Innovative app to transform London Underground travel for the blind

Published on : Saturday, October 14, 2017

WayfindrTransport for London (TfL) currently is all set to offer a unique system enabling people to seek assistance to be led to the platform as a transit worker waits on the other end to convey them back above the ground.


The experience is believed to be quite beneficial.


But then it is hardly perfect for people really requiring it. This is because being escorted to the platform is likely to cause embarrassment and a good deal of discomfort to many, especially when they are eager to go about their daily life just like anybody else.


At present a brand new technology prototype is making efforts to cooperate with the visually impaired Londoners to comfortably navigate the tube solo.


This is known as the ‘Wayfindr’. It is actually a brand new system that is being trialled by TfL to assist the blind community of London by permitting them to hop over between stations utilizing audio direction prompts from their smartphones.


Thanks to the Bluetooth-equipped beacons, Wayfindr lets people know where they are on the network by transmitting a signal easily picked up by a plane triggering an audio instruction guiding the user around the station.


The new game-changing app operates in a way that is quite similar to Citymapper.


They can tell the app the stations they wish to travel to and from, and also the technology would be figuring out their best route.


Wayfindr would also offer handy audio prompts including ‘escalator coming up’ and ‘turn left at the bottom of the stairs’ as the user walks past a few iBeacons that are well on their way to be installed throughout every station.


This idea was conceived by the Royal London Society for Blind People with assistance from Ustwo that is the design firm, after a focus group with millennials said that independent travel was one of the largest issues impacting blind and partially sighted people today.


Florence Orban who is the Director of Corporate Development mentioned that the idea originated from the young people but then it would be working beautifully for everyone.


Already the idea has received £1 million funds via the Google Impact Challenge Disabilities programme.


Recently it has undergone successful trials in both Euston and Pimlico stations. The creators of Wayfindr believe that the app has immense potential to significantly contribute to a better quality of lives of the 2 million people in the United Kingdom who have been living with sight loss.


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