Audible tactile devices are installed in all road crossing signals (parallel walk signals) for people who are vision or hearing impaired.
The audible/vibration devices make a 'beeping' sound to help people find the push button and a 'clacking' sound to tell them that the 'green figure' (start crossing) display is operating.
Tactile paving on the pavement near traffic signals is generally provided for people with a vision impairment, to warn them that they are close to the road used by traffic.
The decision to install these devices (also referred to as "parallel pedestrian facilities at signalised intersections" by our road engineers) was a cooperative decision that came about after input from stakeholder groups like the Association for the Blind, the Disability Services Commission, local government and Main Roads Pedestrian Advisory Group.
Parallel walk crossings were sought by vision impaired groups because, for technical reasons, the existing circular vehicle signals could not be fitted with audible tactile devices.
An additional advantage of a parallel walk is that it provides a faster service for pedestrians. This was confirmed in a study by ARRB Group (the transport research organisation). This study indicated that parallel walk facilities are the preferred configuration as they result in less time delay, shorter cycle length and more efficient use of the intersection for pedestrians, cyclists, people with disabilities and motorists.
In 2001, we introduced a ten-year program to replace crossings with parallel walk facilities.
For related information, refer to the "Guidelines on Pedestrian Crossing Facilities at Signalised Intersections under Walking" in the Standards & Guidelines.