This research was funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, with additional support from Portland State University, the PSU Digital City Testbed Center, and the American Printing House for the Blind.
Navigating an unfamiliar place is uniquely challenging for people with disabilities. People with blindness, deafblindness, visual impairment or low vision, as well as those who use wheelchairs, can travel more independently in urban areas with the aid of effective wayfinding technology. A new report from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) explores how to leverage low-cost methods to enable people to more easily move through public, urban indoor and outdoor spaces.
The study, led by Martin Swobodzinski and Amy Parker of Portland State University, used focus groups, two case studies, and an in-person structured wayfinding experience on the PSU campus to find the most helpful ways of getting around. Tactile maps were found to be a very useful resource, with an accessible mobile app also showing promise as an orientation and mobility aid.
Swobodzinski, M. and Amy Parker, Navigating Urban Spaces: Indoor & Outdoor Wayfinding Technology for Vision-Impaired People. Project Brief 1327. Portland, OR: Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), 2022.
For more details about the study, download the full report “Pedestrian Wayfinding Under Consideration of Visual Impairment, Blindness, and Deafblindness: A Mixed-Method Investigation Into Individual Experiences and Supporting Elements” at nitc.trec.pdx.edu/research/project/1327