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People with impaired vision are encouraged to facilitate access improvements in their neighborhoods, by working with local councils, government authorities and shopkeepers.

Client with guide dog at train station

Environmental Design

Good environmental design benefits the community as a whole, not just those with impaired vision. It uses natural features and materials without modifying the environment unnecessarily. Consistency of design assists people with vision impairment in being independent and empowers them as they make their way through their world.

Specific guidelines for access in the built environment can be found in the 1428 suite of Australian Standards.

1428.1 Part 1: General requirements for access — New building work
1428.2 Part 2: Enhanced and additional requirements — Buildings and facilities
1428.3 Part 3: Requirements for children and adolescents with physical disabilities
1428.4 Part 4: Tactile indicators

Hazards and Obstructions

 People with vision impairment often encounter hazards and obstacles as they travel through the environment. Simple design solutions to minimise hazards will benefit the entire community.

 What is the difference between obstacles and hazards?

Obstructions or obstacles are things that prevent or hinder movement and cause inconvenience. These might include planters, A-frame signs, outdoor dining areas, cafe seating. Hazards are things that can obstruct movement but also generate issues of safety. These may include overhead obstacles and pedestal objects.


  • Uneven footpaths due to tree roots (tripping hazard)
  • Overhanging signs, trees and foliage (overhead hazard)
  • Pedestal objects such as telephone booths (head height hazard)
  • Poorly designed stairs and escalators where there is no protection underneath (head height hazard)
  • Skateboards / Bicycles


  • Planter boxes
  • Poles
  • A-frame signs and other advertising boards
  • Outdoor dining areas / café seating
  • Shop displays
  • Street furniture
  • Prams and pushers
  • People standing in the middle of the footpath

  Guide Dogs

Guide Dog Users have no obligation to verify the status of their dog. They may choose to show their Guide Dog Passport, which identifies them as a Guide Dog User, or provide their details for confirmation.

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