newscharlottesville upgrades pedestrian signals to help residents with vision impairments

Charlottesville upgrades pedestrian signals to help the visually impaired

Crystal Graham

Polara Accessible Pedestrian SignalsBy the end of this week, the City of Charlottesville will have upgraded 26 pedestrian signals to include audio indicators for visually impaired persons that are functional from any smartphone.

This will put Charlottesville in the lead for most pedestrian signals that are operational from any smartphone in the United States.

These upgrades are with the help of the Polara app which is designed for people with vision impairments.

With this new system, a person approaching an intersection can open the app to listen to a voice that speaks with the pedestrian signal.

It also gives off a sound indicator so that people with vision impairments can find the signal button.

This allows anyone to virtually activate the pedestrian signal from their phone – provided they are within five feet of the signal.

The City of Charlottesville plans to upgrade the remaining 50 pedestrian signals over the next six months.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.