About ADB

Accessible Design for the Blind

Accessible Design for the Blind is committed to making travel safer for pedestrians with disabilities through research, consultation, education and advocacy.

Accessible Design for the Blind is a woman-owned business that was started in 1992 by Billie Louise (Beezy) Bentzen.  The business was incorporated in 2004 as Barlow Design, Inc. doing business as Accessible Design for the Blind; Janet M. Barlow is now President and Dr. Bentzen continues as Director of Research.  Both Dr. Bentzen and Ms. Barlow are Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists with a long history of teaching safe travel techniques to pedestrians who are blind or who have low vision, many of whom also have cognitive, mobility or hearing impairments. Building on this direct service background, they have participated in an extensive research program designed to make the built environment more accessible to pedestrians with disabilities.

The principals of ADB authored Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Guide to Best Practices and Detectable Warnings: Synthesis of U.S and International Practice and numerous articles and papers on accessibility issues. . They have been involved with standards development as members of the Signals Technical Committee of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the American National Standards Institute Committee A117 on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, the Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee of the U.S. Access Board, and The International Organization For Standards (ISO) Technical Committee on Assistive Products for Persons with Disability.

Dr. Bentzen and Ms. Barlow regularly present sessions and seminars on access issues for pedestrians who are blind or who have low vision at conferences of the Transportation Research Board, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the American Council of the Blind, and other organizations, and have written extensively on the topic. Each has over twenty-five years of committed experience in teaching, training, presentation, writing, and researching safe travel for pedestrians with disabilities.

Current projects involve research on crossing treatments at roundabouts, research and development of guidelines and instructional materials on the use and installation of accessible pedestrian signals, and research on wayfinding surfaces, techniques, and technologies. These projects are conducted with the support of the National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the U.S. Access Board, and the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.