SAN ANTONIO – In a bid to enhance accessibility and usability for all riders, VIA Metropolitan Transit has launched NaviLens, a new technology system. This innovative system is designed to assist those who are blind, have low vision or do not speak English.
At the heart of the system is the installation of QR code-style signs at bus stops and transit locations across the city. By next year, plans call for 6,000 signs to be in place. When scanned with a smartphone and the free NaviLens app, these signs provide audio directions in real-time to help riders navigate to their destinations. The app uses a phone’s camera to detect nearby signs up to 60 feet away and provides clear directions in over 34 languages.
VIA communications manager Lorraine Pulido emphasized the benefits of the app for non-English speakers, stating that it provides audio information in up to 34 languages. In addition to aiding navigation, NaviLens will also offer next-bus information and updates for more efficient trip planning.
The rollout of this technology cost over $600,000 and was federally funded as part of an effort to improve accessibility. By the end of 2024, San Antonio aims to be the first US city with systemwide adoption of NaviLens. Pulido believes that this technology will “revolutionize the way that people travel.”
Those interested in trying out the NaviLens app can find details on installation and use on VIA’s website.