The journey experience of visually impaired people on public transport in London


This study has examined the issue of people with visual impairment taking public transport in London.

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Access to information is a major barrier to people with visual impairment. Having access to the Internet is not equivalent to being able to receive information updates, because they are not always in an accessible format at easy-to-reach places. Findings suggest that there’s great scope for improvement in terms of accessible travel aids on public transport, based on the existing journey experience of people with visual impairment.

The use of public transport is critical for Visually Impaired People (VIP) to be independent and have access to out-of-home activities. Despite government policies promoting accessible transport for everyone, the needs of VIP are not well addressed, and journeys can be very difficult to negotiate. Journey requirements can often differ from those of other categories of people on the disability spectrum. Therefore, the aim of this research is to evaluate the journey experience of VIP using public transport. Semi-structured interviews conducted in London are used. The results show that limited access to information, inconsistencies in infrastructure and poor availability of staff assistance are the major concerns. Concessionary travel, on the other hand, encourages VIP to make more trips and hence has a positive effect on well-being. The findings suggest that more specific policies should be introduced to cater to the special needs of particular disabilities rather than generalising the types of aids available. It is also concluded that the journey experience of VIP is closely related to an individual’s independence and hence inclusion in society.



Journal/Book/Website Title

Transport Policy

Date Published




Peer Reviewed:



Low, W.-Y., Cao, M., De Vos, J., & Hickman, R. (2020). The journey experience of visually impaired people on public transport in London. Transport Policy, 97, 137-148.

Country of Publication:

United Kingdom



Countries of Subject Matter:

United Kingdom



Journal Article