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How audible tones are helping make intersections safer in Winnipeg

All signalized intersections expected to have Accessible Pedestrian Signals by end of 2020

June 16, 2020

close-up of an accessible pedestrian signal

Four distinct sounds are helping make signalized intersections safer for all pedestrians. Accessible Pedestrian Signals communicates pedestrian timing information using non-visual, audible tones.

The City of Winnipeg is in the process of installing the devices at every one of the more than 670 signalized intersections. It looks like the project will wrap up work sooner than expected.

“The goal was to have 100% of the signals installed by the end of 2021 but we are a full year ahead of schedule and expect to be completed by the end of this year,” said Michael Price, the City’s Traffic Signals Engineer.

When pedestrians approach a signalized intersection, they will hear one of four typical audible tones, depending on the signalized intersection:

  • "Coo Coo" – heard when the "WALK” light is on, typically for north-south pedestrian crossing directions
  • "Chirp Chirp" – heard when the "WALK" light is on, typically for east-west pedestrian crossing directions
  • "Tick Tick"  - this is the pushbutton locator tone that provides an audible sign that a pushbutton is required to request the "WALK" signal
  • "Tock"  - this is the confirmation that the pushbutton has been activated, and that a request for the "WALK" signal has been made

“We are all very proud to be a part of this project,” said Price. “We are directly contributing to making the city a better place to live each day.”

In addition to the Accessible Pedestrian Signals, the City is also installing countdown signals at all signalized intersections which indicate how much time is left to safety cross the street.

A countdown signal in front of City Hall on Main Street.
A countdown signal in front of City Hall on Main Street.

“They are intended to increase pedestrian safety by encouraging them to stay on the curb if there is only a little bit of time left to cross the street,” said Roger Petursson, the Traffic Signals Design Engineer for the project.

It is anticipated all signalized intersections will be equipped with the countdowns signals by the end of 2020, with the exception of a few intersections slated for construction work in 2021.


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