner of Piedmont and International Blvd. in Atlanta.) I was particularly startled when coming
across the chirp and cuckoo in Atlanta last summer. I must say I found the signal helpful. There are times one is traveling in off-peak hours. Unless
a car pulls up to an intersection, if there's no traffic coming near-by it can be hard to know if the green light is with you. I can travel without these
aids, but found them both reassuring, particularly in environments encountered for the first time.”

Susan Knight (Columbus, Georgia, USA)

FROM ME: “Question- I go if there is no traffic to give me an indication of the status of the lights. How about you?”

**32. “I have to agree with Ron Brooks on this one. Not all blind people are super blinks with excellent reflexes who can leap tall buildings with a single bound, white canes in hand. I am blessed with good hearing, a good sense of direction and feel confident that my cane skills and my handling of my guide dog
are both high. But I know many people who just don't have these advantages. Add to this offset crossings or ones that aren't set at right angles and the
heavier traffic flows and I feel that the statistics of one blind person being killed or injured every two weeks show that something needs to be done.

I especially like those signals with a tone locator to find the pole where the button is located. At least where I live, the signal buttons can be as
much as eight feet away from the curb cut and if it is an intersection I haven't crossed before, how would I know where to look for it? I also find them
useful at T intersections since there is no parallel traffic surge to listen for. The best type are the ones that say walk followed by the name of the
street and have a vibrating arrow for deaf blind. I feel that I pay taxes too and much of it goes to things I don't use either, so what's the big deal
in spending a little on things that many will find useful. My city has a supply of those loud buzzer type and puts them in fairly regularly when asked
to do so by a couple of blind people. These are the cheapest type and I have personally asked for two of them at T. intersections where I must cross to
catch buses. Without them, I couldn't tell when the flasher began and since I can't be sure how long the delay is before the flasher starts and it doesn't
have a long interval of flashing because the streets I need to cross are main roads, it was a challenge to judge. Especially if a car didn't break at
the beginning of the flash cycle. Yes, I still pay attention to the traffic noise too as only a fool would believe that an impatient driver wouldn't zip
through at the start of the signal or just not be paying attention. We are thinking beings after all, not pavlov dogs to bolt in to the street just because
a bell goes off! As for my guide dog, I have never allowed him to move from the curb until I say so, even though my previous dog had excellent traffic
sense and wanted to move as soon as he saw the light change and the traffic surge.”

DeAnna Noriega (Colorado USA)

FROM ME: “This lady said that a blind person is killed every 2 weeks in traffic related accidents. I’m not sure where that comes from, I’ve not see it. Does someone out there have hard evidence of a number?”

**33. “I have to write again after reading these last responses to this issue. As noted in my last letter, I live in a small town. We have no train stations,
only a few places that tracks cross one of the roads. Even when I had fairly good eyesight I had never been where the crossing was anything but street
level, thus had no idea of there being danger in some cities about this. several years ago I took a train trip, alone, depending on help where switching
trains was needed. We were in Chicago and I was standing outside the train waiting for help to guide me to where I was suppose to go. the crowd was thick
and I was slowly being pushed backwards. Suddenly one of the passengers who had been in the train car with me said, "Don't back up any more!" My heel
of one foot was about one foot from a drop down of several feet. The concrete platform simply stopped with a drop to a lower track. . There was nothing
to warn me of this danger, no rail, rope or curbing. Now an experience traveler, used to subways and trains might never have got into this position but
I had never been where these exist. Actually I was to get help that did not come but that is not the subject here. I thank my fellow traveler for stopping
me from falling. But a rail, or even a rope would have been most helpful here. Those with good eyesight have many signs telling them of danger or telling
them directions. Should not we use what we can for our safety? Good mobility training is needed and I agree one must listen to the flow of traffic and
not just trust some beeping signal but I am for any aid that helps a person, blind or not to be safe in his street crossing or when near trains!”

Ernie Jones (Walla Walla, Washington USA)

**34. “I don't have enough experience using audible traffic signals to speak about them definitively. But, given the inattentiveness of many drivers today,
and the larger, busier streets, often without straight crossings; I believe
that there are instances in which some sort of signal would be helpful. I
don't believe that blind people should rely on them exclusively and use them
in place of good travel skills. But, I can't rule out their usefulness in
some situations.

