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87/234 Traffic light pedestrian crossing buttons (2), ATPD, 'Audio -Tactile Pedestrian Detector', metal / plastic, made by K J Aldridge Automatic Systems Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1976-1987. Click to enlarge.

Traffic light pedestrian crossing buttons

Designed
The ATPD, 'Audio -Tactile Pedestrian Detector', for pedestrian crossings at traffic lights is an example of an Australian innovation. The device was developed in response to social pressure from 1967 through to the 1980s. The initial request came from a member of the public for the Department of Main Roads (DMR) to solve a social problem by developing a safe indicating system for vision and hearing impaired pedestrians to cross the road safely at traffic lights. The resulting public lobbying …

Summary

Object No.

87/234

Object Statement

Traffic light pedestrian crossing buttons (2), ATPD, 'Audio -Tactile Pedestrian Detector', metal / plastic, made by K J Aldridge Automatic Systems Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1976-1987

Physical Description

Traffic light pedestrian crossing buttons (2), ATPD, 'Audio -Tactile Pedestrian Detector', metal / plastic, made by K J Aldridge Automatic Systems Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1976-1987

Production

Notes

Designed and manufactured by:
Louis A. Challis and Associates Pty Ltd : audio-tactile R&D for RTA (1975-76)
Aldridge Traffic Systems : manufacture
Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW (RTA) : coordination
Nielsen Design Associates : industrial design (early 1980s)
AWA Limited : manufacture

Key People
Frank Hulscher : RTA traffic engineer
David Wood : designer at Nielsen Design
Louis Challis : engineer

History

Notes

In 1967 a blind man named Cecil McIlwraith asked the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) to introduce pedestrian traffic signals he could hear. At a city crossing, the RTA installed some bells and buzzers on both sides.

Blind pedestrians were meant to cross when the buzzing sound replaced the ringing. Unfortunately they found that when the bells broke down they sounded like buzzers, which could cause deadly confusion in blind pedestrians.

The next version, installed in 1976, had a two-rhythm buzzer and included a vibrating panel to touch, because many vision-impaired people also have some loss of hearing.

In the early 1980s Sydney consultants Nielsen Design Associates were asked to redesign the device. The new unit was made from cast aluminium with vandal-proof fixings. The large magnetic button (tested to withstand millions of pushes) is easy to find and push. A Braille arrow on the vibrating plate indicates the direction to cross.

The RTA still owns the design and technology of this revolutionary button. Since 1985 it has contracted three companies to make the 'Audio-Tactile Pedestrian Detector' in Australia and sell them throughout Australia, the USA and Singapore.

The ATPD pedestrian button leads the international standards for acoustic and tactile signals for traffic lights. The audio-tactile pedestrian detector has given pedestrians with vision, hearing and physical impairments greater confidence and freedom to move about independently.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Aldridge Traffic Systems, 1987

Acquisition Date

4 March 1987

Cite this Object

Harvard

Traffic light pedestrian crossing buttons 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <https://ma.as/74446>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/74446 |title=Traffic light pedestrian crossing buttons |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}