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RNIB Scotland calls for Street Credibility

RNIB Scotland is delighted to bring you our latest report: Street Credibility: making Scotland’s streets accessible for people with sight loss.

Urgent action must be taken to improve street design and accessibility for blind and partially sighted pedestrians. The new report explores street accessibility and safety; issues we have long campaigned on. Inaccessible streets can impact mental health too, the report claims, as many blind or partially sighted pedestrians feel anxious or unable to navigate the outdoors safely.

“Negative experiences can really knock your confidence, when out and about,” says Angela Clelland from Inverness. “We’ve come out of a pandemic, but when spaces and streets aren’t accessible, people stop going out and this impacts on their mental health too.”

Edinburgh resident, Sylvia Paton adds, “There’s no urgency given when a crossing facility is broken for pedestrians. It’s imperative that controlled crossing points are maintained. If not it’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

RNIB Scotland director James Adams adds, “All too often our streets are an obstacle course for blind and partially sighted people,” he says. “We can all play a part in safe streets for everyone. It may sound simple, but we must not ignore the difference that small changes can make to people’s safety and confidence.

“This report is a valuable guide for the decision makers, urban planners, and community leaders who are tasked with creating streets that are inclusive and accessible to all.”

The Street Credibility report has been released amidst a wave of initiatives that are driving changes to Scotland's streetscapes, following significant delays during the pandemic. While many of these changes are positive and support the country's net-zero goals, such as improving walking and cycling infrastructure, poor and inconsistent street design negatively affects the independence and ability of blind and partially sighted people to access their community, social life and work as well as vital services like healthcare.

To address these challenges, the report draws on the policy landscape and research, as well as direct experiences, to provide a checklist on what constitutes inclusive street design for individuals with sight loss.

For more information, please contact RNIB Scotland at: [email protected].