Innovative navigational technology has been installed at six major train interchanges in Melbourne in an effort to assist people living with low vision and blindness to access public transport.
The installation comes in addition to Southern Cross Station, where the pilot program took place in 2017.
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) CEO, Jeroen Weimar, joined Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) CEO, Karen Hayes, at Flinders Street Station to announce the installation of the beacon wayfinding technology at Flinders Street, Flagstaff, Parliament, Melbourne Central, Richmond and Footscray.
“This new technology will improve independent access to Melbourne’s train network for people with low vision or blindness and make it easier for them to navigate these busy stations,” Jeroen Weimar said.
“The roll out of beacon technology is a great example of our ongoing commitment to improving access to Victoria’s public transport network for all passengers.”The beacons, located around the station concourses, send signals to the app BlindSquare, which translates the signal into navigational content.
The app then communicates this information to the user, giving directions to food outlets, toilets, and lifts or escalators.
PTV and Guide Dogs Victoria have recently agreed to a three-year extension of their partnership to further improve accessibility on the public transport network.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Guide Dogs Victoria, which is resulting in initiatives that are making a real difference, especially for the lives of people with low vision or blindness,” Mr Weimar said.
Ms Hayes hoped that hoped that more organisations will follow suit to improve accessibility.
“It’s important that we’re working as a community to make public spaces, events and experiences more accessible to people with vision loss,” Ms Hayes said.
“The announcement demonstrates the power of collaboration in bringing this exciting technology to life, and we look forward to seeing more organisations embrace accessibility in Victoria.”