Tactile Street Name Signs – A potential Universal Concept

  • We have no universal language but we do have some universal assistance in the form of symbols and pictograms, or Braille, to help us find a destination or facility.

    It is therefore not possible to have universal text on street name signs, although their design and location could be universally adopted.

    Sydney Council is currently erecting 2,000 Braille and tactile street name signs on traffic signal poles throughout its entire area.

    The signs carry the street name and property numbers in white text on a black background, and are fixed at a standard height, where they can be easily found and touch-read by people who are blind, or read at close range by people who have low vision. The signs have proven to be useful for people who have a speech or hearing impairment, as they provide a measure of dignity and independence without the need to seek help.

    For example, a person who is deafblind is now able to navigate a path of travel around the City of Sydney without having to rely on personal assistance.

    This paper outlines the development of the signs and explains how the concept could be adopted by any City in the world.


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