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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: from Aerial Tramways to Hearing Aid Compatibility with Wireless Phones

New York, Apr 24, 2006

In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, ANSI Online will publish, on an ongoing basis, a series of snapshots of the diverse standards initiatives undertaken in the global and national standards arena, many of which are performed by ANSI members and ANSI-accredited standards developers. Two of the latest selections follow:

Aerial Tramways
When a power surge disabled the Roosevelt Island tramway system in New York City last week, nearly 70 passengers were stranded in mid-air for as long as 11 hours. In reaction to this incident, transportation officials are working to find ways of improving the safety and efficiency of the tramway system, which carries 1.5 million passenger fares each year, and has been in operation since 1976. The only aerial commuter tram in the country, the Roosevelt Island tramway uses a passenger ropeway system like the kind commonly used in mountain areas and on ski slopes.

The National Ski Areas Association, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), developed a standard to reduce the risks relating to the operation of aerial tramways and other similar transportation systems, and to improve the efficiency of these machines. ANSI B77.1-1999, Aerial Tramways, Aerial Lifts, Surface Lifts, Tows and Conveyors—Safety Requirements provides a set of criteria encompassing the design, manufacture, installation, operation, and maintenance of these passenger ropeway systems. The standard contains specifications to minimize risks associated with power failures, and includes a requirement for a two-way voice communication system that functions independently of a tramway’s primary power source.

Hearing Aid Compatibility with Wireless Communications Devices
Hearing impairment is a growing public concern. An estimated 28 million people in the U.S. have a hearing impairment, and that number is expected to rise as baby boomers age. To respond to the needs of this segment of the population, the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) C63 on electromagnetic compatibility has developed standards to improve compatibility between hearing aids and cell phones. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer that sponsors and administers the work of the ASC C63.

ANSI C63.19-2006, Methods of Measurement of Compatibility between Wireless Communications Devices and Hearing Aids, aims to achieve an acceptable level of performance between the two devices by reducing the interference of radio frequency emissions. The standard defines emissions and immunity to interference requirements for hearing aids and wireless phones, and is intended to apply to all types of hearing aids with acoustic output. The document also establishes methods of measurement, parameters, and test conditions to determine the level of interoperability between the two devices.

This "standards snapshot" was made possible by the steady stream of press information disseminated by standards developing organizations to keep the ANSI Federation abreast of their achievements. As the Institute receives news of published voluntary standards and voluntary standards initiatives with broad appeal and impact, similar articles will be posted to the ANSI Online News page. Please continue to forward your updates to the Communications and Public Relations department at (f) 212.398.0023 or (e) For additional information on the wide array of standards applications, see the Media Tips and Case Studies section of the Institute's website.

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