Changes in the Travel Environment
Types of changes
In the past twenty years, significant changes in intersection geometry, signalization, driver behavior, and the technology of automobiles have affected the ability of blind travelers in the United States to use the above-mentioned techniques.
Intersection design changes and their effect on travel techniques
- Wider streets require more precise alignment.
- Large radius corners make alignment more difficult and increase crosswalk length.
- Curb ramps and depressed corners make street detection and alignment difficult.
- Medians and islands complicate wayfinding and alignment.
- Presence of slip lanes and splitter islands requires crossing in gaps in traffic even at signalized intersections.
- Crosswalk alignment is not consistent.
- Curb extensions, also called bulb-outs or intersection chokers, sometimes complicate wayfinding.
- Raised crosswalks and tabled intersections may obliterate the sidewalk/street boundary.
Driver behavior and technology of autos
- Aggressive and inattentive drivers are moving faster and less likely to stop for pedestrians.
- The technology of cars, including hybrid and electric cars, has become quieter, making them harder for pedestrians who are visually impaired to hear.
- In many areas there is less pedestrian traffic and drivers are less aware of pedestrians.
Intersection signalization has become more complex. Details on signalization and the effect on travel by pedestrians who are blind are provided in Chapter 3.
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