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 (ADB) 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. For more than 15 years, Janet M. Barlow and Dr. Bentzen served as the principal officers of ADB. Each with long histories as Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists teaching safe travel techniques to pedestrians who are blind or who have low vision, many of whom also have cognitive, mobility or hearing impairments, Ms. Barlow and Dr. Bentzen built upon their direct service backgrounds to engage in an extensive research program designed to make the built environment more accessible to pedestrians with disabilities.
The members of the broader ADB team keenly feel the loss of Janet and remain dedicated to the ADB mission in her honor and memory. In 2022, the business was reorganized and registered as Accessible Design for the Blind, LLC. The company is led by Dr. Bentzen (Director of Research), Jennifer Graham (Research Associate), Linda Myers (Research Associate), and Alan Scott (President). Each member has 20+ years of experience in teaching, training, presenting, writing, and/or researching safe travel for pedestrians with disabilities. This team continues to offer the very specialized human factors research and consulting services in accessibility for people who are vision disabled that have been the signature of ADB for 30 years.
The principal members of ADB past and present have authored Accessible Pedestrian Signals: A Guide to Best Practices, 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.
Members of ADB 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. 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.
Current projects involve research on crossing treatments at roundabouts and at protected and other alternative intersections; research on treatments for separated bike lanes at sidewalk level, and for pedestrian crossings of bike lanes of various designs; and research on the design, installation, and usability of tactile walking surface indicators for a number of purposes. 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.