2.0 Overview

As seen in Section 3.2.1, a pathway is a track that people can follow to get to their destination. There are many different types of pathways that can be found in a built-environment. Some examples include:

  • Corridors
  • Ramps
  • Tunnels
  • Subways
  • Pavements
  • Crossings
  • Intersections and junctions
  • Stairs
  • Lifts
  • Escalators

Although stairs, lifts and escalators are considered pathways, they have dedicated sections in the Open Standard.

Pathways often provide vision impaired people with clues that facilitate their wayfinding task. For example, in a Metro Station a tunnel may have different lighting and air stream than a corridor intersection.

2.1 Providing guidance at each junction on the route

As mentioned in the Section 2.4 “Landmarks and clues”, vision impaired people may, through the use of remaining senses, identify when they reach a junction especially indoors, but not everyone will do so or do so consistently. It is recommended therefore to provide an audio instruction at all route junctions even if the individual doesn’t need to change direction.

Cane users may use the shoreline to identify junctions. If the announcement is adequate it may even allow the freedom for some travellers to be off the shoreline in order to identify a junction. The announcement should be given 8 +/-1 metres in advance to give time to change shoreline to identify the junction on route.

2.2 Providing reassurance over long distances where no change in direction is required

Where vision impaired people travel on a route of more than 50 metres without needing to change direction, they may wish to check if they are heading in the right direction. Once they hear an instruction they are reassured and may continue as before. An audio instruction to confirm that they are on the right track is recommended to be given at 25 metre intervals. For example:

Keep walking forward.

2.3 Informing about a curve in the pathway

If a pathway has a significant curve, inform vision impaired people in advance so that they do not feel that they have taken a wrong turn. For example:

Keep walking forward. The corridor curves to the left.

Suggestions for further investigation

The following paragraphs are not guidelines but suggested areas for future investigation through user research.

s2.1 Advising to keep on one side on a two-way route

On a route where people are moving in both directions, advise vision impaired users to keep on the side of the route that is best for the direction in which they are travelling. For example:

Turn left and walk forward. Keep on the left side of the corridor after turning.

s2.2 Announcing the pathway type

There are different types of pathways such as corridors, tunnels, ramps etc. It is suggested to announce which type of route they are following. For example:

Turn left and walk forward into the tunnel.