Virtual Guide Dog: Next-generation pedestrian signal for the visually impaired

Zijia Zhong, Joyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Accessible pedestrian signal was proposed as a mean to achieve the same level of service that is set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act for the visually impaired. One of the major issues of existing accessible pedestrian signals is the failure to deliver adequate crossing information for the visually impaired. This article presents a mobile-based accessible pedestrian signal application, namely, Virtual Guide Dog. Integrating intersection information and onboard sensors (e.g. GPS, compass, accelerometer, and gyroscope sensor) of modern smartphones, the Virtual Guide Dog application can notify the visually impaired: (1) the close proximity of an intersection and (2) the street information for crossing. By employing a screen tapping interface, Virtual Guide Dog can remotely place a pedestrian crossing call to the controller, without the need of using a pushbutton. In addition, Virtual Guide Dog informs VIs the start of a crossing phase using text-to-speech technology. The proof-of-concept test shows that Virtual Guide Dog keeps the users informed about the remaining distance as they are approaching the intersection. It was also found that the GPS-only mode is accompanied by greater distance deviation compared to the mode jointly operating with both GPS and cellular positioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Mechanical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Intelligent transportation systems
  • accessible pedestrian signal
  • cooperative infrastructure pedestrian system
  • pedestrian safety
  • visually impaired
  • vulnerable road user


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