Jo's Story

Meet Jo:

Jo is partially blind. She uses public transport to get about regularly and uses a stick. She travels on the train both on regular and new journeys frequently. She is tech-savvy and uses apps like Blindsquare and App&Town to travel about, and has accounts with the train operator and with React. She buys tickets online and downloads her tickets to her mobile phone.

 

Jo’s Journey:

Jo is going to London from Manchester. She knows which train she is using and has her tickets already. She is familiar with Manchester but not Euston station.

Jo wakes up and checks that the train is running using her phone’s ‘talk to me’ functionality.

She loads up ‘App&Town’ and, though she feels she doesn’t need end-to-end support, she would benefit from real-time bus information and advice to get to the station, so uses the app to find the best route from her home to Manchester Piccadilly by bus.

She uses navigational help in the walking route to the bus stop but, once arrived, she then receives real-time announcements from the bus stop itself, as it is equipped with React technology. This means she doesn’t have to be in the travel app to know what is happening, and can rely on the ‘talking beacons’ installed at the bus stop to receive real-time updates about her journey, including when her bus is due to arrive.

Via the React Interactive system, the bus operator has been advised in advance that there is a blind person waiting at the bus stop. This avoids embarrassment for a person with an invisible disability, and helps the driver offer a sympathetic and helpful service that lets Jo embark the vehicle with ease.

Upon walking into the station, her React trigger app is recognised by an announcer beacon called ‘Wayfinder’ that has been installed at the entrance of the station, this instantly sends an alert to station staff to inform them of the arrival of a visually impaired passenger.

This Wayfinder announcer uses audio (‘Talks’) to let Jo know  that the information point is approximately 50m ahead of her,  information which is also relayed to her by her phone.

As Jo approaches the information point, her trigger app is also  recognised by the beacon over the desk, which announces the next departures and also offers a help point service. The advice given  here can be tailored to Jo’s specifications – the beacon for example  announces the next 5 departures from Manchester Piccadilly.

She uses navigational help in the walking route to the bus stop but, once arrived, she then receives real-time announcements from the bus stop itself, as it is equipped with React technology. This means she doesn’t have to be in the travel app to know what is happening, and can rely on the ‘talking beacons’ installed at the bus stop to receive real-time updates about her journey, including when her bus is due to arrive.

Once on the bus, Jo receives regular information about the bus journey in real-time through her App and the talking signs on the bus. Jo is also given advanced warning when to disembark.

She arrives at Piccadilly Gardens and, with the help of the bus driver who has been made aware of Jo’s physical condition in advance, gets off the bus and then follows the walking instructions on App&Town to reach Piccadilly Station.

Once Jo has chosen her service and platform, she is then directed to her platform using low power beacons in the station to tell her phone or announcers where she is.

She enters the platform via the right gate and the train is not there. As she walks along the platform, she is given an audio notification as to where her carriage is likely to be when the train arrives at the platform.

When the train does arrive, the phone announces the carriage numbers incrementally as she walks by the side of the train. When she reached her carriage, she is told that she is getting on the right carriage and she embarks.

Once on the train, Jo is advised which direction to take, by her app, to get to her seat, and advised where to place her luggage.

As Jo approaches her seat, she is advised via her app that she is getting close, and offered directional advice to get to her seat. Once seated, Jo’s app continues to give her updates about when the train is due to depart. 

As the train leaves the station, the in-train announcement advises her as to her location regularly, whilst her phone is used to support her by advising how long until her station. An alarm can be set so that she can relax. 

She is advised to prepare in good time when her station is coming up, and packs up her belongings. She moves toward the luggage rack using directional aids from her app, and once there her phone recognises her luggage using Near Field Communication (NFC) that detects and triggers technology in close proximity, which allows Jo to collect the correct luggage quickly and easily.

As she is waiting to disembark the train, the app advises her which  side of the train she will be leaving from when the train arrives at  the station.

Once at Euston station, Jo disembarks. She is advised via audio which direction to take to get into the main station, again using Bluetooth beacons in the station, and, once on the platform, she is then handed over to the Wayfinder system installed in the station to lead her through the concourse.

As Jo approaches the exit gate, an audio announcer via the station’s Wayfinder system tells her that she is approaching the gate, and that she should have her ticket ready. Since Jo’s journey is registered, the system at Euston is expecting her arrival and allows her through the barrier, offering her the option of further assistance if she requires it and simultaneously alerting the station staff that she is present. 

Her phone navigates her through the station to the exit and towards the taxi rank using the Bluetooth beacon navigation. 

Through a link to a local taxi company, Jo’s taxi is automatically notified that she is there for collection, and the driver is there to help her reach her final destination. 

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