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TransLink testing new navigation tool for the visually impaired

TransLink is testing new technology it hopes could help the visually impaired better navigate Metro Vancouver’s transit system.

The pilot project will be the first use of the NaviLens app in Canada.

According to TransLink, the app can be used to scan specialized decals, similar to QR codes, at three trial transit locations.

After the passenger scans a decal, the app gives them audio instructions guiding them to bus stops and transit pickup points. It can also point out nearby amenities like elevators, TransLink said.

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The codes can be scanned from a distance of up to 14 metres, in any light conditions and do not require the passenger to focus.

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The app can also be used while the passenger is moving.

TransLink says the NaviLens is already in use in cities like New York, Liverpool and Madrid in transit systems along with other public spaces like shopping centres.

As a part of the pilot project, the codes have been installed at 10 bus bays at the New Westminster SkyTrain station, four bus stops near the Canadian National Institute for the Blind building in New Westminster, and two bus stops near the Vancouver Community College campus on East Broadway in Vancouver.

TransLink says it will evaluate the program after six months, and consider it for future expansion in the region.

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