How to make the life and independent crossingof visually impaired more comfortable and safe? Essay
How to make the life and independent crossingof visually impaired more comfortable and safe?, 488 words essay example
Essay Topic: how to, life
Figure 5 identifies 'barriers' of the environment that 'disables' the safe and independent crossing of the visually impaired
1. Pedestrian traffic lights should be provided with clearly audible signals for the benefit of sightless pedestrians. The installation of two adjacent acoustic devices such as bleepers is not recommended in order to avoid disorientation.
2. The path surface should be firm, well-drained, non-slip and free of construction joints.
3. Guide strips should be constructed to indicate the position of pedestrian crossings for the benefit of
4. Constructing traffic islands to reduce the length of the crossing is recommended for the safety of all road
5. The road surface should be firm, well-drained, non-slip and free of construction joints.
One of the main 'barriers' that stood out to me was the confusion of audible sounds signifying it was safe to cross the road. This is made emphatic by Hamilton-Baillie, (2008) who notes the global urban confusion that can be created through the use of multiple bleeping crossing facilities. In addition, Methorst et al (2010) points out that crossing facilities need to consider the volume of speed of the traffic and the conspicuity and visibility of the vehicle and pedestrian users. This can be improved by infrastructure design, speed limits, vehicle design and driver and pedestrian education. Finally, I experienced extreme difficulty in identifying the tactile paving areas on either end of the crossing due to the uneven road and path surface with cracks and lifting tiles. The WalkEurope project (Methorst et al, 2010) stresses the importance of tactile paving areas. These points according to Guide Dogs (2007, p.13) "act as a reference point in the environment for the blind and visually impaired pedestrian", even if they do not intend in crossing the road.
I must bring to your attention, that this investigative research only provides a snap-shot of an individual experience and perspective and could be furthered both temporally and spatially. A wider section of Oxford Road could be studied and data gathered from different pedestrian crossings to identify additional 'barriers' which may not be evident within the case study. This would generate a greater depth of knowledge in evaluating the medical model of disability within pedestrian crossings to further investigate the gulf between someone with a visual impairment or able bodied becoming less disabled by their impairment. Furthermore, I must point out that during my investigation I was accompanied by a sighted individual for safety reasons. However a partially sighted interviewee "felt it was important that they could take responsibility for navigation if required and thus the presence of a sighted companion (or other pedestrians) was not sufficient reason to neglect the installation of correct guidance cues for the blind and partially sighted pedestrians" (Guide Dogs, 2007, p.18). This points out a key factor that planners must account for when 'Designing for All' in pedestrian crossings that is, that the blind and partially sighted should not be assumed to be accompanied by a sighted individual who will assist them.