Local News

Audible Traffic Stations Help Visually Impaired Pedestrians

Posted October 18, 2005 7:13 a.m. EDT

— Need directions? Some Raleigh residents are not afraid to ask.

A member of the blind community recently complained it has been hard lately to navigate downtown on foot because several sidewalks along the Raleigh Convention Center construction zone are closed.

The city, contractor, and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind came up with a new idea -- audible awareness stations.

At 10 downtown intersections, the machines play a message letting the visually impaired know which sidewalks are open. The concept is the first of its kind in North Carolina.

City officials estimate about 200 visually impaired citizens come to downtown Raleigh daily. Some critics have complained that the sound quality needs to be improved. Skanska Barnhill is aware of the audio problem and is working to purchase higher-quality speakers.

The total cost of the project is about $4,000.