International Activities


ISO/TC173 Activities

1. Activities in Japan for ISO/TC173

The Society studies the contents of CD, etc. proposed at international meetings, and examines the integrity with domestic equipment and systems. In the same way, the Society positively studies the validity of their domestic standards.
The Society actively proposes specifications, acoustic systems, etc., of domestic equipment and systems, at international meetings through the organizations of WG, TC, etc., and makes efforts to achieve the goal that are specified in DIS.
The Society actively studies new functions and systems related to navigation for sight-impaired persons.

2. Brief history of Signal device for Sight-impaired Persons in Japan

Japan's first signal device for sight-impaired persons was installed in Tokyo in September 1964, and since then it has rapidly advanced. At present, the equipment is installed at more than 8,900 intersections (as of the end of 1996).
The signal device for the sight-impaired persons was originally installed by each prefectural police office under its own principles, so both acoustic and vibration types have been used in combination. Various types of sound such as melodies (21 types) have been used, bird calls, and simple tones.
However diversified sounds might confuse not only the installing side but also users of these facilities, therefore, in October 1975, Traffic Control Facility Association issued "Signal Facilities for the Sight-impaired Study Committee Report," as a guideline, and the report has served as a reference until now.
The report describes the following as a guideline for future facility installation principles.
  1. Status and basic functions of signal device for sight-impaired persons
  2. Standard installation locations
  3. Standard location of sound source
  4. Unification of sound types (two types of melody and bird calls are specified)
  5. Others (Additional installation of sight-impaired walking navigation facility, safety issues in installation environment, etc.)

3. Responses by countries regarding ISO/CD 11549 at the previous 1994 ISO/TC173 International meeting

Three countries including Japan among the 11 countries objected. Although the UK agreed in the committee meeting, it objected at the session.
The disapproved countries, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland, left a comment. Germany also submitted a comment although it approved at the meeting.
Japan expressed disapproval, and submitted the following comments while explaining the present status. In Japan, more than 7,000 acoustic signaling machines have already been installed, and extensive expertise on acoustic signals and characteristics of the sight-impaired had been acquired from experience. Therefore, the national circumstances which bred the equipment and systems did not seem to be understood by the other countries.
  1. Why is 880Hz used? Are rectangular waves satisfactory?
  2. In Japan, cheeping of 2,800 Hz and a cuckoo call of 1,100 Hz are differentially used according to crossing directions. What measures are taken to make sight-impaired pedestrians sense directions?
  3. Back-ground for 2 Hz or 5 Hz sensing signal sound are not known.
  4. The back-ground for the duty cycle of 50 is not known
  5. Studies on installation height of signal generator seem to be insufficient.
  6. Studies on the timing for stopping the sound, upon completion of green signal, appear unsatisfactory.
  7. A lack in studying acknowledgeable range of signal sounds.

4. Policies of Japan at ISO/TC173/WG6 held at Innsbruck international meeting in October 1997

Regarding the revised CD discussed at the 1994 Vienna international meeting, discussions was held in Japan to create another new version that covers problems to be raised possibly in the future.
The main subject of discussions was the matter of navigation functions for sight-impaired person, which had not been raised as an agendum by any country so far, and its necessity, effectiveness, and practical applications was presented and discussed.
With respect to navigation, the results of an indoor experiment carried out by Okayama Prefectural University in 1996 on the location of sound source and navigation was mainly reported, together with the results of a field experiment performed later, and the necessity of navigation was stressed.
In addition, various sounds used in practice so far in Japan was presented physical, then their practicality and necessity was argued.
Furthermore, the result of a study on the audibility of bird calls and possibility of navigation was presented. Relating to "Alternate Sound" system, a sound demonstration of signal device for the sight-impaired persons was given to positively obtain the consent of members from the other countries.
The Japanese subcommittee will create another revised CD as a result of these activities, and would like to bring the matter to a ballot at the next international meeting, to have DIS approved and specified in ISO.