Did You Know…? Accessible Pedestrian Signals

Did you know that pedestrian signals (such as those at Carlton and Parliament streets), are accessible and make different noises when being located, indicating direction of travel and if the button has been held for different lengths of time?

Frequently Asked Questions About Accessible Pedestrian Signals


A new traffic signal for the blind and visually impaired has been installed close to my house. It is very difficult for me to sleep at night because of the incessant sound that comes from this signal. Is there any way of reducing this sound so that I get a good night’s rest?

When the APS device is actuated, the pushbutton vibrates and a “cuckoo” sound is emitted from the pushbutton to advise visually impaired (and other) pedestrians that they have the right-of-way to cross in the north-south direction; a “chirp-chirp” sound is emitted from the corresponding pushbutton for the east-west direction.

To minimize noise pollution when the APS is not required, the APS sounds are only provided when a pedestrian holds onto the pushbutton for at least three seconds. In order for blind or visually impaired pedestrians to find the pushbutton, a continuous tone, called a “locator tone”, is emitted from the pushbutton devices. The locator tone is a constant low volume “boop-boop-boop” sound that is heard only in the vicinity of the push-button devices. The APS sounds and locator tones automatically adjust to the ambient sound levels. Therefore, during peak traffic conditions, they may sound louder; overnight they drop to their lowest volume level. Occasionally a pushbutton may become “stuck” which may cause the “cuckoo” and/or “chirp-chirp” sounds to come on every cycle. If you notice that the APS devices are not adjusting to the ambient sound levels or a pushbutton is “stuck”, you can call 311, a crew will be dispatched to correct the problem.

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