Chapter 4E. Pedestrian Control Features
Section 4E.01 Pedestrian
Pedestrian signal heads provide special types of traffic signal
indications exclusively intended for controlling pedestrian traffic.
These signal indications consist of the illuminated symbols of a
WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) and an UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing
Engineering judgment should determine the need for separate pedestrian
signal heads (see Section 4D.03)
and accessible pedestrian signals (see Section
Section 4E.02 Meaning
of Pedestrian Signal Head Indications
Pedestrian signal head indications shall have the following meanings:
- A steady WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication
means that a pedestrian facing the signal indication is permitted
to start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal
indication, possibly in conflict with turning vehicles. The
pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully
within the intersection at the time that the WALKING PERSON
(symbolizing WALK) signal indication is first shown.
- A flashing UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication
means that a pedestrian shall not start to cross the roadway
in the direction of the signal indication, but that any pedestrian
who has already started to cross on a steady WALKING PERSON
(symbolizing WALK) signal indication shall proceed out of the
- A steady UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication
means that a pedestrian shall not enter the roadway in the direction
of the signal indication.
- A flashing WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication
has no meaning and shall not be used.
Section 4E.03 Application
of Pedestrian Signal Heads
Pedestrian signal heads shall be used in conjunction with vehicular
traffic control signals under any of the following conditions:
- If a traffic control signal is justified by an engineering
study and meets either Warrant 4, Pedestrian Volume or Warrant
5, School Crossing (see Chapter 4C);
- If an exclusive signal phase is provided or made available
for pedestrian movements in one or more directions, with all
conflicting vehicular movements being stopped; or
- At an established school crossing at any signalized location.
- Where engineering judgment determines that multiphase signal
indications (as with split-phase timing) would tend to confuse
or cause conflicts with pedestrians using a crosswalk guided
only by vehicular signal indications.
Pedestrian signal heads should be used under any of the following
- If it is necessary to assist pedestrians in making a reasonably
safe crossing or if engineering judgment determines that pedestrian
signal heads are justified to minimize vehicle-pedestrian conflicts;
- If pedestrians are permitted to cross a portion of a street,
such as to or from a median of sufficient width for pedestrians
to wait, during a particular interval but are not permitted to
cross the remainder of the street during any part of the same
- If no vehicular signal indications are visible to pedestrians,
or if the vehicular signal indications that are visible to pedestrians
starting or continuing a crossing provide insufficient guidance
for them to decide when it is reasonably safe to cross, such as
on one-way streets, at T-intersections, or at multiphase signal
Section 4E.04 Size,
Design, and Illumination of Pedestrian Signal Head Indications
All new pedestrian signal head indications shall be displayed within
a rectangular background and shall consist of symbolized messages
(see Figure 4E-1), except that existing pedestrian signal head indications
with lettered or outline style symbol messages may be retained for
the remainder of their useful service life. The symbol designs that
are set forth in the "Standard Highway Signs" book shall
be used. Each pedestrian signal head indication shall be independently
illuminated and emit a single color.
4E-1 Typical Pedestrian Signal Indications
The UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal
section shall be mounted directly above or integral with the WALKING
PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal section.
The WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication
shall be white, conforming to the publication entitled "Pedestrian
Traffic Control Signal Indications" (see Section
1A.11), with all except the symbol obscured by an opaque material.
The UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal
indication shall be Portland orange, conforming to the publication
entitled "Pedestrian Traffic Control Signal Indications"
(see Section 1A.11), with all except the symbol obscured by an opaque
When not illuminated, the WALKING PERSON (symbolizing
WALK) and UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) symbols shall not
be readily visible to pedestrians at the far end of the crosswalk
that the pedestrian signal head indications control.
For pedestrian signal head indications, the symbols
shall be at least 150 mm (6 in) high.
The light source of a flashing UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing
DONT WALK) signal indication shall be flashed continuously at a
rate of not less than 50 nor more than 60 times per minute. The
illuminated period of each flash shall be not less than half and
not more than two-thirds of the total flash cycle.
