Sight Impaired in Public Transport Revisited - An Investigation of Perception Gaps Between Sight Impaired and Public Transport Companies

Sight Impaired in Public Transport Revisited - An Investigation of Perception Gaps Between Sight Impaired and Public Transport Companies


C Vogelauer, E W M Fuerst, WU Vienna, AT


A match of quantitative and qualitative survey data a GAP-analysis will reveal the commonalities and differences in sight impaireds and public transport providers and authorities perception of needs, solutions and barriers in public transport.


Building on last year’s very well received paper on the mobility of sight impaired persons in public transport, we will now present the next bunch of findings of the large scale research project “Mobility of Sight Impaired in Public Transport”. The results from the suppliers’ survey (which were put in focus last year) were now matched with results from the survey of the visually impaired. This GAP-analysis regarding the persons concerned on one side and the transport companies and public authorities on the other provided interesting insights and yielded implications for transferring the outcomes to practical applications.

One has to bear in mind that sight impaired people form an important and quantitatively significant target group for their own. Still, they are regularly mistaken with blind people although their needs and requirements are completely different. As a consequence, measures taken for the blind do not help visually impaired people at all. Sight impaired persons – as they are defined for the purpose of our project – still rely on their eyesight whereas blind people have to replace this sense by aiding devices or other people’s support. Due to the fact that people with impaired sight have specific needs and requirements regarding their mobility, which are of course also different from those of unimpaired persons, it is highly indicated to put a particular focus on the research regarding their respective mobility barriers as well as supporting factors.

The data for our GAP-analysis is taken from a wave of quantitative face-to-face interviews with more than 80 sight impaired regular public transport users achieving a population-representative quota for the sight impaired in Austria. On the suppliers’ side, data is derived from a representative set of indepth interviews with transport companies, vehicle providers and public authorities from Germany,
Austria and Switzerland covering all modes of public transport (bus, train, air and ship), respectively.

After a short recapitulation of the supplier’s viewpoint, the focus of our new paper lies on a presentation of the findings of the survey of the visual impaired and particularly the consecutive GAP analyses of the two perspectives. We shall thus identify commonalities and differences in the perceived needs and barriers to the group of the sight impaired. Furthermore, we will discuss the proposed solutions by transport companies and match those with the preferred measures by persons concerned. Due to the detailed data on both sides we will present per-mode information on the most hindering and fostering factors for the mobility of sight impaired.

Eventually, we conclude whether and to which extent the viewpoints of public transport companies and authorities meet those of the sight impaired, present recommendations for the improvement of public transport services and show the most neuralgic points in existing systems that need to be eliminated in order to achieve improved social inclusion of sight impaired people and thus making some important steps towards a system “designed4all”.


Association for European Transport