Living with Vision Loss > Getting Around

Not all people considered blind use a long white cane or dog guide. People who are visually impaired and do not use long canes or dog guides often rely on their remaining sight and auditory and tactile cues in their surroundings for orientation and travel.

How Can You Make It Easier To Move Around Your Home?..

1. Replace worn carpeting, and remove area rugs. Move electrical cords away from walkways.

2. Use nonskid products to clean and polish floors.

3. Use contrasting colors to make doors and stairs easier to see.

4.Move furniture out of the main traffic areas in your home, and keep desk chairs and table chairs pushed in.

5.Keep cabinet, closet, and room doors fully open or fully closed—not half open.
Make sure that lighting in hallways and stairwells is bright and even.

6.Use railings when climbing stairs.
7.Make it easy to locate electrical outlets and light switches, oven dials, hot pads, and doorknobs by using color contrasts.
Are You Concerned About Traveling Safely Outside Of Your Home?

Wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
Plan your route before you go. Identify landmarks that are easy for you to detect and use them as reference points.
Cross streets only at crosswalks. If you are uncertain about when it is safe to cross, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
When walking with another person, it may be helpful to hold onto his or her arm slightly above the elbow and walk about a half step behind. This will allow the person to guide you comfortably.

Dog Guides:……..CLICK & SEE

Dog guides are carefully trained service animals used as travel tools by people who are blind.

Dog guides and their masters undergo rigorous training to work safely and effectively as a team.
People who are blind are responsible for the health and well being of their dog guides at all times.
Dog guides should always be kept under control by their masters.
Dog guide users are trained to relieve their dogs regularly and to clean up after their dogs.
Dog guides work most effectively with persons who have very little vision. It is likely that most of the dog guide users you will meet are totally blind.
Dog guides move only in response to directions from their masters. They disobey commands only to avoid danger.
Concentration is essential when a person travels with a dog guide. Petting, feeding, or distracting a dog guide disrupts concentration and can cause serious danger.
Public and private organizations are required to admit dog guides and all service animals into their facilities.

Long Canes..…...CLICK & SEE

Some long canes are made of a single piece of metal, fiberglass, or similar lightweight conductive material. Other canes can fold or collapse like a telescope. Not all long canes are white; some are silver-grey.
People who are blind learn how to use and store their canes safely. It is their responsibility to do so at all times.
To assist a person using a long cane, always announce your presence and ask if your assistance is needed before reaching to help.
When guiding a person who uses a long cane, do not interfere with the arm used to hold the cane.
Always inform a person who is blind where you have stored his or her cane if it is necessary for you to take it for even a brief period of time.

Accessible Mass Transit.……..CLICK & SEE

Why Is Access to Mass Transit Important for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

Public transportation is a major key to independence, productivity, and community participation for people who are blind or severely visually impaired–most of whom are not able to drive a motor vehicle because of their visual impairment. Mass transit services such as buses, trains, or special paratransit vans are frequently the only options blind or visually impaired people have for traveling independently to school, work, health care facilities, shopping centers, and a host of other places in the community.
What Do People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Need to Access and Use Mass Transit?
People who are blind or visually impaired need to gather information about their physical surroundings and about the visible information that appears at transit stops, terminals, on transit vehicles, schedules, maps, and directories in order to use mass transit safely and effectively. Because of the visual nature of most transit information, people who are blind, severely visually impaired, or who have poor sight cannot use readily the wealth of information provided in mass transit environments for general information, wayfinding, and safety. For people who are blind or visually impaired, this visible information can be a barrier to using mass transit   barrier that can be addressed by providing information in ways that blind or visually impaired people can use.
What Kinds of Transit Information Present Barriers to People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?
*Route, timetable, fare, and customer service brochures available only in print formats.
* Print or graphic messages on signs, monitors, or maps displayed in transit terminals, on transit vehicles, and inside transit vehicles.
*Bus stop locations that are not clearly marked, and bus stops whose placement varies within a transit system, that is, some bus stops are placed just before the corner, some are mid-block, and others are just beyond the corner.
*Ticket vending machines that have only visible or touch screen operation controls.
Safety or hazard signs and warnings that are only visibly displayed.

What Is Being Done to Improve Transit Accessibility for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?
In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. This broad civil rights act bans discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, transportation, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications in the public and private sectors. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Justice have issued regulations implementing the ADA’s requirements for public and private transportation vehicles, facilities, and services. The ADA transit regulations are complex, addressing a wide range of areas including the design of transportation vehicles and facilities, paratransit services, training of transit staff, compliance requirements and timeframes, and a host of broad reaching issues.

It is important to note that transit agencies have unique obligations under the ADA as well as concurrent obligations under state and local statutes and codes. Transit agencies are advised to consult legal counsel for meeting Federal, state, and local requirements. The information contained in this fact sheet is not intended to address in whole or in part the obligations of transit agencies with regard to the ADA and other Federal, state, and local requirements. The Department of Transportation regulations for publicly operated mass transit are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR Parts 27, 37, 38).

In general terms, the ADA requires transportation systems to remove barriers to mass transit for persons who are blind or visually impaired, primarily by making visible information accessible and usable. The following list illustrates some of the ways that transit systems have begun to do so:

Providing large-print, high-contrast, and non-glare informational signs in terminals, at bus stops, and on transit vehicles.
Placing braille and tactile information regarding available service at consistent locations near the entrances to and within transit stations.
Installing a tactile domed high-contrast warning surface along platform edges.
Making stop announcements inside transit vehicles at main points along a bus or train route.
Providing external speakers that announce vehicle identification information.
Providing ticket vending machines with braille and large-print markings, or audible output devices.
Training transit personnel to meet the specific needs of persons with visual impairments who use public transportation.

What Does Innovation and Technology Hold in Store for Transit Accessibility?
In the years since the passage of the ADA, rapidly evolving technology has led to innovations that promise to enhance transit accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired. Computer screen interfaces are being developed that read aloud information displayed on video screen monitors, information kiosks with tactile maps that “talk” to those who seek information about the location of key places in transit stations, multimedia interactive software allows users to query a map to plan routes, and global positioning satellite (GPS) technology enables people to use a portable computer to monitor their progress as they travel from place to place.

This same GPS technology can be used to drive automatic digitized stop announcements and can be linked to external bus speakers that will announce vehicle identification information to those waiting at vehicle stops. And, infra-red signals and radio transmitters can be programmed to broadcast the visual messages displayed on print signs so signs can then be “heard” by people who use special voice output receivers.

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