Texas Tech University

Sowell Center provides blindness simulation to traffic engineers association

Robert Stein

April 11, 2023

Professor Nora Griffin-Shirley guides a blindfolded student.

Traffic engineers from around Texas will navigate Lubbock streets blindfolded.

WHAT:  Texas Tech University faculty and staff will lead traffic engineers from around the state on a blindness simulation in Lubbock.

WHEN:  8 a.m. to noon Wednesday (April 12)

WHERE:  Overton Hotel and Conference Center, 2322 Mac Davis Lane

Professor Nora Griffin-Shirley leads a student on a blindness simulation.

EVENT:  The Texas District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (TexITE) is hosting its annual spring meeting in Lubbock, and members will participate in an orientation and mobility workshop presented by Texas Tech's Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities.

The engineers will don blindfolds and low-vision simulators and take to the streets by the Overton Hotel to experience navigating busy urban areas with a visual impairment. With the guidance of Sowell Center faculty and staff, participants will navigate sidewalks and both controlled and uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. Participants will also analyze complex intersections. Nora Griffin-Shirley, director of the Sowell Center and coordinator of Texas Tech's orientation and mobility program, will lead the workshop.

The workshop is designed to facilitate communication between orientation and mobility specialists and traffic engineers to design streets and intersections that are more accessible and safer for all pedestrians, including those with visual impairments.

CONTACT:  Nora Griffin-Shirley
Director and professor, Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities, College of Education, Texas Tech University