Research Papers

Safety, Mobility and Experiences of Pedestrians with Vision Loss in Victoria

Filename FINAL-PAPER-30.docx
Filesize 561 KB
Version 1
Date added June 10, 2012
Downloaded 3 times/fois
Category 2012 CMRSC XXII Banff
Tags Session 3A
Author/Auteur Jennifer Oxley, Sara Liu, Jim Langford, Saraswathy Venkataraman, Judith Charlton, Marcus Bleechmore, Aronne Guaglio

Abstract

Independent travel is an important goal sought by many blind and low vision people. While there is some suggestion that adults who are blind or have low vision are over-represented in pedestrian collisions and experience significant mobility limitations, there is currently limited available evidence attesting to their increased crash risk, the contributing factors to crash risk, and the overall travel experiences of this group as pedestrians. Moreover, there is little understanding of the level of mobility, experience and strategies used by blind and low vision pedestrians in Australia.

A telephone survey of 607 blind and low vision adults was conducted to provide an understanding of the issues surrounding the safe pedestrian travel of blind and low vision adults in Victoria. The survey was designed to explore specific themes of vision loss, travel information, interaction with the road system and pedestrian infrastructure, strategies and collision involvement. A particular focus was on those respondents who indicated they walked unassisted (n=442) and the findings revealed that severity of vision impairment was associated with ability to walk unassisted. The findings also revealed that there was a high level of mobility amongst this group, with 76 percent of respondents walking daily, and substantial distances (up to 10km a week), and good levels of confidence crossing the road in various environments, regardless of degree of vision loss. A range of strategies and aids used were identified including various road crossing behavioural strategies as well as use of Orientation and Mobility specialist training. The collision and near-collision rates among this group were relatively high (8% and 19%, respectively), and a number of factors were associated with collision involvement such as higher degree of vision loss, lower self-reported health status, walking unassisted, and poor self-reported ability to select safe gaps.

The findings of this study will assist in the development of enhanced educational and behavioural programs that raise awareness of the issues, provide strategies to adopt safer behaviour while walking and contribute to improved safe mobility of this group.

Jennifer Oxley, Sara Liu, Jim Langford, Saraswathy Venkataraman, Judith Charlton, Marcus Bleechmore, Aronne Guaglio