As far as the truncated domes are concerned; I have seen them in some places
and don't like that particular tactile indication. They're a lot like
cobblestones and are hard to walk on. But, I do feel much more comfortable
using train platforms where some sort of tactile indication is present
before the edge of the platform. Maybe I'm not as brave or confident now as
I was when I was younger. But, with all the train noise compounded by the
reverberation of the trains on the walls, when the platform is below ground,
I much prefer some sort of warning along the edge of platforms. I haven't
found them in many places, yet. But, when I have seen them, it helps me a
lot. My husband fell off the edge of a train platform a few years ago.
There was no train there, (we missed it), and he was not hurt. But there
was noise from another engine nearby, and he lost his direction and
misstep. It could have been disastrous, and, perhaps, if there had been
some sort of tactile warning, he may not have been as close to the edge
without realizing it.”

Cindy Handel (Willow Street, Pennsylvania USA)

**35. “When the audible signals first came out, I didn't like them at all. Now
that there are more and more of them, I have noticed that I depend on them
on some difficult signals. I could probably do without them, but perhaps it
is good for those who are elderly and losing their sight. AS far as the
truncated domes. I don't do much rail travel, but the times that I have, I found that they came in handy. I'm sure it could
work either way. though.”

Tom Rash (Yucaipa, California USA)

**36. “I'm a hemiplegic as well as legally blind. I live in a wheelchair I
have no use in my left arm or leg cannot use a cane or dog when my right
hand is busy with the power chair controls. Though I value Pedestrian
crossing signals at busy crossings. I manage to get around by putting myself
in a heightened awareness mode. as I travel in my power chair. I cannot describe what I have learned to do another way. I never rush or hurry because I would lose this advantage. I'm lucky to live in a quiet area where traffic is slow even then I seldom venture out of my apartment anymore. With right turns being the norm I feel wherever audio traffic signals can be accessed they are needed. Where
sighted have accessible lights we should have accessible sounds!”

Diane Dobson (Victoria, British Columbia Canada)

**37. “In a first response to this post, I supported the use of audible signals and truncated domes as accessible "caution signs." I'd like to follow up, specifically
on the topic of detectable warning strips as there's a little more to my story on that score.

I mentioned earlier that I travel primarily with a dog guide but also with a cane, and I consider myself to be a competent and confident traveler. Nevertheless,
I'm also a realist. I have days where my concentration and skills are both great, and I have no problems. On these days, I can go anywhere, hear any
sound cue, notice any texture change with my feet, and virtually smell my way around. Unfortunately, there are other days also. These are the days when
I'm tired, or when I've got a lot on my mind, or when I'm thinking about something job, my relationships, or where I'm going to get dinner.
ON these days, I still think of myself as basically safe and confident, but I sometimes feel a little clumsy...sort of like a bull in a china shop. On
these days, I'll overstep my dog at a curb, or clang my cane against every parking meter in the block, or maybe I'll jam it into every crack in the sidewalk.
Come on; we've all been there at one point or another. So now on with the story:
I used to live in San Francisco. I lived way out in a neighborhood called Stones town. To get there from downtown, the most direct route is to take a light
rail train called MUNI. MUNI is a subway-type train downtown, which runs on city streets out in the more residential and suburban portions of the City.
Anyway, I worked downtown and lived in Stones town, so I used the train every day. At this point, I was a dog guide user. One afternoon, I came into the
Van Ness Avenue Station in downtown San Francisco to catch my outbound train home. I went successfully through the fare gates and down the two flights
of stairs to the train platform level. It was just after 5:00, and the station was absolutely packed with commuters. (I happen to work in the transit
industry, and this station was experiencing what the engineers call "crush load capacity." It wasn't unusual or specifically dangerous. It just meant
that the station platform was more or less packed, and every train was completely full and overflowing with people.

Once on the platform level, I walked a few feet and stopped. Typically, in a MUNI station, the trains would pull to the end of the platform, and each train
might have individual cars heading to multiple destinations. For example: a single train might have two cars headed to one point and two headed to another.
(The train would ultimately "uncouple," but at Van Ness, everything was still coupled. The upshot of these arrangements were that you would never know
where your actual car would line up until the train came in to the station, and the destination signs illuminated. Also, there were no detectable warning
strips...this was just after the ADA and just before MUNI put them in.
So I'm standing in a big crowd with my dog, and all of a sudden, there's a lot of commotion because a train is coming. It's a 4-car train. The first two
are "L" cars, and the second two are "M" cars. I need "M" but can't use "L" because it's not ultimately going my way, so I pick up the harness and give
my dog the "forward" command. We start walking. Because of the crowds on the platform, especially toward the middle, the dog is used to having to walk
alongside the platform edge...just to get around. Well, we're walking; it's crowded; it's loud; and people are going in all directions. All of a sudden,
my dog slams on the brakes. There's a wall of people to our right and the platform edge and train to our left. I thought that the dog was confused by
all the confusion. I literally had my toes on the edge, and I sensed an opening in front of me. I knew that I had walked a distance along the train,
so I thought I was far enough to board the train, and so I did. ... There was only one problem. The opening I sensed wasn't the open doorway into my train
car. It was the gap between the back of one car and the front of the next, about two feet wide. I knew this when there was no floor, and the bottom dropped
out from under me. So I was, in a bad spot...falling to the track way, between two cars of a train in operation and ready to move.
Obviously, the train didn't move. Enough people yelled, so that the operator (who did not initially see me, for he was in the car in front of me) hesitated.
Arms grabbed my arms, and I was hauled the four and a half feet to the platform's edge. My dog didn't fall because there wasn't enough room for both
of us to fall. He did get quite a jerk on his neck though when I fell.
Now, would a detectable warning strip have saved me? I say "yes," and I say it for the following reasons: 1) I'm not stupid. If I felt domes under foot,
I'd stop, and I'd be very, very careful about moving. 2) I'd train my dog to never walk on the bumps. Crossing it into a train would be fine, but I'd
train the dog (with physical correction if necessary) to stay off in all other situations. 3) Even with a cane, I'd stay off. I've been a cane traveler,
and I tended to follow the platform edge with my cane. With the strips, I follow the inside safe edge with my cane, so I'm extra safe.

