§ Mr. John Carlisle
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will review the provision of aural warnings to blind people at pedestrian crossings.
§ Mr. Chope
Audible signals can be fitted at pelican crossings and at traffic signals with a pedestrian phase except where there are two or more crossings close together—for example at dual carriageways. In these cases it would be dangerous to include audible signal because the sound from one could be interpreted as a cue to cross at the other crossing where the traffic had not been signalled to stop. Complaints from people in residential areas about the intrusive nature of the signals have led some local authorities to remove audible signals.518W
The Department has developed a new audible signal for use on staggered dual carriageway crossings. It emits a localised sound which can also adjust to the ambient traffic noise level. That signal is currently being tested at 25 trunk road sites around the country. We hope it will be available to local authorities around the country later this year.
In the meantime, where it is not possible to install an audible signal, the Department advises that a tactile signal should be installed as an aid to visually impaired people. The rotating cone device is activated during the green man phase to indicate that the traffic has stopped.