Friday, October 17, 2008
ScienceDaily — In an ideal world, all buses would be wheelchair friendly and train timetables would be available as audio recordings for the visually impaired. Reality has yet to catch up with that vision, so instead European researchers have developed a personal navigation aid to help disabled people make use of public transport.
By letting disabled people know in advance which bus routes, subway lines or rail links are disabled friendly, people with disabilities can plan journeys that they may otherwise be unable to make unassisted. Once on the move, location-based services accessed via a smart phone or handheld computer can highlight points of interest, warn them of potential obstacles and let them change their itinerary as needs be.
“Until you meet with disabled people and talk to them about their needs it is hard to imagine just how difficult using public transport is,” notes Gary Randall, a researcher at BMT in the United Kingdom. “They are scared of finding themselves isolated, of being abandoned in the world.”
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