I know this was long, but for me, there's no teacher like experience, and there's no experience like almost getting crushed under the wheels of a train.
For me, this is a no-brainer. Whether some super blinks need them or not, detectable warnings are a good idea because they give a margin of safety that
just isn't there without them. Anyone who says otherwise is mistaken. This isn't to say that blind people can't travel safely without them. I did on
hundreds of occasions, but on that rare day when everything conspires to make travel difficult, what's the harm in a little bit of textured rubber or concrete?
For me, this is a common sense issue.”

Ron Brooks (Albuquerque, New Mexico USA)

**38. this sure is a philosophical mess. One group says it all has to do with attitude and skill and we don’t need help and especially special help that points us out as needing special and different things than the sighted. Another group who almost sound more correct on this one, is a group that too many times is wanting their cake and to eat it too; they’ll say they want equal opportunity, but won’t always take on equal responsibility. So we who are not in either group are caught in the middle. What slays me, is if this world was perfect about disability, there would be a system in place at the train station and on each corner that would allow all people to pass safely.”

Sue Spark (USA)

**40. “I never experienced audible signals before joining the NFB. There's been a lot of heated debate on the issue, and I suspect a strong measure of politics plays into the mix. That is, certain
Federationists prefer to dismiss those who use audible signals as
closet members of the American Council of the Blind. As the thinking
goes, no self-respecting Federationist would accept, condone, or even tolerate audible signals in his domain. The sighted community might misunderstand and suppose blind persons are incapable of safe travel without all manner of special accommodations.

Well, as I say, even the idea of audible signals was new to me before
joining the Federation. I had no experience of the signals, either
favorable or unfavorable, and so kept quiet. Then I moved to the
northeast and began traveling the busy streets of New Haven,
Connecticut. Almost immediately, I encountered three intersections
with audible signals. (Incidentally, here the tone is not an
obnoxious chirp or piercing beeping but a low-frequency chime.) I
count myself a safe and independent traveler, and so I prepared to
cross using traffic cues as I would at any other city intersection in
the US. But to my surprise, the signal and traffic surge did not
correspond. I chalked it up to failed technology and thanked my
travel instructors who taught me to rely on traffic above all else.

But still, I was curious. I eventually asked a friend about the
signals. How is anyone supposed to know whether the chime signals
green for perpendicular or parallel traffic?" I asked. Apparently,
here all traffic halts in all directions after one full cycle.
Pedestrians are free to cross in any direction or diagonally as they
please. During this holding period, the chime sounds. And thus,
there is no confusion which way to walk. I'm curious to know if this
traffic pattern occurs anywhere else. Certainly no town in the south
stops traffic in all directions like this.”

Matt Lyles (New Haven, Connecticut USA)

FROM ME: “How about this one? How many different kinds of signals are out there and do they work the same? Do you dare stop thinking?”

**41. “ again after reading other peoples responses to this I have come to the conclusion that some people who are blind think they are
to good to use signals after all is said do they think that sighted
folks can cross against the lights? That using sounds instead of sight
makes us any less responsible or capable. Yes we learn to judge traffic by listening. That's the truth, still if there is a signal available we are obliged to use it, like sighted people.”

Diane Dobson (Victoria, British Columbia Canada)

**42. “I agree with the need of some audio-tactile signals; my concern is that the blind will take it as gospel that it is safe to cross the street. we always need to listen to the traffic.”