Pedestrian signal head indications should be conspicuous and recognizable
to pedestrians at all distances from the beginning of the controlled
crosswalk to a point 3 m (10 ft) from the end of the controlled
crosswalk during both day and night.
For crosswalks where the pedestrian enters the
crosswalk more than 30 m (100 ft) from the pedestrian signal head
indications, the symbols should be at least 225 mm (9 in) high.
An animated eyes symbol may be added to a pedestrian signal head
in order to prompt pedestrians to look for vehicles in the intersection
during the time that the WALK signal indication is displayed.
If used, the animated eyes symbol shall consist of an outline of
a pair of white steadily-illuminated eyes with white eyeballs that
scan from side to side at a rate of approximately once per second.
The animated eyes symbol shall be at least 300 mm (12 in) wide with
each eye having a width of at least 125 mm (5 in) and a height of
at least 62 mm (2.5 in). The animated eyes symbol shall be illuminated
at the start of the walk interval and shall terminate at the end
of the walk interval.
Section 4E.05 Location
and Height of Pedestrian Signal Heads
Pedestrian signal heads shall be mounted with the bottom of the
signal housing including brackets not less than 2.1 m (7 ft) nor
more than 3 m (10 ft) above sidewalk level, and shall be positioned
and adjusted to provide maximum visibility at the beginning of the
If pedestrian signal heads are mounted on the
same support as vehicular signal heads, there shall be a physical
separation between them.
Section 4E.06 Accessible
The primary technique that pedestrians who have visual disabilities
use to cross streets at signalized locations is to initiate their
crossing when they hear the traffic in front of them stop and the
traffic alongside them begin to move, corresponding to the onset
of the green interval. This technique is effective at many signalized
locations. The existing environment is often sufficient to provide
the information that pedestrians who have visual disabilities need
to operate reasonably safely at a signalized location. Therefore,
many signalized locations will not require any accessible pedestrian
If a particular signalized location presents difficulties for pedestrians
who have visual disabilities to cross reasonably safely and effectively,
an engineering study should be conducted that considers the safety
and effectiveness for pedestrians in general, as well as the information
needs of pedestrians with visual disabilities.
The factors that might make crossing at a signalized location difficult
for pedestrians who have visual disabilities include: increasingly
quiet cars, right turn on red (which masks the beginning of the
through phase), continuous right-turn movements, complex signal
operations, traffic circles, and wide streets. Further, low traffic
volumes might make it difficult for pedestrians who have visual
disabilities to discern signal phase changes.
Local organizations, providing support services
to pedestrians who have visual and/or hearing disabilities, can
often act as important advisors to the traffic engineer when consideration
is being given to the installation of devices to assist such pedestrians.
Additionally, orientation and mobility specialists or similar staff
also might be able to provide a wide range of advice. The U.S. Access
Board’s Document A-37, “Accessible Pedestrian Signals,”
provides various techniques for making pedestrian signal information
available to persons with visual disabilities (see Addresses
for the address for the U.S. Access Board).
Accessible pedestrian signals provide information
in nonvisual format (such as audible tones, verbal messages, and/or
Information regarding detectors for accessible
pedestrian signals is found in Section 4E.09.
When used, accessible pedestrian signals shall be used in combination
with pedestrian signal timing. The information provided by an accessible
pedestrian signal shall clearly indicate which pedestrian crossing
is served by each device.
Under stop-and-go operation, accessible pedestrian
signals shall not be limited in operation by the time of day or
day of week.
The installation of accessible pedestrian signals at signalized
locations should be based on an engineering study, which should
consider the following factors:
- Potential demand for accessible pedestrian signals;
- A request for accessible pedestrian signals;
- Traffic volumes during times when pedestrians might be present,
including periods of low traffic volumes or high turn-on-red volumes;
- The complexity of traffic signal phasing; and
- The complexity of intersection geometry.
Technology that provides different sounds for each nonconcurrent
signal phase has frequently been found to provide ambiguous information.
