Compensation of visual impairments in traffic

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Background: Independent mobility is very important for social as well as economical reasons. Consequently, optimization of mobility is one of the most frequent requests for support in the rehabilitation services for visually impaired people. For safe participation in traffic it is important that one compensates ones impairments sufficiently. This requires the right choice of vehicle as well as awareness of the (medical) situation, one’s rights and duties in traffic and the individual options to optimize traffic safety.
Methods: The visual impairment can be compensated by using aids, training skills or adapting behavior. Since 1998 Royal Dutch Visio and the University of Groningen have conducted a series of scientific studies to develop evidence based rehabilitation programs for visually impaired people to optimize their individual mobility. These include all regular modalities of fast and slow motorized traffic as well as bicycling.
Results: Over 1200 patients enrolled in one of our mobility programs. Based on the model of Michon (1976) we differentiate strategical, tactical and operational levels in mobility tasks. Mobility problems of visually impaired people often become apparent on the operational level (e.g. steering, position control and obstacle avoidance) which requires reaction on a very short time basis. In our rehabilitation programs people are made aware of their individual options to compensate for this on the strategical and tactical level. Correct anticipation and compensation allows them a wider time window to make the correct decisions and to show safe and confident traffic behaviour.
Conclusion: Mobility programs of rehabilitation services for visually impaired people should pay attention to individual compensation strategies in order to optimize safe traffic behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventConference of the European Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation (ESLRR) - Keble College, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 25-Sept-201527-Sept-2015


ConferenceConference of the European Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation (ESLRR)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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