Ren (Huntsville, Alabama USA )

**43. “As a general rule I think that ATSs and Truncated Domes are unnecessary, They are expensive and can be confusing and dangerous. I think that blind people have a responsibility to make the effort to get and use good mobility skills and tools. Too many special adaptations to the environment discourages many blind people from being responsible, and discourages schools and training centers from providing good training. They also help
to perpetuate the stereotypes of the blind by the sighted. Whether we
like it or not we are a minority group, and we will be treated as second class citizens until the majority of us show that we are just as capable as the sighted. To be sure there are areas that are especially difficult and dangerous even for those blind people with fairly good skills. In those cases ATSs shouldn't be ruled out, but they should be controlled with a button on a pole and be tactile so that they can be used in noisy areas and by those with hearing impairments. We should remember though that a lot of times these crossing are difficult and dangerous for the sighted as well, and cheaper non-blindness related solutions are often available. Truncated Domes shouldn't normally be needed. Guide dogs should stop at drop offs and the user should check with hands, feet, and cane if necessary to ensure that they step onto trains and not fall onto tracks. Canes if used properly should detect drop offs and can be used to find out what is beyond them. It is important for anyone blind or sighted to be careful and pay attention to where they are going. Accidents will happen sometimes. To be sure there are areas where it is difficult to tell where the tracks are or where the sidewalk ends and the street begins, and occasionally Truncated Domes or something like them may really be needed. But usually there are cheaper and less "special" solutions like gates and ramp like curb cuts rather than the flat rounded corner kind.”

Anitra Webber )Salt Lake City Utah USA)

FROM ME: “How might these special signaling adaptations have a negative result in the training of a blind traveler by a Orientation and Mobility specialist?”

**44. “My first experiences with audible traffic signals were with what I regarded as hazardous and probably needless ones. As better signals came along, and as I found more and more crossings where I could not rely on the traffic for guidance, I reluctantly came to think that some of those gismos are necessary. I had and retain this reluctance because I think we have a lot less control over our lives if we must depend on the installation of special gismos in the environment than if, with tools in our hands and the training to use them, we can travel safely using the ordinary cues of that environment. Sadly, I know it can't always be that
way: with computer access, automatic teller machines, and some street crossings, we need other people to do some modifying.

I've started to wonder whether traffic engineers are now being employed to design road systems that are generally unsafe for most pedestrians. Necessary though I think it is at this crossing, the audible signal at one place can do nothing about the short time we're given to cross. These roundabouts I've read about recently seem designed to ensure that no pedestrians contaminate the streets. (I've read that they may reduce traffic accidents, but there doubtless are better ways that don't threaten to raise the mortality rate of us bipeds.) Blended curbs also seem to me a needless hazard, and truncated domes the wrong answer: it would be better to have old-fashioned curbs with good curb cuts for wheelchairs (which help us blind folks as well). I doubt that we can get the safe travel conditions we have a right to unless the range of needs of pedestrians generally comes to matter.
I find the truncated domes along subway platform edges of some help, but used the subways without them for a long time and still do at some stations. I use either a guide dog or a nice long cane, as well as a small dose of fear. I don't presume to know that there's nobody who needs these costly strips, but I do argue that they are not necessary solely or primarily on the ground of blindness and therefore the propaganda promoting them shouldn't portray them that way.

I note in this connection that, in my experience, most of the people who combine their demands for these environmental modifications with a dismissive attitude towards calls for better travel training and use of long canes also criticize those of us who use those long canes. This group of people seem to be saying, "Don't make yourself safer, make other people give you your safety!" No, I'm not saying that all proponents of these modifications think this way, but many notable ones seem to. And no, I'm not saying you can't have top-notch training and tools along with these modifications, only that we're likely to need the modifications a lot less if we have the top-notch training and tools. (Absolutism fails

My final comments are on the abysmal term "super blink." It is used as a club on blind people who handle good jobs, busy streets, or dome less subway platforms as well as their sighted peers, or even people who decline assistance they don't want. It proclaims that only a few, specially gifted blind people can do these things. This is the view that kept blind people on the margins for almost all of history and still hinders our progress toward living those full lives we have the same right to as sighted people. The word serves no good purpose. It sells us short. It gives no help at all in giving logical attention to the wide variation in abilities, both innate and acquired, that we have. It badly mistakes the nature of those blind people who can be called "gifted" as that term is typically employed: as much as our numbers and perhaps the causes of blindness allow, those truly "gifted" among us would be so at the same level and in many of the same ways as the truly gifted sighted people. In my experience, people who have the attitude expressed by that word are either blind people who could do more but decline to or sighted people who, for whatever reason, don't like our doing things for
ourselves. I've learned a lot more about both my abilities and limitations from observing and sometimes emulating the behavior (though not necessarily the rhetoric) of many people who've probably been called "super blink" than I ever could have from most people I've seen inflict the label. (Of course, if there really were "super blinks," I'd never be among
them: I get lost too often.)”

