Auditory traffic signals in city to cater to visually impaired people
By M Sathish and Jayanthi Pawar | Express News Service | Published: 04th August 2017 08:13 AM |
CHENNAI: Coming to the aid of the visually-impaired, for who crossing busy intersections is a constant worry, Chennai traffic police has installed auditory traffic signals to make city roads differently-abled friendly.
At 10 crowded locations across the city, including Secretariat, Dr Besant Memorial and Ramapuram, these signals make an announcement when the zebra crossing is open and closed for pedestrians so that the visually-impaired can cross the road without risking their lives.
“This aims to make the roads differently-abled friendly,” a senior police officer in the traffic wing told Express, adding that efforts were on to install 150 such auditory traffic signals in Chennai.
The project is undertaken along with the State differently-abled welfare department, which has provided `75 lakh for implementation, the officer said.
The system consists of a yellow box fixed to a traffic signal that announces ‘zebra crossing is open’ when the light turns red for vehicles. The speaker then announces a countdown from 10, at the end of which comes the announcement that the ‘zebra crossing is closed’ before the signal turns green.
Since it was installed about 10 days ago, the response from the public has been good, said a traffic personnel stationed at Vivekanandar House on Kamarajar Salai. The auditory signal is useful particularly during the morning and evening peak hours and during weekends, he said, noting how this helps the differently-abled who would otherwise have to wait for someone to come forward to help them cross the road.
Interestingly, beyond helping the visually-impaired, the new system has an impact even on others, said the official. “Most people disregard the green signal for vehicles and tend to cross the road. But when this announcement is made, they make an effort to wait and obey the rules,” added the traffic police personnel.
Stressing how important it is for vehicle users to obey signals, he said: “Or else this facility will be of no use despite it being a good initiative.”
R Sujatha, a visually-impaired person who has always hesitated to go to the beach because of difficulties in crossing the road, is pleased with this apparatus.
“This will at least help differently-abled people to overcome the fear of crossing busy roads. But these facilities should not be an eye wash,” she said.