MCDOT announces guide to improve accessibility for people with vision disabilities


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is creating new ways to improve accessibility for people with vision disabilities.

MCDOT has a guide design titled Planning and Designing Streets to be Safer and More Accessible for People with Vision Disabilities. According to the department, this guide will work to create accessibility for people vision-impaired residents by developing strategies for public engagement, staff training and improved pedestrian walkway design.

MCDOT ensured to include extensive input from residents, service providers and organizations supporting people with vision disabilities.

“Montgomery County is leading the nation with this guide on inclusive infrastructure design,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Throughout COVID-19, our residents have enjoyed spending more time outdoors and walking. It is imperative that safe and accessible walkways and gathering spaces are built with everyone in mind.”

 MCDOT is aiming to create several Walking Surface Indicators that can be used to guide low-vision pedestrians.

According to the department, surfaces indicators, are tactile plates that are put on the ground and are used to alert people with low vision of potential hazards, such as moving vehicles.

MCDOT is currently working on several of these designs and they hope to implement them into the county within the next few months. 

“If you can’t see or you can’t see very well, it can be very difficult to do things that others may find easy like crossing the street or finding the bus stop. MCDOT wants to make things easier for people with impaired vision to promote safety and equality,” said Matt Johnson, Capital Project Manager, Division of Transportation Engineering, Montgomery County Department of Transportation.

According to MCDOT, after feedback is received, the County will start work to apply the accessibility designs at two pilot intersections in Downtown Silver Spring.

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