[tabi] new bus announcing system

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 13:43:42 -0400

John Plescow and Owen tried to get this to TABI, but due to technical
difficulties, I am posting it for them:



New stop-announcement system improves ride for blind RTD customers

By Monte Whaley The Denver Post The Denver Post



New technology on the Regional Transportation District's 1,000-bus fleet
gives blind

riders a much better chance of getting to their correct stop.

Each bus now informs passengers when stops are near through Automated
Stop Announcements

- a huge improvement, over the past five years, when blind riders say
they almost

had to guess where they were being dropped off, say advocates.

"Some of our passengers would tell drivers where they wanted to be
dropped off, but

drivers would miss the stops, and then they'd be dropped off in an
unfamiliar area,"

Colorado Center for the Blind youth services coordinator Brent Batron
said. "Many

times our students were put in a vulnerable situation."

But Batron and others are praising the rollout last month of GPS-like
software that

they hope eliminates human error when it comes to helping blind riders
reach their

destinations. It's part of a computer-aided dispatch and vehicle
location system

that has been loaded onto each bus.

The system combines up-to-the-second tracking information with
text-to-speech technology

that announces predefined points in easily understood synthesized

The system also displays stop announcements in an LED readout above the

RTD said.

Advocates for the blind, including the National Federation of the Blind
in Colorado,

lobbied for automated stop announcements for five years.

"It's fantastic," said NFB Mile High Chapter president Gary Van Dorn,
who regularly

rides the Route O in downtown Denver. "It's a huge help for those who
depend on buses

to get around."

RTD came under fire from

blind transit users

two years ago when the agency eliminated or drastically reduced routes
used by students

and staff of the Colorado Center for the Blind.

But students were able to find an apartment complex close to a route
that runs near

the facility, said Batron, who is also the federation's Denver Chapter

Being able to adapt to any situation is an important lesson for the
blind, he said.

"We teach our students that this is the real world, and as blind people,
we have

to take necessary steps to deal with that."

The RTD announcement system helps blind riders make those adjustments,
he said. "It's

a huge step for us. They listened to us, and we listened to them."

Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907,


or twitter.com/montewhaley

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