AADITYA ANAND M
Chennai, Sep 25, 2017: The majority of the auditory signal devices, installed in the city to help pedestrians especially visually challenged, to cross roads have stopped working just a few weeks after their installation.
This device is a yellow color box which has a voice recorded feature. When the pedestrian signal goes green it announces “Zebra Crossing Open” and the countdown will begin. People have to cross the road within that stipulated time. It was designed by the Commissionerate of the Welfare of the Differently Abled in Kamarajar Salai here. The primary aim was to help the visually challenged to cross roads independently.
“In Kamarajar Salai almost all signals have this device installed. This device helped a lot of people including visually challenged. Unfortunately none of the devices from the Light House to Vivekananda House works now,” said a traffic constable in Kamarajar Salai.
“The timer is set by us. Depending on the breadth of the road we change the time. Here in Kamarajar Salai it is set at 10 seconds,” he said. The voice coming out of the box would be audible through the din of the traffic.
The video below shows one of the signals that is still operational near the Anna Centenary Library in Kotturpuram.
When asked about the reason for the devices going dysfunctional within few weeks of its installation, the constable said that this must be posed to those who designed these machines though the maintenance had been handed over to the Traffic Department.
Surprisingly, many people weren’t even aware about the existence of such a device. This can mainly be attributed to the improper functioning of the device. Those who knew about the device said that it was of great use when it worked.
Many visually challenged people were able to cross the roads confidently using the instructions given by the device.
“ I am a regular visitor of the Anna Library in Kotturpuram and the device installed near the library’s signal was of a great help to me as I was able to cross the road easily without any help,” said Gnanasekhar, a visually challenged person.
“We were happy with this initiative but we heard that many devices across the city have stopped working. For our welfare we want the traffic department to maintain the devices properly,” he said.
Some people feel that it greatly helped not only visually challenged but also others.
“The countdown was a kind of intimation for people to cross roads,” said Mohan, an employee of a textile shop near Thiruvanmiyur junction signal where this device was installed. He feels that if the machine was repaired and maintained properly, it could be of great use to all.