Transportation is critical to living independently, but people with intellectual disabilities can face unique challenges to navigating public transit.
AbleLink Technologies’ WayFInder app seeks to address these challenges and help people with intellectual disabilities get where they need to go independently. Using both visual and audio cues, the app offers simple step-by-step directions to a selected destination.
Routes and instructions can be customized based on each individual user’s needs and preferences. For example, the app can tell users “this is not your stop” to prevent confusion when they see other riders exiting a bus. The app also allows users to easily send their location to a family member or friend if they are lost.
Through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)’s Small Business Innovative Research program, ACL provided funding to help AbleLink develop and evaluate the app. The program supports the development of new ideas and projects that are useful to people with disabilities by inviting the participation of small businesses with strong research capabilities in science, engineering, or educational technology.
In April 2019, the city of Columbus, OH launched pilot project using the app to help people with cognitive disabilities and older adults travel more independently on fixed-route bus services.