Al Sten-Clanton (Boston, Massachusetts USA)

FROM ME: “’...Don't make yourself safer, make other people give you your safety!...’ No, I' Is this attitude out there? How easy is it to recognize, in others, in yourself?”

**45. “I would like to say that I find the messages in thought provoker most enlightening. I would like to say that I lost my sight at 55 yet, I still think once
and while like a sighted person. that is why I like to listen to Provoker" I am learning to blink. I, too, have some comments for the blind. email me if
you would like to chat.”

Joel Cosby (Alexandria, Virginia

**46. “I had not meant to write in on this issue again, but I can't help myself. I actually have a question. Many people on both sides of the line refer to audible traffic signals in conjunction with loud and busy intersections. Why? Perhaps my logic is a bit off, but it seems to me that if the street is extraordinarily busy, then hearing the traffic patterns and traveling safely would be no major problem. Isn't it easier to hear 30 cars than it is to hear 3?
As to strange intersections such as T's, turn islands, and diagonal crossings, my problem is not knowing when to cross, it is detecting the odd intersection in the first place. I have had several months of training from the Colorado Center for the Blind, and using sleep shades has taught me that I depend on my vision an awful lot when it is available, and that I have the most trouble detecting some of the strange intersections when I cannot use the vision
(such as during training). I am more unsure of myself on quieter intersections, or those that are either unusual, or extra loud (such as near construction). I hope not to offend with my questions, I simply don't understand the reasoning. I would appreciate others perspectives.”

Amy Mason (Denver, Colorado USA)

**47. “I have read through many of these responses very quickly. The question I have is, are there any blind in rural areas? I can think of many times where we just didn't have any traffic to follow. I would stand for ten or fifteen minutes wondering what the light was doing! We also don't always have a number of pedestrians to ask for assistance. As a dog guide user, I have found that many believe that the dog can just read the signals anyway. Since we also
have our share of inconsiderate drivers, I approached the Sheriff’s Department about my problem. Their solution was to put advertisements in the papers to show where I walk and to watch out for me. If that didn't work, we could plaster signs about blind traveler in area around our community. I have tried to maintain high visibility in the community based on my work and not my impairment! Many days when the rain or snow pours down my neck I long for the
audible signal that will give me the chance to get myself and dog into a warm, dry place.”

Marcia Beare (Martin, Michigan USA)

**48. “I think the whole argument over audible signals is ridiculous. Sighted people don't NEED visible traffic signals to cross the street. Blind people don't NEED audible traffic signals to cross the street. They are both appreciated as additions to basic travel skills. If visible traffic signals are used, then audible signals should be available for exactly the same reason. Audible signals give the same information to blind people that visible signals give to sighted people.

To say there should be one without the other is stupid. Why shouldn't blind people be given the same information sighted people are given. Is it a sign of 'weakness' for sighted people to use visible signals? NO, so why is it a sign of 'weakness' to use audible signals by blind people.
I am a very good cane traveler, but I find a low tone audible signal a welcome addition to the other cues I get when crossing the street.”

JODY Ianuzzi (Florida USA)

**49. “I think that Sid sounds like a mobility instructor when he tells Jeff to
listen to traffic. Jeff and Sid are both independent, but one seems more
than the other. Because of my condition of Lebers Congenital Amerosis, my
fine and gross motor are delayed, so if I have to catch a bus, I have to get
an earlier start, so I don't have to rush. I think the two friends should
have done the same, so they could both learn about traffic lights together.”

Beth Kats (USA)

**50. “Once again you have captured my attention. What is wrong with having
audible street crossings? If one has good travel skills, the audible
sounds might be optional. As other readers have pointed out, "good
travel skills are a must".

Although I feel that I had excellent training in Iowa, there are still
occasions when I wish there were an audible sign to assure one that it is
safe to cross the street. At one time, I had a job that required a
person to cross a busy street from the bus stop to the college. The
alternative would have been to ride to the corner which is several blocks
away and then walk back. That works well if one has time to spare or is
fond of ice and snow. At the above mentioned crossing, there was no
visible or auditory clue that it was safe to cross the street except for
the traffic.

I am currently attending a university. Once again, there is a very busy
street that hundreds of students cross daily. The area to be crossed
is between the Student Union and the mini strip mall on the campus. At
this crossing, there is both a visible traffic light and an audible sound
to alert pedestrians that it is safe to cross. Although this particular
light has an obnoxious beeper attached to it, it seems to be far more
reliable than listening to the north & south bound traffic (which isn't
always easy to hear above the chattering of many nearby students) or
trusting some of the students in recognizing the safe time to dash
between the lines of traffic. I imagine that honking buzz is relied upon
by sighted pedestrians as much as by we who do not see.

