Perkins School for the Blind Launches Public Transportation App

The app, called BlindWays, uses crowdsourcing to help users find bus stops.

A woman approaches the door of a bus stopped at an MBTA bus stop.

Joann Becker, who inspired the BlindWays app, about to board a bus.

September 22, 2016

Imagine standing at what you thought was a bus stop, only to have the bus blow past you. That’s an experience Joann Becker is all too familiar with.

Becker, who is blind, remembers growing increasingly frustrated during the winter months, when her GPS would bring her close—but not close enough—to a bus stop, and she would be left standing in the cold.

Becker, an assistive technology specialist at Perkins School for the Blind, brought the problem to Luiza Aguiar, director of products at Perkins Solutions. With all the technology we have, Aguiar thought, there must be a way to solve the issue of micronavigation, or filling the not-close-enough gap left by GPS. In coordination with RaizLabs, Perkins developed BlindWays as a way to fill that gap.

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