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The blue pictograms help people with ASD proceed safely in the confusion of urban traffic, Source: Ajuntament de Valencia

Valencia helps residents with autism to safely cross the street

Valencia helps residents with autism to safely cross the street

It involves strategically placed pictograms on the pedestrian crossings

Crossing the street safely for most of us has become an inner habit that we spare no second thoughts about. That act, however, can be a challenge for people with functional diversity, such as people with autism spectre disorder (ASD).

As a response to that barrier, the Valencia City Council announced on 25 May that its Department of Social Services had initiated a pilot project that involves the painting of pictograms on pedestrian crossings. The floor signs are meant to be clearly visible and help the person in need to logically sequence the actions needed to cross safely to the other side.

Improving cognitive accessibility of the city

The initiative includes 44 pedestrian crossings that cross the routes to reach the occupational centre for people with ASD in La Torre district. The signage consists of a sequence of four blue pictograms, a colour representing autism, located on the first strip of each side of the zebra crossing. 

The images indicate the logical movements to follow before passing on the other side of the street: “Stop, look, traffic light, cross”, in the case of traffic lights; and “Stop, look, car parked, cross”, if there is no traffic light.

Giuseppe Grezzi, the local Councillor for Sustainable Mobility emphasized "the importance of such initiatives in promoting the mobility and social inclusion of people with functional diversity" and "how this results in road safety". This project, he added, "will facilitate the understanding of road rules, creating a space for cognitive accessibility that improves the personal autonomy and safety of people with ASD."

The sequence of pictograms is the result of a research project by the Faculty of Education Sciences of the University of Seville, together with the TEAVIAL association, led by Carlos Hervás-Gómez.

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