There are many places in this city where an optional auditory traffic
signal would be beneficial as there are hundreds of young drivers who
don't have time to look for pedestrians or wait for a light to change.

In most cases, we, the seasoned blind, have as much, if not more ability
to safely cross a street as the sighted populations. Traffic lights and
signals are available for their use. The sighted can also opt not to
benefit from these electronic signals. Why not provide the same options
for the blind population? Let the super blind man fly! There are and
will always be newly blind or low vision people who are NOT seasoned
travelers who might benefit from an auditory cue.

Unfortunately, the city in which I am living is NOT pedestrian
friendly at all. Not only are there a few hundred college age people on
the streets, there are also few through sidewalks. Of course this is
not the lifestyle to which I am accustomed. The lack of sidewalks in
itself is a challenge. If it were safe to walk from my apartment to the
corner, crossing the busy intersection to the bus stop would pose few
problems with or without an audible traffic signal. I've crossed
that intersection many times in the past.

One accident could change a person's life for ever. Let's install more
audible signals and make them optional for those who want to use them.
It is better to be safe than sorry. For those of you who are too proud
to think of an audible signal for the benefit of someone else, just bear
in mind, "pride goes before a fall".

Carol Tomis (Tallahassee, Florida USA)

**51. “hello to Ernie in New Haven. I took mobility training when I was a student at Veterans Blind rehab. Center in West Haven. the audio traffic signals surprised
me. However my mobility trainer taught me to concentrate on traffic and discern the traffic flow with my ears! I trust them more than a mechanical device.
I am not discouraging the use of such devices, that's just my opinion. I greatly enjoy The Provoker.”

Joel Cosby (Alexandria, Virginia

**52. “Hooray for response #48. Have none of the respondents seen that there are "Walk" and Don't Walk" signs at most intersections. These are used because intersections
are used equally by both pedestrians and motor vehicle travelers.
I used to be sighted, and there were times that I approached an intersection and would have logically thought I had the green light, but the pesky sign
still said "Don't Walk". It usually meant that the light involved a turn signal or some other traffic issue. Nonetheless, I would wait patiently until
the pedestrian sign lit "Walk" and I would proceed.
Likewise, train platforms are painted bright colors and have bold signs warning sighted people of drop-offs and tracks. These are painted in bright colors
so sighted people do not accidentally step off. What is the difference? We are talking about life and death here. this is not an issue of "I don't think
you are a good enough traveler to cross this street or ride this train". Maybe I am, maybe I'm not, but it is my right to travel and my city government's
responsibility to make the environment as safe as possible for all travelers. I hope that none of the "Super Blink" police visit my community. I believe
that their far out beliefs are counterproductive to the safety and best interest of all blind people.
Keep in mind: Accessible signage is not a sign of weakness or inferiority, but a common-sense precaution that is afforded all citizens, with or without

David Ondich

**53. “This discussion of traffic signals reminds me of something I have thought of recently. I wonder if we who use non-visual cues for traveling will have difficulty
with street crossings if electric vehicles become more common, as the trend seems to be moving toward. I have noticed that smaller electric vehicles are
almost impossible to hear. If this is true of electric automobiles, perhaps we should focus our attentions on getting the automobile manufacturers to
put a device on their vehicles like a "deer whistle" that is audible to human hearing so we can continue to travel safely.”

Glenn Ervin (Northeast Nebraska, USA.)

**54. “Just wanted to write again about this thought provoker. I first learned my cane travel in a small town where there were only 21 stop lights and there were
no audible traffic signals or truncated domes, so I used the skills that my mobility instructor taught me. Then I moved to a larger city where there were
stoplights on every corner, and still no audible lights or detectable tiles. The only time I have encountered an audible traffic signal was when I was traveling
in Europe. I was in Saul berg, Austria on a trip, and I was with a group of my friends waiting for the light to change. I then started hearing a clicking sound and
wondered what it was. When we crossed the street, I found that it was coming from the light, and it was a audible signal.
Now where I live, there are no audible signals, but 2 years ago, the president of the local ACB chapter tried to get them installed. By talking to traffic engineers, us in the NFB found out it would cost $2,500 per signal to install the audible signals, and this would be $10,000 per intersection. Luckily,
after they found out how much it would cost, they decided not to do this.
I have always used my good traffic skills and have never been hit by a car or gone when the lights were against me. I feel that we need to use our good
mobility skills and our brains to cross safely, and not technology, since you can't always rely on this.”

