Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Audible Countdown Information
Resolution 2016-17
Whereas, discussion on the orientation and mobility listserv of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI) has suggested AERBVI, as guided by its Orientation and Mobility Division, should take a position opposing audible countdowns on accessible pedestrian signals, and that comments to this effect should be submitted with regard to further revisions of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD); and
Whereas, the research leading to the findings discussed on the AERBVI orientation and mobility listserv involved a rather small sample, and should not be considered definitive; and
Whereas, elimination of the audible countdown feature would have the impact of denying information to blind and visually impaired pedestrians which is readily available to sighted pedestrians; and
Whereas, allegations that the audible countdown creates distractions for the pedestrian are outweighed by the beneficial information provided to blind and visually impaired pedestrians, which can assist in avoiding veers, and in providing other useful orientation information; and
Whereas, claims of lack of synchronization between the audible countdown and the visual display can be resolved through adjustments to signal performance by local traffic engineers;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, that this organization believes there is a need for additional research concerning best practices in the design and utilization of audible countdown features; and
Be it further resolved, however, that, in the absence of additional credible research to the contrary, ACB is supportive of the provision of audible countdown information, and encourages  that research focused on this subject be directed toward determining the most effective ways to efficiently convey countdown information, rather than whether audible countdown should be eliminated; and
Be it further resolved that this organization shall request that an orientation and mobility professional having access to the AERBVI Orientation Listserv post a copy of this resolution to that venue.
Ray Campbell, Secretary