Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota
The blind and Visually Impaired (VI) rely heavily on walking and public transit for their transportation needs. A
major challenge for this population is safe crossing of intersections. As a result of the American with Disabilities
Act (ADA), Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) systems at signalized intersections have improved significantly
since 2000. However, these systems still have shortcomings for both users and municipalities, and new approaches
are needed to adequately serve pedestrians with low vision. As part of our ongoing effort to develop a prototype
Mobile Accessible Pedestrian Signal (MAPS) application for the blind and VI, we interviewed ten blind and lowvision
people to better understand what types of information they use at intersection crossings and to identify
information types that could assist them. With these survey results, a MAPS prototype was developed that provides
signal and intersection geometry information to Smartphone users at signalized intersections. User interaction is via
simple tactile input (single or double-tap) and Text-To-Speech (TTS) technology. A MAPS prototype was
developed and tested to evaluate the functionalities of providing signal and orientation information to the visually
impaired travelers at signalized intersections. This proposal will build upon the developed MAPS and investigate
how blind and low-vision individuals gain their spatial knowledge surrounding an intersection and how the MAPS
can be used to support their decision-making strategy at intersection crossings.
Minnesota Traffic Observatory Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota
Using a Smartphone App to Assist the Visually Impaired at Signalized Intersections.
Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota.
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