All Dutch train stations now accessible for the visually impaired
For the last three years, ProRail, The Eye Association Netherlands (Oogvereniging) and more than 200 Dutch municipalities have worked together to make Dutch train stations accessible to the 350.000 blind or partially sighted people in the Netherlands. On Tuesday, October 31, the task, costing around 30 million euros, was completed.
In order to make NS stations accessible to the blind and partially sighted, more than 90 kilometres of visible and perceptible guidelines have been installed in 410 train stations. The guidelines will ensure that visually impaired people do not lose their way.
In addition to the guidelines, navigation in the station has been addressed and 800 braille signs have been introduced. These can be found at lifts and stairs and inform the reader about the platform which the stairs or lift leads to or the route to the street.
Sound tiles have also been placed in stations. They produce a different sound to the surrounding tiles when tapped with a cane or foot, and often mark a crossing or the end of a guiding strip. You can see them in front of service shops and check-in poles.
A further 5.000 spoken route descriptions have been added to stations and obstacles have been removed from walking paths.
Moreover, extra stair railings fall under the measures taken to improve accessibility for the visually impaired. In the central stations in Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam, tactile maps of the stations have been created as well.