When choosing audible tones, possible extraneous sources of sounds
(such as wind, rain, vehicle back-up warnings, or birds) shall be
considered in order to eliminate potential confusion to pedestrians
who have visual disabilities.
Audible pedestrian tones should be carefully selected to avoid misleading
pedestrians who have visual disabilities when the following conditions
- Where there is an island that allows unsignalized right turns
across a crosswalk between the island and the sidewalk.
- Where multileg approaches or complex signal phasing require
more than two pedestrian phases, such that it might be unclear
which crosswalk is served by each audible tone.
- At intersections where a diagonal pedestrian crossing is allowed,
or where one street receives a WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK)
signal indication simultaneously with another street.
When accessible pedestrian signals have an audible tone(s), they
shall have a tone for the walk interval. The audible tone(s) shall
be audible from the beginning of the associated crosswalk. If the
tone for the walk interval is similar to the pushbutton locator
tone, the walk interval tone shall have a faster repetition rate
than the associated pushbutton locator tone.
A pushbutton locator tone is a repeating sound that informs approaching
pedestrians that they are required to push a button to actuate pedestrian
timing, and that enables visually impaired pedestrians to locate
the pushbutton (see Section 4E.09).
The accessible walk signal tone should be no louder than the locator
tone, except when there is optional activation to provide a louder
signal tone for a single pedestrian phase.
Automatic volume adjustment in response to ambient
traffic sound level should be provided up to a maximum volume of
89 dBA. Where automatic volume adjustment is used, tones should
be no more than 5 dBA louder than ambient sound. The A-weighted
sound pressure level should conform to the requirements of “ISO
1996-1:1982” and “ISO 1996-2:1987” (see Addresses
for the address for the International Organization for Standards).
When verbal messages are used to communicate the pedestrian interval,
they shall provide a clear message that the walk interval is in
effect, as well as to which crossing it applies.
The verbal message that is provided at regular
intervals throughout the timing of the walk interval shall be the
term "walk sign," which may be followed by the name of
the street to be crossed.
A verbal message is not required at times when
the walk interval is not timing, but, if provided:
- It shall be the term "wait."
- It need not be repeated for the entire time that the walk
interval is not timing.
Accessible pedestrian signals that provide verbal messages may provide
similar messages in languages other than English, if needed, except
for the terms "walk sign" and "wait."
A vibrotactile pedestrian device communicates information about
pedestrian timing through a vibrating surface by touch.
Vibrotactile pedestrian devices, where used, shall indicate that
the walk interval is in effect, and for which direction it applies,
through the use of a vibrating directional arrow or some other means.
When provided, vibrotactile pedestrian devices should be located
next to, and on the same pole as, the pedestrian pushbutton, if
any, and adjacent to the intended crosswalk.
Section 4E.07 Countdown
A pedestrian interval countdown display may be added to a pedestrian
signal head in order to inform pedestrians of the number of seconds
remaining in the pedestrian change interval.
If used, countdown pedestrian signals shall consist of Portland
orange numbers that are at least 150 mm (6 in) in height on a black
opaque background. The countdown pedestrian signal shall be located
immediately adjacent to the associated UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing
DONT WALK) pedestrian signal head indication.
If used, the display of the number of remaining
seconds shall begin only at the beginning of the pedestrian change
interval. After the countdown displays zero, the display shall remain
dark until the beginning of the next countdown.
If used, the countdown pedestrian signal shall
display the number of seconds remaining until the termination of
the pedestrian change interval. Countdown displays shall not be
used during the walk interval nor during the yellow change interval
of a concurrent vehicular phase.
If used with a pedestrian signal head that does not have a concurrent
vehicular phase, the pedestrian change interval (flashing UPRAISED
HAND) should be set to be approximately 4 seconds less than the
required pedestrian crossing time (see Section
4E.10) and an additional clearance interval (during which steady
UPRAISED HAND is displayed) should be provided prior to the start
of the conflicting vehicular phase. In this case, the countdown
display of the number of remaining seconds should be displayed only
during the display of the flashing UPRAISED HAND, should display
zero at the time when the flashing UPRAISED HAND changes to steady
UPRAISED HAND, and should be dark during the additional clearance
interval prior to the conflicting vehicular phase.
