Sight Line is a set of changes to the design and deployment of roadworks signing and guarding equipment to make roadworks easier to deal with for people with sight loss. I researched and developed it whilst at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in partnership with the Royal London Society for Blind people (RLSB) in 2011/12. The brief for the project came out of research I conducted on the first Sight Line project for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment in 2009/10.
Roadworks present particular difficulties for people with sight loss because of the extent to which they rely on predictability in their environment in order to navigate. Sight Line helps by adding layers of tactile, high-contrast visual and digital information, helping people become aware of and make sense of temporary changes to the street environment. It has been designed to require the smallest possible the changes to equipment minimising the cost of implementation.
In 2012 Sight Line was evaluated in a comparative on-street test with the existing equipment and was preferred by 11 of 13 participants with sight loss. A paper describing the system, the research that informed it and this initial evaluation was published in the Municipal Engineer in March 2015. A longer description of the research, development and testing in 2011 and 2012 can be found in the initial project report.
A working pilot of the system was run as part of Transport for London’s Future Streets Incubator scheme on Fairbridge Road in Islington in partnership with CVU in the spring and summer of 2016. This trial focused on the usability of the system from the contractor’s point of view and the accuracy of the tactile and digital information they provided in the site setup and app entries. A report on this trial was made to TfL in August 2016 with the system as tested described in a technical overview.
As of November 2016 street works equipment supplier PF Cusack are manufacturing barriers and signs that are compliant with the system along with other improvements such as anti-trip feet that they have developed with Guide Dogs. These can be used by contractors with the Android contractor app that was developed as part of the TfL pilot or with the StreetWorks.Info contractor app from PF Cusack (iOS, Android) which adds extra functionality for communicating with the general public.
If you undertake street works and would like a login so you can use the contractor app to write site information to the system please e-mail ross [at] rossatkin [dot] com with your company name and address and we will set you up.