Human behavioural sciences completed projects

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Understanding the effects of COVID-19 isolation and social distancing on people with vision impairment

Working in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, Guide Dogs carried out an online survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, on people with vision impairment. Over 900 people with vision impairment completed the survey.

The findings evidence the difficulties faced by people with vision impairment during COVID-19. Respondents tended to agree that they are making use of technologies and making the most of the situation. However, respondents strongly agreed that they were more concerned about their loved ones and tended to agree about being concerned about the implications of their own actions as well as those of others. They also tended to agree about being more reliant on others for assistance. While respondents rated delivery services and medical services, respectively, as fairly or very good, they were indifferent about the support they have received from transport services and the government.

Finally, confidence with the 2-metre social distancing was low; especially regarding the extent to which services have considered vision impairment when setting up their 2-metre markings. A full report on the findings of this study is available via the University of Nottingham Business School.

Impact of vehicles parked on pavements

This study explored the frequency of encounters with, and the impact of, pavement parked vehicles on people with sight loss. Over 95% of participants with vision impairment reported parked cars on the pavement were a regularly experienced problem.

Participants with vision impairment and assistance dog owners consistently reported greater impacts on their use of public spaces than those without vision impairment. Self-reported quality of life and emotional impacts were negatively affected by pavement parked vehicles for ≥ 40% of participants. Those with vision impairment encountered vehicles on the pavement more frequently than those without vision impairment and were more likely to sustain an injury as a result, although the frequency of injuries reported was low.

Over 90% of participants from all groups reported having to walk into the road to navigate around vehicles parked on the pavement, highlighting the scale of the issue and the need to review legislation nationally. Participants who lived in London consistently reported fewer problems due to vehicles parked on the pavement compared with the rest of England. This study provided evidence to support our Streets Ahead Campaign. 

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