John TeBockhorst (Davenport, Iowa USA)

**55. “I haven't written to this forum in some time, but I found this particular thought provoker of interest to me. I am not part of either group mentioned in
this thought provoker, however, I think a problem can arise when we try to generalize for a whole population. Having that said, on to the thought provoker.

To me, it is vital that blind/visually impaired people be as flexible as possible in all situations, especially when traveling. You, as the blind/visually
impaired person, need to use all cues that are given to you from all your senses to make appropriate and safe traveling decisions. Not just auditory
signals or understanding traffic patterns, but also take into consideration what smells you might encounter that can give you further clarification for
doing safe travel. The smell of freshly laid tar is a significant cue that can help ensure your safety when crossing a street where construction is occurring.
the smell of gasoline along with some auditory cues would give you more information about a gas station that you might be located near.

We must always remember that sighted assistance can be of great benefit to us for gathering additional information. There have been several times over
the past 17 years, where I didn't read the cues properly when trying to cross a street, and sighted assistance was there to help bail me out. Live and
learn about patience, smile, it can save your life. All in all, it is the way in which we interact with the world to find our way through the paths of
our lives that is the important thing here.

In any case, I have done enough rambling for this topic, an interesting one at that, but still one of concern for many of us traveling out on a day to
day basis.”

Jeffrey Pledger (Burtonsville, Maryland USA)

**56. “At first I was not in favor of the audible signals. They were loud, weird, went 24 hours a day and didn’t give the blind a good image. Then I thought, why not make it possible to activate them by demand only. Have a button on a pole and if you want the signal you could turn it on and have it be active for two turns of the light changes or so. Otherwise, if you did not want it, you didn’t push the button. That would be the best of both worlds. but I would not use bird calls. I would have a voice tell you that it is ok to cross the name of the street that was now safe. Even then, finding the pole with the button could be a problem too. Either way, the blind person better have his or her skills there to use. Putting these signals in all cities at all or most intersections would be very costly and I don’t see it being done.”

**57. “I've been reading the 'Thought Provokers' for quite some time. I've enjoyed
and have learned from them, but have never responded to any of them. . .
until now.

It seems to me that the majority of individuals who have responded to this
particular thought provoker are NOT opposed to the use of truncated domes
and accessible pedestrian signals. Nor am I - for all of the reasons that
have already been stated. Sometimes I find them to my advantage, sometimes
not. But I certainly don't seem them as a universal disadvantage and I
CERTAINLY (and that word needs to be emphasized) don't see them as the
factor that determines what sighted folks will think of me or of people who
are blind or visually impaired in general. No, it's our actions and
behaviors with others that determine that!

Sp that leaves me with one important question. If so many people who are
blind or visually impaired actively want or at least do not object to these
environmental access features, how and why does the NFB in good conscience
actively oppose them? Does this organization not care about or represent
the majority of people that it claims to represent? By the way, I am not an
active member of any blindness organization.”

Cindy (USA)

FROM ME: “Those of us who are active in or are at least aware of the two largest consumer groups within the USA know of the differing views they have on this issue. what we have heard thus far from or about the NFB (National Federation of the Blind) or from the ACB (American Counsel of the Blind) has been from its members and not an official statement from the organizations themselves. I am aware there are written statement of their reasoning available out there on the WWW if you look for them. As for the sampling we’ve gotten thus far on this issue here in THOUGHT PROVOKER, it would be difficult to know exactly how accurately it reflects the over all blind community, other than to put before us much of the feeling that are out there.)

**58. “In our relatively small community of Walla Walla, Washington, we woke up
one day to the sound of construction crews and discovered that our town was
in the throws of updating our intersections with curb cuts and new,
computerized signals. Many of the old, familiar signals with the gears
that click as the light changes were being replaced by signals with
computerized mechanisms that depend on the flow of traffic rather than a
fixed interval for the green light. If one car is waiting at an
intersection, the light changes for the time it takes that car to clear the
intersection. For those of us who depend on traffic flow to judge the
light cycle, we find ourselves in the middle of the intersection when the
light changes against us. On quieter days when traffic is more sparse, the
cycle changes so that cars seldom have to stop. This means that it is now
impossible at times to judge the beginning of a walk phase. Rather than an
80 second cycle at a given intersection, it is now a 60 second cycle so
that there is less time overall for pedestrians to cross at best.

Ours is an older community and it was not possible, they tell us, to be
consistent about placement of the pedestrian buttons. This makes them very
hard to locate. The advantage to using them is that they then generate a
longer pedestrian phase.

