The fourth project of the ways4all research series, ways4me, developed an app for mobile devices that helps blind and visually impaired people use public transport in big cities.

ways4me examines the question of how visually impaired people find their way to their destination in a big city without assistance. Together with blind mobility experts, the project consortium under the direction of FH JOANNEUM developed various applications for mobile devices that help visually impaired people use public transport.

The modular application had to meet the following requirements:

  • Indoor and outdoor navigation using Open Street Map in or near railway stations and other public transport hubs to find their bearings quickly and easily;
  • Access to transport information, such as tube, tram and bus departure times;
  • Communication with the vehicles, so that people can find the right vehicle, for example at stations with multiple stops .

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User interface for blind people

In addition to accuracy and safety, particular attention was placed on the app being user-friendly for blind people. While accessing transport information and communication with the vehicles worked very well thanks to close cooperation with the Austrian railway company ÖBB and the Wiener Linien public transit services, indoor navigation posed a challenge for the project team due to technical tracking limitations. This will be dealt with in subsequent projects.

Two other projects are currently ongoing
  • PONS focuses on the needs of the elderly and wheelchair users.
  • aim4it is geared towards the needs of deaf people and blind people.