Following a successful pilot project at Pimlico station in early 2015, Wayfindr has been awarded a $1m grant by Google.org as part of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities program.
Wayfindr is the product of a joint venture between the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) and digital product studio, Ustwo and is seeking to change the way that visually impaired people navigate around our cities. In order to do this the not-for-profit company is working on an open standard that can be used by developers and existing mapping systems to ensure that their products can be easily used for navigation by the visually impaired.
Earlier in the year London Underground commissioned Wayfindr to trial a pilot project in Pimlico station and, following the positive results of that, has now commissioned the company to trial it at Euston station. The project works by giving audio directions from a smartphone app that interacts through beacons installed throughout the station. So far the feedback has been positive, with Wayfindr now adapting the navigation system to ensure that all instructions are concise and that the terminology is clear and universally understandable.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP said: “We’re always striving to find new and innovative ways to help give more people the confidence to travel on our transport network. The Wayfindr project is a great example of our wider work to improve accessibility in London, which includes hundreds of millions of pounds invested into step-free stations and new trains designed to be accessible to all. I look forward to the results of this hugely exciting trial, which is making use of the latest smartphone technology to help vision impaired people get around our city more easily.”
It is not hard to envision how Wayfindr could be used in all of our cities, towns and public places. The company is already set to begin trials in other urban settings, including retail environments and hospitals, and wants to set the standard to make cities worldwide more accessible to the vision impaired.
For more information, please visit wayfindr.net