For low vision people who would like to be self-sufficient, traveling alone in city is not enough with only a handheld magnifier with distance view mode (Snow 7 HD and M5 re equipped with this function. There are some comments containing far view in English and German). We talked with some of our clients in charge of low vision assistance from various institutions and now share their ideas.
On a daily basis those who are blind or visually impaired are challenged by streetscapes, sidewalks and maneuvering around uneven and broken surfaces. Traveling through crowds in busy cities is hazardous enough without these additional obstacles. As times have changed more thought has been put into making cities more friendly for those with vision impairment and other disabilities. Here are some of the most helpful things I have found when traveling through the cities.
I like those tiles that appear before curbs and in sloping areas. These are Armor-Tiles also known as Braille for the Feet. Occasionally, these tiles are placed in other areas as well and help to warn you when you are approaching traffic and other hazards. The tiles come in many colors but the most popular color is orange.
Another simple thing that I find helpful in my travels are audible traffic signals. If you are not familiar with an audible street signals. It is a street signal which has a buzzer, bell or bird call, the purpose of which is to let a blind person know when to cross an intersection. My city does not have them and most do not. It would be great if the poles attached to street signs had the street name in Braille.
I think most towns could improve public transportation for those with visual impairment or other disabilities. They could offer services to more areas, and be available more evening and weekend hours.
It would also be an asset for any city to offer special assistance to those with disabilities in all city, county and government offices. Although more are offering material in Braille, many still need assistance with filling out forms and paperwork.