It’s time to improve travel information for the visually impairedThe Trapeze Team | November 07, 2016
We were interested to note that Virgin trains has launched an in-station navigation app for visually impaired passengers. This is a welcome development, since travel information has long been a source of frustration for many partially sighted users of public transport.
Indeed, this is also a common problem with bus travel, where partially sighted travellers tend to suffer three main challenges:
- Where’s the nearest stop? Partially sighted travellers often feel like they are rushing to make a particular bus, and locating unfamiliar stops is a source of concern.
- When is my bus due? Some authorities offer audio commands instigated by RFID fobs, but the equipment is expensive so tends to be limited to particular stops. Using audio also invites stigma and can pose a security risk for vulnerable passengers.
- When do I get off? Knowing where and when to get off is an inconvenience – and often a source of panic. (This is also true for able bodied passengers in unfamiliar areas, of course).
These are challenges we have attempted to address for partially sighted bus users with our new Talking App. Our app uses audio commands to guide passengers to the nearest stop; tells them when their bus is due; and then advises exactly when they need to alight.
Crucially, Talking App works with all stops in the region, whereas traditional RFID solutions are limited to those stops where the authority can afford to install the equipment. And because the app utilises the phone’s natural voiceover features, the user will already be familiar with the interface.
We believe technology like those above can play a huge role in making bus travel more accessible for partially sighted travellers. What do you think?
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