With the ever-increasing construction repair to sidewalks and crosswalks, navigating alternate routes can be challenging and dangerous, especially for the visually impaired. The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) partnered with FHWA to sponsor the first-ever Pedestrian Accommodation and Delineation Devices Demonstration. This event, held at FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Research Highway Center on Sept. 22, 2004, focused on the needs of the visually impaired pedestrians. New language in the 2003 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Section 6F.66 Longitudinal Channelizing Barricades states: “If used, longitudinal barricades should be interlocked to delineate or channelize flow including pedestrian traffic control.” The longitudinal channelizing barricades can be used in lieu of cones or drums or barricades. For the visually impaired, this is crucial for the ability to safely navigate the work zone.
Nineteen devices were displayed by 11 ATSSA-member companies which were evaluated by members of the visually impaired community. Sample work zones were set up and people with visual disabilities walked through the work zones and provided an immediate assessment on the effectiveness of the products. Essential feedback was obtained which ATSSA members and FHWA staff found invaluable for further development.
In addition to the feedback provided to the device manufacturers, the information gathered at the event is being used to assist in developing rulemaking for the Access Board’s Guidelines for Accessible Rights-of-Way and changes to the MUTCD, similar to 6F.66.