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Berlin's U-Bahn looks out for visually impaired


Access to public transportation can be a real barrier for people with limited or no vision, but Berlin's U-Bahn subway system is trying to make that easier. The system is using a variety of means to make it easier to navigate.

Among the most visible strategies is providing big visual clues to those with limited sight for reading; each station is designed or revised with its own color and graphic scheme. A gallery of some of them is at HERE.

The Berlin transit operator BVG is also enhancing loudspeaker systems in stations. A spokesman said "This would mean that people who are visually impaired will no longer have to read everything; they will have everything read for them," he explained.."

Grooves in the platform have two uses, both for those who sense location with their canes. One set marks the visible tiles that warn passengers not to get too close to the tracks; the other provides a guide path to stairs, escalators and exits.

And, of course, the colorful station designs are also helpful to visitors who may not be familiar with the system, but can look out for, say, "the station where hearts grow on trees."

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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