TRCLC 16-5

Travel behavior of blind individuals before and after receiving orientation and mobility training (Phase 2: Full-scale Study)

Principal Investigators - PI: Dae Kim; Co-PIs: C. Scott Smith, Elyse Connors
Project Start and End Dates: September 1, 2016 – April 30, 2018

This study devised, tested, and refined a new method for assessing O&M training involving Global Positioning System (GPS) data loggers and accelerometers to collect objective, quantitative, and valid measures of blind individuals’ travel behavior, physical activity pre- and post-O&M training.

Research Results:

The researchers found that the perceived difficulty with mobility among study participants, measured by the aggregate DMQ-23 score, was significantly lower after receiving O&M training indicating enhanced confidence in their mobility skills once they received the training. Small but statistically significant increases in trip distances and durations were found after the training, as measured via more objective measures gleaned from GPS and accelerometer data although no significant gains were observed among study participants in terms of more general physical activity.

Pooled Objective Travel Behavior (i.e., Trip) and Physical Activity Mean Values Before (Pre-) and After (Post-) Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training

DMQ-23 Difficulty with Mobility Questionnaire Mean Scores Before (Pre-) and After (Post-) Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Training

Participants felt more confident in their mobility skills once they received the training. However, although there was an increase in trip distance and duration, an improvement in participants’ perceived ability to get around didn’t translate to actual increase in number of trips or level of physical activity of visually impaired individuals.

The results of this study are consistent with the findings of some of the previous studies in that subjective measures of physical activity, including walking in the community, and actual physical activity level do not tend to correlate closely with each other. It is possible that lack of readily available public transit system where the participants resided prevented them from attempting to travel to places that are meaningful to them even after receiving an O&M training.


Final Report