|October 27, 2002|
My name is Nicholas Giudice and I am a graduate student in Cognitive and
Biological Psychology at the university of Minnesota.
Although I am not very political, I feel strongly about the passing of legislation promoting safe and accessible signage for crossing intersections. I realize that the Access Board is getting a lot of conflicting information from very groups about the efficacy of this issue but want to state for the record that adoption of these guidelines is important and smart. As a researcher of blind/low vision navigation and spatial cognition, I very much know the merits of providing accessible information at intersections. There are numerous empirical behavioral studies that support this assertion and the bottom line is that increasing information about the environment (especially potential hazards) is good. Speaking not as an expert in blind navigation but from a personal level as a blind traveller, I also strongly support accessible signage and hope that what ever is needed can be done to get this legislation implemented.
The access Board has done an excellent job regarding the guidelines that have been drawn up and I sincerely hope that the views of some militant blind people do not undermine your hard work! Although they feel that adding crossing information is dangerous because it might make people reliant. I think this is a pretty weak argument. If adding information about safe crossing (the purpose of an audible signal) is dangerous, then we should just go ahead and remove red-green stop lights as well , as they also help indicate right of way and may also lead to dependence.
Hint: Adding high contrast signs, audible signals and other information to increase safety is a good thing, being blindly lead by this information is not. If a train arm raises and the green light signals you to go but a large freight train is also about to roar through the intersection, do you cross. Likewise, if you are erroneously told by an audible signal that it is "okay" to cross but a stream of traffic is rushing in front of you, do you just step off the curb? If the people that are worried about adding this signage information are at all concerned about what to do in either of the above scenarios, then it seems to me that maybe they should not travel on their own at all. Arguments about environmental invasiveness and personal assaults of one's ambient array are also bogus, as these things can be subtilely integrated into the existing infrastructure (and rumor has it that all the noise and smell from the traffic, the cause of this legislation in the first place, isn't really all that mellifluous either). As is obvious, I feel strongly about this matter and want my opinion, which represents many others, to stand in strong support for adoption of these guidelines. If you have any questions for me, please contact me by phone at: [ ... ]
index previous comment next comment