MBTA rolls out new phone app designed to serve blind riders

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has partnered with Watertown’s Perkins School for the Blind to develop a cellphone app aimed at better serving blind and vision impaired riders.

The new Blindways app, which launched Tuesday, uses crowdsourced directions to help blind patrons navigate Boston’s bus system.

Technology specialist Joann Becker says Blindways was inspired by the failure of other GPS apps, which often lead travelers to within a 30- to 50-foot radius of their destination.

This poses a problem for blind riders, who could be left too far from a bus stop to be noticed and have no idea themselves.

Blindways utilizes micro-navigation to provide further clues to where bus stations are located. The app allows users to hear more about various nearby landmarks such as trees or benches.

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