After crossing at an intersection of two major streets on a daily basis for
several months, I learned that I had been crossing without the walk sign
illuminated. There was a left turn lane with a turning phase before the
walk phase. I had been pushing what I thought was the walk button and
going with the near traffic when, one day, a friend stopped her car and
caught up with me. She said, "did you know that you have been crossing
when there is no walk sign illuminated?" I then went with sighted
assistance and discovered that I had been pressing the wrong button all
those times. I would have known that if there had been an accessible
signal on that corner.

We did have one accessible signal placed in our town at my request. I
thought my request had been turned down, as I heard no more about it until
I heard the birds chirping one day as I waited to cross after pushing the
button. I will admit that, at first, I was very distracted by the sound
and it took a few crossings before I could feel comfortable about the new
volley of information coming to me. Now, though, I relish that
intersection. It is not a particularly difficult one, but I always know if
I will have enough time to cross. Now, the birds chirping do not distract
me at all from hearing the traffic sounds. When I cross the busier street
there, I don't have to wait through a few lights to know if the signal has
changed in my favor when traffic is light on the parallel street. If I
approach the intersection and press the button, it signals if there is
still enough time to cross. I don't have to wait for the new cycle. Just
like a sighted person, I know when the walk sign is illuminated.

Cars are not only becoming quieter, they are becoming silent. Some make no
noise except for the tires on the pavement and they get 70 miles to the
gallon of gas, as I understand it. With traffic lights becoming more
difficult to judge, drivers becoming more aggressive, and cars becoming
quiet, it is not a question of accessible signals or not, the question is
what type would work best. If we don't pull together on this one, we will
all lose our travel independence.”

Joleen Ferguson (Walla Walla, Washington USA)

**59. “I think it is pointless to argue over whether or not audible signals and
truncated domes make blind/vi people look incompetent or not. I
haven't had experience with audible traffic signals or truncated domes. I
would love to have experience with both of these travel aids. I haven't
had a lot of O&M training although I have been blind since three months
of age. I didn't receive a lot of O&M instruction in my K-12 education I
went to public school and have paid for it in college. My family or the
VR agency has paid for O&M training for me since I have been in college to
pay for an O&M instructor to work with me to get oriented to the
campus I have been to three colleges. I have thought of getting a guide
dog but they are way to much responsibility for me to handle.
I get lost often outside on my routes. The littlest things confuse me
like partitions up in a building where my classes are.

I live in a rural small town where there aren't even stop lights. I was
raised in the same type of environment. I didn't get experience with stop
lights until my senior year or high school.

I agree maybe the audible traffic signals should be tactile somehow or
vibrating so they could help people who are blind/vi who have hearing

Hope this makes sense.”

Lisa (Iowa USA)

**60. “If I were to add my comment on this matter, I would like to say that audio

traffic signal is useful only when we can make sure that it really
corresponds with the traffic flow. Often, it is not true at all,
especially here in Bangkok. If safety is really our main concern beyond
our ability to detect from the traffic flow, I don't think anything, we
have nowadays, would be better than the sky bridge. And both sighted and
blind people could use the sky bridge without any negative image upon
either side.”

Thian (Bangkok, Tyland)

**61. "Although I don't necessarily consider myself a good street crosser, I wouldn't want to depend on audible traffic signals either because they won't prevent
traffic from coming if a pedestrian wants to ignore the signals. I would rather listen to parallel traffic.”

Mary Jo Partyka

**62. I thought at first I would refrain from responding but I really can't resist. I am not a member of either the American Council of the Blind (ACB), or the
National Federation of the Blind (NFB.) However, it seems to me that a lot of the blindness community is relatively divided on the issue of accessible
pedestrian signals and truncated domes. I think these two things are crucial for safety reasons.
I have never seen nor heard an APS here in the United States, but when my mother and I were in London, England visiting a sister of mine several years ago,
we saw several APS's and we were very intrigued by them. I agree wholeheartedly with the person who said that APS's are useful not only for the blind,
but also people who are cognitively challenged, people with physical and or depth-perception limitations, and the list goes on.
I have on the other hand felt many truncated domes. As a matter of fact my brother, who also is blind, fell off a train platform at a downtown Chicago train
station that didn't have truncated domes. And yes he is okay now, for those of you who are concerned. I can't believe that these are opposed by people
who are themselves either partially sighted or totally blind. As I have said in other Thought Provokers and as I will continue to say, the main factor
to consider here is not whether or not we will be thought of as less human, but the factor to consider here is pure and simple: safety. After all, if non-challenged
people have the right to be safe and secure, then why can't we?
Now that I have inflicted yet more of my opinionated self upon everyone, I will shut up and go have some lunch.

Jake Joehl, Chicago Illinois