For crosswalks where the pedestrian enters the
crosswalk more than 30 m (100 ft) from the countdown pedestrian
signal display, the numbers should be at least 225 mm (9 in) in
Because some technology includes the countdown
pedestrian signal logic in a separate timing device that is independent
of the timing in the traffic signal controller, care should be excercised
by the engineer when timing changes are made to pedestrian change
If the pedestrian change interval is interrupted
or shortened as a part of a transition into a preemption sequence
(see Section 4E.10), the countdown pedestrian
signal display should be discontinued and go dark immediately upon
activation of the preemption transition.
Section 4E.08 Pedestrian
When pedestrian actuation is used, pedestrian pushbutton detectors
should be capable of easy activation and conveniently located near
each end of the crosswalks.
Signs (see Section 2B.44)
shall be mounted adjacent to or integral with pedestrian pushbutton
detectors, explaining their purpose and use.
At certain locations, a sign in a more visible location may be used
to call attention to the pedestrian detector.
If two crosswalks, oriented in different directions, end at or near
the same location, the positioning of pedestrian detectors and/or
the legends on the pedestrian detector signs should clearly indicate
which crosswalk signal is actuated by each pedestrian detector.
If the pedestrian clearance time is sufficient only to cross from
the curb or shoulder to a median of sufficient width for pedestrians
to wait and the signals are pedestrian actuated, an additional pedestrian
detector shall be provided in the median.
The use of additional pedestrian detectors on islands or medians
where a pedestrian might become stranded should be considered.
A mounting height of approximately 1.1 m (3.5
ft) above the sidewalk should be used for pedestrian pushbutton
If used, special purpose pushbuttons (to be operated
only by authorized persons) should include a housing capable of
being locked to prevent access by the general public and do not
need an instructional sign.
If used, a pilot light or other means of indication installed with
a pedestrian pushbutton shall not be illuminated until actuation.
Once it is actuated, it shall remain illuminated until the pedestrian’s
green or WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication is
At signalized locations with a demonstrated need and subject to
equipment capabilities, pedestrians with special needs may be provided
with additional crossing time by means of an extended pushbutton
Section 4E.09 Accessible
Pedestrian Signal Detectors
An accessible pedestrian signal detector shall be defined as a device
designated to assist the pedestrian who has visual or physical disabilities
in activating the pedestrian phase.
At accessible pedestrian signal locations with
pedestrian actuation, each pushbutton shall activate both the walk
interval and the accessible pedestrian signals.
Accessible pedestrian signal detectors may be pushbuttons or passive
Pushbutton locator tones may be used with accessible
At accessible pedestrian signal locations, pushbuttons should clearly
indicate which crosswalk signal is actuated by each pushbutton.
Pushbuttons and tactile arrows should have high visual contrast
as described in the "Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility
Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)" (see Section
1A.11). Tactile arrows should point in the same direction as
the associated crosswalk. At corners of signalized locations with
accessible pedestrian signals where two pedestrian pushbuttons are
provided, the pushbuttons should be separated by a distance of at
least 3 m (10 ft). This enables pedestrians who have visual disabilities
to distinguish and locate the appropriate pushbutton.
Pushbuttons for accessible pedestrian signals
should be located (see Figure 4E-2) as follows:
- Adjacent to a level all-weather surface to provide access from
a wheelchair, and where there is an all-weather surface, wheelchair
accessible route to the ramp;
- Within 1.5 m (5 ft) of the crosswalk extended;
- Within 3 m (10 ft) of the edge of the curb, shoulder, or pavement;
- Parallel to the crosswalk to be used.
