Pubic transportation is a way of getting from destination to destination that many people with disabilities use. In most metropolitan areas, buses are the common mode of public transportation. Every city or town varies in efficiency and accessibility with some better than others. In any case, information while traveling is always helpful. Answers to questions such as where is the bus station, when is the bus arriving, and where is my stop, can make bus travel a better experience. Now an Android app developed by a group from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona called OnTheBus can answer these questions and improve bus transportation.
Start to Finish
OnTheBus is an app designed to help a person get from their present destination to their final destination from start to finish. First the user enters the place where they want to go. The app then guides them via GPS to the nearest bus stop. Then the app lets the user know when the next bus is scheduled to arrive. Once the user has boarded, the app informs the user of each stop and when they have reached their stop. After getting off the bus the app guides the person to their destination again by GPS.
The app has four different user settings that work with different disabilities. OnTheBus lists the settings as visual function limitation, hearing function limitation, and mobility function limitation. Below is a list of accessible features from their website:
- Default high-contrast themes to properly display the application interface.
- Customizing application elements:
- Change of the colour of the background.
- Change of the text colour.
- Change of the background colour of the buttons and their text.
- Data entry mode in the application:
- Keyboard: using Android’s on-screen keyboard.
- Map: selecting a position by tapping a location on the map.
- Gestures: enter text drawing symbols with the finger on the screen.
- Speech Recognition: capture of information through voice analysis.
- Additional information:
- Sounds for users with visual functional limitations.
- Vibration for users with visual and/or hearing functional limitations.
- Visual for users with hearing functional limitations.
- Information extension at each step for users with cognitive functional limitation.
- Special features for reduced mobility users:
- Search for accessible bus routes.
- Application buttons sized large enough for all users.
Availability and Future
Currently OnTheBus is only available in the following European cities; Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Helsinki, Valencia, and Zaragoza. Although the developers are working to expand to other cities. Hopefully some North American cities maybe? The app functions in and understands Spanish, English, Italian, and Catalan. The developers are also planning to expand the app to other forms of public transportation with added features. Watch the video below to see the app in action. Visit www.OnTheBus-Project.com for more information or download it from Google play here.