TfL and KeolisAmey Docklands trial app to enhance accessibility for visually impaired customers

Posted: 4 July 2023 | | No comments yet

TfL and KeolisAmey Docklands will trial the NaviLens technology at four DLR stations, working alongside on-board Passenger Service Agents to enhance accessibility and serve customers with diverse needs.

TfL and KeolisAmey Docklands trial app to enhance accessibility for visually impaired customers

Credit: Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) and KeolisAmey Docklands, operator of the DLR, have partnered with GoMedia and The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to trial NaviLens, an app aimed at helping blind or partially sighted customers navigate stations. The six-month trial will be conducted at Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, Woolwich Arsenal and Tower Gateway DLR stations.

NaviLens is designed to provide blind and partially sighted individuals with access to information and help them interact with their environment, particularly in busy areas such as train stations. The technology, which uses augmented smart codes for image recognition, has already been successfully deployed in New York Metro, Barcelona and Los Angeles. It is even used in supermarkets on Kellogg’s packaging to provide ingredient information.

The NaviLens app works by scanning the smart codes placed along customer itineraries, allowing users to receive voice guidance and practical information about their journey. The app can provide descriptions of physical elements, guidance indications and real-time DLR arrivals and departures.

During the trial, audio announcements will be made at stations, staff members at Woolwich Arsenal DLR station will be available and Passenger Service Agents on DLR trains will assist passengers. The NaviLens app can also transmit the information in the smart codes in augmented reality, supporting individuals who face language barriers or are unfamiliar with London. It also offers information in 33 different languages.

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Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “The NaviLens app should make a real difference for partially sighted customers and help make London’s transport network accessible to all. The DLR is one of the most accessible modes of transport on our network and this new technology will go even further to help customers with access needs travel with ease, building a better, safer and fairer London for all.”

Tom Page, General Manager of the DLR at TfL, said: “With step-free access across the DLR network, the NaviLens technology will allow us to use four stations to trial how we can best serve everyone, including those with accessibility needs or needing to access information in other languages.”

Andrew Dickinson, Service Delivery Director at KeolisAmey Docklands, said: “This trial is an exciting partnership collaboratively working to improve the customer experience for those who are partially sighted or fully blind. By embracing and building on technological developments we can build the connectivity of the Docklands area to those living around it.”

Robin Spinks, RNIB Head of Inclusive Design, said: “Navigating train and light rail stations can be a very daunting and anxiety provoking experience for people living with blindness or partial sight. As someone who is registered severely sight impaired, I can struggle to navigate around train stations as the signs are often inaccessible to me. I don’t want special treatment; I just want access to the same information that everyone else takes for granted.”