City of Sydney has unveiled braille and tactile signs installed at all signalised pedestrian crossings to improve the ability of vision-impaired people to navigate the city safely and easily.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said there have been more than 2100 of the signs installed, with on-site testing with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and Vision Australia previous to the rollout.
She said the initiative aimed to make the city accessible to everyone.
“That means carefully planning and designing our physical environment, and taking practical steps to make our city more socially and economically inclusive,” Ms Moore said.
“It’s about making sure everyone is able to be active in their community and make meaningful connections.”
The tactile aluminium panels feature street names and building numbers in both braille and large, raised lettering to allow touch-reading by people who are blind and close-range reading for those with low vision.
Vision Australia and Guide Dogs NSW said many people would benefit from clear, consistent and accessible wayfinding information.
According to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, there are around 100,000 people with non-correctable vision loss in NSW, and that number is predicted to increase by more than 20 per cent by 2020.
Access and technology officer for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, Nicole Holmes, who uses a Guide Dog, said the installation complements the assistance people may get from a white cane or Guide Dog.
“The new signs help people who are vision impaired to move through the city safely, independently and with confidence,” Ms Holmes said.
“Being able to identify where I am without having to concentrate on orientation methods such as counting streets makes trips through the city far more pleasurable now.”