Lothian Buses has developed the UK’s first travel app for blind and partially sighted passengers. Working in close conjunction with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the app allows visually-impaired passengers to travel more independently through Edinburgh.
The free app (available on Apple and Android Smartphones) will now include VoiceOver technology which will allow blind and partially sighted customers to have any part of the app spoken to them including next stop announcements and walking directions to a bus or tram stop. With the app installed, a customer can point their phone at a tram or bus stop and the phone will announce the name of the stop and where services go from there.
The app provides real-time departure information for every bus and tram stop in Edinburgh. It also knows which bus or tram a passenger is travelling on using GPS, and can announce the next stop even if the phone is locked and in the passenger’s pocket. This means blind and partially sighted passengers won’t miss their stop.
Professor Stephen Gilmore, of the QUANTICOL project at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Transport for Edinburgh have advanced the concept of accessibility to an unbelievable extent. I hope that other transport companies all around the UK and indeed in every country in the world will follow their lead and use the new Transport for Edinburgh app as an inspiring example of how to make visually-impaired passengers’ experience on public transport better, easier, and safer”.