Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Technology That Makes Public Transit Easier

by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern

Taking public transportation can be a source of anxiety for some people who are blind or visually impaired. It can be difficult to locate a bus stop or a train station to get to a destination. New technology offerings make navigating public transit systems easier. First, here are some free or low-cost, useful transportation apps:

The Mapp4All app uses GPS technology to allow users to move around their environment independently, describing transit options, local businesses, and even potential dangers in the area. It is free to download and use.

The Seeing Eye GPS, on the iOS App Store, app offers fully accessible turn-by-turn navigation. Free to download; a monthly subscription costs $5.99.

The Lazzus app gives users real-time updates regarding their surroundings and can assist in locating local businesses or transit stops, increasing independence and mobility. It is free to download, with a 7-day free trial to use; a monthly license costs $4.99, with options to purchase annually or for a lifetime.

The Moovit app, free to download and use, connects travelers to local mass transit locations and schedules and gives live updates and alerts regarding location and destination. Download this free app on the iOS App Store or on the Google Play Store for Android.

A fairly new technology on the market that combines cane usage with GPS and public transportation apps, the WeWalk Smart Cane, invented by WeWalk and Moovit, seeks to improve mobility when riding public transit. Using Moovit’s transit app, the Smart Cane delivers detailed route guidance so that users can find their transit stops with relative ease. The Smart Cane has Bluetooth connectivity, a touchpad, and can be operated through voice commands. Its ultrasonic sensors and a vibrating handle can warn users about objects in their path. It can also send audio or text alerts about re-routes and service disruptions. The Cane can be purchased for $599 on the WeWalk Smart Cane website. Download the WeWalk app here on the iOS App Store for Apple products or here on the Google Play Store for Android. Before purchasing this or other products, check with a mobility professional to ensure that it’s the right product for you.