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The Significance and Specific Understanding of Blind Way Design

In recent years, with economic development, the need for social construction and a change in people's conceptual understanding, the human-oriented design concept of architecture will become a significant design goal for serving humanity and society. It can be said that the research objects of architectural engineering are no longer limited to the buildings themselves but rather the living spaces and places of return that people need. Modern architecture should put people first and foremost, starting with the concept of caring for people's needs and providing good living and activity spaces for everyone, including a certain proportion of disabled people in the population. Currently, the blind way accessible design technology is an important new task for architects.

The significance of blind way design

Currently, the total number of disabled people worldwide has surpassed 500 million, accounting for about 10% of the global population. Their survival conditions affect nearly 300 million relatives and stakeholders. Due to the effects of physical disabilities and environmental barriers, blind people are in a disadvantaged position in social life and face many restrictions even when traveling outdoors. They have become a special disadvantaged group in human society. Therefore, enabling blind people to safely travel and integrate into society is the first step in helping them blend into society and achieve self-realization. In this respect, the development of the blind way is a step to solve this problem.

A specific understanding of blind way design

Visually impaired individuals need perception of their environment and directional judgment the most when walking and moving. They usually rely on touch, hearing, and smell to aid their movements and to understand the spatial characteristics. The initial performance of spatial features is accurate positioning ability. When visually impaired individuals walk on pedestrian pathways, they often do not have accurate and regular linear spatial positioning conditions and can only slowly walk while tapping the ground either left or right. When they encounter various artificial obstacles that prevent them from walking, they often use their canes to tap on the curbstones in the pedestrian walkways at the edge of the roadway. However, this walking method is a dangerous state for disabled people, and it easily causes traffic accidents and injuries. Therefore, blind way needs to be set up on pedestrian footpaths where major buildings, commercial streets, residential areas, and other places can be found to assist visually impaired individuals in walking straight forward safely with the help of their canes and the tactile sensation on the soles of their feet. In major public buildings in cities, such as government agencies, transportation facilities, cultural buildings, commercial and service buildings, medical buildings, elderly care buildings, music halls, parks, and tourist attractions, blind way should be set up at entrances, service desks, halls, stairs, elevators, telephones, restrooms, and platforms, among other locations.

Blind way is divided into two categories to guide visually impaired individuals to walk forward and to inform them of a change in the spatial environment or their arrival location. Tactile walkway indicators are in the form of strips, each of which is 5mm higher than the surface of the brick. Walking on them will cause the cane and the sole of the foot to sense them. They primarily guide visually impaired individuals to walk safely straight forward. Tactile guidance dots are in the form of round dots, each of which is 5mm higher than the ground. Similarly, walking on them will also cause the cane and sole of the foot to sense them, informing visually impaired individuals that a change in spatial environment will occur ahead. This information allows them to prepare psychologically and continue to move forward. Blind way design is a basic technical requirement, which is not complex, nor does it require very special design. We just need to consider the needs of both disabled and healthy individuals, and the fundamental starting point of both is "convenient use," which is consistent rather than contradictory.

Research status of blind way design in the future

Although current blind way technology has solved the problem of difficult travel for the blind to a certain extent, some users still report that the raised parts of guiding bars make it difficult for those who have used them to walk on blind ways. Some blind people even give up the idea of using blind ways because of the discomfort that it brings. How to make the design of blind way more humane by exploring issues such as the choice of materials and the depth of concavities and convexities of guiding bars is still a need for further exploration.

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