June 28, 2017 at 6:12 PM
There are an estimated 11.9 million disabled passengers in the UK, and of this figure, one fifth report having difficulty accessing and using public transport. New technology is helping these passengers navigate travel access points more successfully.
The traditional method of assisted travel is the door to door method; this can be costly and at times unreliable for regular service users who have reported late arrivals and an occasionally confusing booking system.
New apps from Wayfindr and Uber aim to make commuting and excursions easier for disabled passengers.
Wayfindr aims specifically to assist blind passengers with navigating stations. After tests at London’s Euston station in 2015, the project was deemed a success.
Wayfindr uses audio technology to aid the visually impaired on their travels, and is a non-profit organisation that develops its technology in collaboration with The Royal Society for blind children and ustwo, a digital product studio, who assist in keeping the app up-to-date with the requirements of visually impaired travellers. The chief executive of Wayfindr, Umesh Pandya, said that he believes in creating “inclusive, trustworthy and delightful products” that operate smoothly in everyday life.
Uber has also launched tech to assist disabled passengers on public transport routes, and the company offers various accessibility features for people with mobility issues, as well as the visually impaired, and the hard of hearing.
The UberWav app is catered to wheelchair users and is reputed to be an easy-to-use and straightforward system that takes just 15 minutes to display the desired information in appropriate detail.
Uberassist is another interesting development that schools drivers in the accommodation of assistive technology, such as mobility scooters and wheelchairs.
The UK is a signing member of the UN convention of the rights of persons with disabilities, and therefore must strive to make transport as efficient as possible for passengers who require assistance during travel.