July 26, 2019

Mayor Lightfoot Announces a Major Increase in Accessible Pedestrian Signals at Intersections Across Chicago

Up to 100 intersections will get new traffic signals that aid persons with blindness or low-vision in the next two years through efforts of CDOT and Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced today that Chicago will be adding up to 100 new Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) at locations across the city in the next two years as a result of a new policy developed through a partnership between the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). APS communicates information about the WALK and DON’T WALK intervals at signalized intersections in non-visual formats (i.e., audible tones and vibrotactile surfaces) to pedestrians who are blind or have low vision.

“Chicago’s mission is to be the most inclusive and accessible city in the nation, and that means building a transportation system that fully serves every resident,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “I commend the collaborative efforts of CDOT and MOPD as they significantly increase the number of Accessible Pedestrian Signals across our city, enabling both residents and visitors with visual disabilities to live more freely and safely throughout Chicago.”

Mayor Lightfoot made the announcement on the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the new policy announced by the mayor, CDOT will be incorporating APS signals into all new traffic signal installations, roadway reconstruction projects and signal modernization projects. In order to optimize the benefits of the new policy, CDOT and MOPD are working on a federally-funded pilot project to develop best practices for the design and installation of APS signals. Through the pilot project, CDOT will install APS at up to 50 intersections over the next two years at intersections identified with direct input from stakeholders in the visually impaired community.

In selecting locations, six categories of intersections were studied for how to optimize the design and installation of APS in a variety of environments.  Those categories are: the Central Business District; residential/commercial locations; institutional locations; six-legged intersections; university campuses; and locations suggested by stakeholders.  

Approximately 50 additional installations of APS will occur via upcoming roadway, signal modernization and new traffic signal projects over the next two years.

“Accessible Pedestrian Signals are important to the safe navigation of the City by Chicago’s blind and low vision community,” said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley. “This pilot project demonstrates Chicago’s commitment to delivering increased accessibility of our streets and sidewalks for all people who live in, work or visit Chicago.” 

“CDOT is pleased to be partnering with MOPD to incorporate APS technology into new construction projects moving forward,” Acting CDOT Commissioner Tom Carney said. “This initiative is aligned with our overall mission to improve pedestrian safety throughout the city.”

Over the next year, as part of a project to install interconnected traffic signals, CDOT will be installing APS at these locations: on Roosevelt Road at Wood, Loomis, Blue Island and Morgan; and on Hyde Park Boulevard at 57th Street, Cornell Drive and 57th Street and Stony Island Avenue and 69th Street. In addition, CDOT is including APS signals at intersections on Ashland from Harrison to Washington as part of a Traffic Signal Modernization project. 

For more information, and to submit public comment, about the APS pilot project and to submit feedback to the city, go to: TinyURL.com/ChicagoAPS.

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