Background:For a blind or visually impaired person, a vital prerequisite to accessing any feature of the built environment is being able to find this feature. Braille signs, even where available, do not replace the functions of print signage because they cannot be read from a distance. Remotely readable infrared signs utilise spoken infrared message transmissions to label key environmental features, so that a blind person with a suitable receiver can locate and identify them from a distance.
Methods:Three problems that are among the most challenging and dangerous faced by blind travellers are negotiating complex transit stations, locating bus stops and safely and efficiently crossing light‐controlled intersections. We report the results of human factors studies using a remote infrared audible sign system (RIAS), Talking Signsr̀, in these critical tasks, examining issues such as the amount of training needed to use the system, its impact on performance and safety, benefits for different population subgroups and user opinions of its value.
Results:Results are presented in the form of both objective performance measures and in subjects' ratings of the usefulness of the system in performing these tasks. Findings are that blind people can quickly and easily learn to use remote infrared audible signage effectively and that its use improves travel safety, efficiency and independence.
Conclusions:The technology provides equal access to a wide variety of public facilities.