The Complete Trip
Your friend who you havenít seen in almost a year is in town and wants to meet for coffee. She suggests a new place across town. You donít drive a car and you have trouble finding your way to new locations via public transportation. For many of us, this would be a minor inconvenience. But for Andy, who is blind and uses a cane to navigate, the daily mobility challenge of getting from point A to point B keeps him from living life to the fullest.
Transportation is the key to access to employment, education, healthcare, and all that life has to offer. Access to public transportation gives people, especially those with disabilities, greater independence. However, people like Andy can face additional hurdles: physical barriers such as crossing streets and inaccessible sidewalks, as well as difficulties planning accessible routes.
The USDOT is funding six technology innovations in three technology areas under its Accessible Transportation Technology Research Initiative (ATTRI) to make the transportation system easier for people with disabilities.
- Wayfinding and Navigation (add link to landing page) applications guide wheelchair users and people with visual impairments along routes using smart phone applications and other assistive technologies. Four different projects are awarded.
- A Pre-trip and Concierge (add link) application suite supports pre-trip planning for individuals with cognitive disabilities.
- The Safe Intersection Crossing (add link) application uses connected vehicle technology to connect pedestrians with the traffic signal system to improve the safety of intersection crossings and increase independent mobility.
In addition, applications in a fourth technology area, Robotic and Automation (add link), are being funded in partnership with The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
Together, these innovations will increase independent mobility for people with disabilities and ultimately benefit all travelers. More information about these awards can be found at [Link to Fact Sheet].
Sometime soon, Andy will be able to plan and book his trip across town using the pre-trip concierge system, funded by ATTRI. In the future scenario (shown below), a shuttle takes him to the transit station and an assistive robot helps him board the bus. Through his wayfinding application, Andy receives direction on when to press the stop button on the bus, and gets turn by turn walking directions to the coffee shop. Andy uses a Smart Cane assistive navigation tool to navigate through the route to the coffee shop, avoiding a closed sidewalk and locating the best entry to the building. As he approaches an intersection, Andyís safe intersection crossing application communicates with the traffic signal to allow sufficient time for him to cross the street, and notifies him when it is safe to begin crossing. When he is ready to leave, the pre-trip concierge application will help him plan his trip home. Andy arrives at the coffee shop, meets his friend, and she asks to download some of the apps so she can find her way around the city.
Through these awards, the USDOT is making a significant investment in creating solutions for travelers with disabilities and engaging other federal agencies and public- private partners in testing and deploying ATTRI applications. These applications will provide independent mobility for people with disabilities and all travelers, so they can live life to the fullest.