Project Summary

A variety of innovative street designs are being built in communities across the country to create more walkable, livable places. Seeking to ensure these new street designs meet requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal Highway Administration asked Toole Design to prepare Accessible Shared Streets, to explore the needs of people with vision disabilities in the design of curb-less, low-speed streets.  Through a series of workshops and field walks, Toole Design engaged people with vision disabilities to provide detailed, first-hand input.  Accessible Shared Streets breaks new ground – it is the first Federal publication to discuss the use of directional indicators, a design feature that is commonly used in Europe and parts of Asia to guide pedestrians who are blind along accessible pathways.

The resource is available for review, in both PDF and screen reader-compatible HTML, from the FHWA website.

The guidance provided in Accessible Shared Streets was informed by a robust stakeholder engagement process involving more than 150 people, including people with a range of vision disabilities, orientation and mobility specialists, local officials, the US Access Board, representatives from NACTO, and others.
We created a book with tactile graphics to help stakeholders who had a vision disability understand the innovative street designs that were the focus of the project.
Additional graphics helped sighted participants better understand the spectrum of vision disabilities, and better understand the user experience for people with them.
Accessible Shared Streets is the first federal guidance document to discuss directional indicators, a tactile walking surface that can be used to help people with vision disabilities locate a mid-block crossing or bus stop, navigate a transit station or large open plaza, or follow a pedestrian access route when other cues are insufficient.

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