|September 20, 2002|
I would find audible signals extremely helpful at busy, major street crossings. They would not tell me when it is safe to cross, since only my good judgement can do that. But they would tell me exactly when the light changed to my favor and when it changed back again. This knowledge is important because if it is automatic, then I can concentrate on the more important information I need to be gathering, such as that concerning moving vehicles, and my safety.
Such audible signals should not be very loud. I would prefer a clicking sound to a pitched tone such as a bell. Pitched sounds interfere more with other sounds that a person is listening for. Not every intersection needs a signal, but those which are busy and major would be helpful. Also, those which are frequently used but may not be quite as busy. Crossings near schools would also be good places for such signals.
Sighted persons would also benefit from such signals when the sun is shining brightly. So would the elderly person benefit whose sight is beginning to fail. Some mentally retarded persons would also be helped because having sound as well as color to tell them when to cross would be helpful to some.
I don't know that all crossings should be covered, but consideration should be given to those which are specifically requested by persons living in a given neighborhood. Busy downtown streets should be automatically outfitted with audible signals.
Thank you for listening.
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