4E-2 Recommended Pushbutton Locations for Accessible Pedestrian
If the pedestrian clearance time is sufficient
only to cross from the curb or shoulder to a median of sufficient
width for pedestrians to wait and accessible pedestrian detectors
are used, an additional accessible pedestrian detector should be
provided in the median.
When used, pushbutton locator tones shall be easily locatable, shall
have a duration of 0.15 seconds or less, and shall repeat at 1-second
Pushbuttons should be audibly locatable. Pushbutton locator tones
should be intensity responsive to ambient sound, and be audible
1.8 to 3.7 m (6 to 12 ft) from the pushbutton, or to the building
line, whichever is less. Pushbutton locator tones should be no more
than 5 dBA louder than ambient sound.
Pushbutton locator tones should be deactivated
during flashing operation of the traffic control signal.
At locations with pretimed traffic control signals or nonactuated
approaches, pedestrian pushbuttons may be used to activate the accessible
The audible tone(s) may be made louder (up to a
maximum of 89 dBA) by holding down the pushbutton for a minimum
of 3 seconds. The louder audible tone(s) may also alternate back
and forth across the crosswalk, thus providing optimal directional
The name of the street to be crossed may also be
provided in accessible format, such as Braille or raised print.
Section 4E.10 Pedestrian
Intervals and Signal Phases
When pedestrian signal heads are used, a WALKING PERSON (symbolizing
WALK) signal indication shall be displayed only when pedestrians
are permitted to leave the curb or shoulder.
A pedestrian clearance time shall begin immediately
following the WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication.
The first portion of the pedestrian clearance time shall consist
of a pedestrian change interval during which a flashing UPRAISED
HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication shall be displayed.
The remaining portions shall consist of the yellow change interval
and any red clearance interval (prior to a conflicting green being
displayed), during which a flashing or steady UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing
DONT WALK) signal indication shall be displayed.
If countdown pedestrian signals are used, a steady
UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication shall be
displayed during the yellow change interval and any red clearance
interval (prior to a conflicting green being displayed) (see Section
At intersections equipped with pedestrian signal
heads, the pedestrian signal indications shall be displayed except
when the vehicular traffic control signal is being operated in the
flashing mode. At those times, the pedestrian signal lenses shall
not be illuminated.
Except as noted in the Option, the walk interval should be at least
7 seconds in length so that pedestrians will have adequate opportunity
to leave the curb or shoulder before the pedestrian clearance time
If pedestrian volumes and characteristics do not require a 7-second
walk interval, walk intervals as short as 4 seconds may be used.
The walk interval itself need not equal or exceed the pedestrian
clearance time calculated for the roadway width, because many pedestrians
will complete their crossing during the pedestrian clearance time.
The pedestrian clearance time should be sufficient to allow
a pedestrian crossing in the crosswalk who left the curb or shoulder
during the WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) signal indication to
travel at a walking speed of 1.2 m (4 ft) per second, to at least
the far side of the traveled way or to a median of sufficient width
for pedestrians to wait. Where pedestrians who walk slower than
1.2 m (4 ft) per second, or pedestrians who use wheelchairs, routinely
use the crosswalk, a walking speed of less than 1.2 m (4 ft) per
second should be considered in determining the pedestrian clearance
Passive pedestrian detection equipment, which can detect pedestrians
who need more time to complete their crossing and can extend the
length of the pedestrian clearance time for that particular cycle,
may be used in order to avoid using a lower walking speed to determine
the pedestrian clearance time.
Where the pedestrian clearance time is sufficient only for crossing
from the curb or shoulder to a median of sufficient width for pedestrians
to wait, additional measures should be considered, such as median-mounted
pedestrian signals or additional signing.
The pedestrian clearance time may be entirely contained within the
vehicular green interval, or may be entirely contained within the
vehicular green and yellow change intervals.
On a street with a median of sufficient width for
pedestrians to wait, a pedestrian clearance time that allows the
pedestrian to cross only from the curb or shoulder to the median
may be provided.
During the transition into preemption, the walk
interval and the pedestrian change interval may be shortened or
omitted as described in Section
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