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On International Persons with Disabilities Day, Moovit and WeWALK join forces to enhance the mobility of visually impaired people

Published: November 30, 2021

Blind and low vision public transit riders never have to miss their bus — or stop — again 

According to the World Health Organization, there are over 253 million visually impaired people worldwide, many of whom rely on the white cane to get around. And while the white cane has become a symbol of independence, it can still be challenging for its users to reach distances further away, especially using public transit. For instance, blind or low vision people may be uncertain that they’ve caught the right bus or can’t read the entrance sign needed to access the metro.

At Moovit, we’re dedicated to simplifying mobility and making it accessible for all. The Moovit app provides users real-time arrival information so users know exactly when their bus or train is arriving, a Live Directions feature with Get Off Alerts to provide step-by-step guidance for the entire journey, and Service Alerts so they can avoid disruptions on usual lines and plan their journey accordingly. 

What some people may not yet know is that Moovit also incorporates accessibility features, empowering people across the disability spectrum to use public transportation with more assurance. The app is optimized with screen reading features for low vision users, including TalkBack/VoiceOver capabilities, identifies wheelchair-accessible routes and stations, and calculates step-free routes. The app is also designed with optimized menus and buttons for those with hand-motor disabilities.  After all, public transit is the lifeline to jobs, education, healthcare, and more, so it’s imperative that cities become more inclusive, and accessible to everyone.

Man holding WeWALK smart caneThis upcoming International Persons with Disabilities Day, we’re excited to announce our partnership with WeWALK, the UK startup behind the award-winning smart cane, to take our accessibility capabilities to the next level and help provide the technology needed for blind and partially sighted people to use public transit seamlessly to access more opportunities for employment, education, social activities, and more.

WeWALK has invented a smart device that attaches to a white cane, warning users of low hanging objects and obstacles via ultrasonic sensors and a vibrating handle. Paired with WeWALK smartphone app via Bluetooth, users can use hand gestures on their WeWALK device or voice assistance to access mobility services.

Marrying Moovit’s Transit API and WeWALK enables WeWALK users to fully plan out their route to their destination, including the ability to:

  • Identify and navigate to bus stops more easily and ensure they are at the correct station
  • Access real-time arrival information to know exactly when the bus or train is arriving
  • Get Live Directions for accessible step-by-step guidance for the entire journey, including multimodal routes
  • Receive audio and text Get Off Alerts to ensure boarding and alighting at the right stop 
  • Obtain Service Alerts to avoid disruptions on usual lines and proactively plan the journey ahead 

Man sitting in a seat on the metro, holding white cane with WeWALK's smart gadget attached

At Moovit, we constantly strive to simplify mobility so that people feel more at ease while getting to their destination. With WeWALK, we are able to walk the walk — break down more mobility barriers, and do our part in making cities more accessible.

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