Inclusive journeys: An exploration of the experiences of blind and partially sighted people on public transport

Room 2 | 1:45 pm - 2:15 pm | Thursday, May 4, 2023

Sight loss is a spectrum, and every eye condition affects someone’s sight differently. Different people will rely on different senses – sound, sight or touch – to varying degrees to understand their environment and get around. To help, it is vital that the right adjustments are in place, such as inclusive infrastructure and design.

For blind and partially sighted people, traveling independently is a critical factor to improve their quality of life and to achieve a sense of autonomy. However, with a wide breadth of accessibility issues, using public transport can prove to be a daunting experience for people with sight loss. Challenges faced in this area are a key source of frustration and likely contribute to lower wellbeing.

RNIB worked with 2CV to explore the experiences of blind and partially sighted people on public transport. We have examined the barriers they face, the solutions they employ and the emotional impact of these activities. Creating an accessible research experience was critical to the approach. This included accessible digital ethnographies where we invited participants to document in-the-moment journey experiences that allowed us to capture experiences across a wide range of geographies, journey types and transport modes at a time that suited the participant.

The research culminated in co-creative workshops where participants worked with 2CV and RNIB to validate insights, establish future priorities, and generate short and long-term solutions focusing on education, technology, information provision and the built environment. We will discuss the implications and legacy of the project.

Key takeaways:

  1. The importance of accessible public transport for blind and partially sighted people.
  2. How a mixed method approach including digital ethnography added value to the project.
  3. The legacy and impact of the work for RNIB.

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