Sydney launches ‘world’s largest’ braille and tactile network for vision-impaired pedestrians
The world’s most comprehensive network of braille and tactile signs to help visually impaired pedestrians has been rolled out across Sydney.
More that 2,100 braille and raised-letter signs have been installed at pedestrian crossings in the City of Sydney area.
They were officially launched on Monday by Lord Mayor Clover Moore who said it was the “world’s largest tactile network”.
“It’s one of the most significant projects we’ve done to make sure our city is welcoming and accessible,” Cr Moore said.
“We want people to be independent around the city.”
The aluminium panels feature street names and building numbers in both braille and large, raised lettering.
They have been placed next to push buttons at signalised crossing areas.
Nicole Holmes, who uses a guide dog, said the signs would make a big difference to those who are blind or vision impaired.
“The new signs help people who are vision impaired to move through the city safely, independently and with confidence,” she 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.
“The signs are easy to locate and read, whether you are reading the braille or raised print.”
For Rolf Geerings from Vision Australia, the signs will makes his life much easier once he loses his sight from macular degeneration.
“It shows that in this country we can look after our own,” he told the ABC.
“It will help me move around the city and make me feel safe.”
According to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, there are around 100,000 people with non-correctable vision loss in NSW.
That number is predicted to increase by more than 20 per cent by 2020.