Travel, transport and mobility

Title: Travel, transport, and mobility of people who are blind and partially sighted in the UK.

Author: Sue Pavey, Andrew Dodgson, Dr Graeme Douglas, Dr Ben Clements; Publisher: Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham; Year of publication: 2009.

Background

This is the final report for the project entitled ‘Travel, Transport, and Mobility of people who are blind and partially sighted in the UK’. The project was funded by the RNIB. The aim of the research was to gain a clear understanding of the opinions and circumstances of registered blind and partially sighted people in relation to travel, transport and mobility. The project has two distinct phases: The first phase involved an in-depth analysis of qualitative data relating to ‘transport, travel and mobility’ which had been collected during the first survey of the Network 1000 project. The second phase ‘connected’ these qualitative sources of data to closed questions related to this topic, as well as synthesising these findings with other relevant literature. This report presents outcomes of the both phases of the project.

Key findings    

  • In Network 1000 Survey 1,960 participants were asked an open question which simply prompted them to tell the researcher “about things in relation to your visual impairment that are very important”.    
  • An initial analysis of this source of data found that some 394 of the participants identified issues relating to ‘travel, transport and mobility’.    
  • Further analysis of this theme revealed that responses could be usefully coded into four main themes: mobility on foot, driving, public transport and independence and flexibility    
  • While the barriers to general mobility, travel and use of transport experienced by all visually impaired people are enormous, the research suggests that some groups may be particularly vulnerable.