The Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) Clair Station is now part of an innovative program from advocates CNIB and the Rick Hansen Foundation to enhance community accessibility for those with sight loss.
The “ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled” project features a mobile app using indoor navigation technology, developed by BlindSquare, to deliver verbal descriptions of building floor plans and other details of the physical environment to users.
"Making the TTC fully accessible is one of the most important commitments we have made in our corporate plan," said TTC Chair Josh Colle. "This partnership and this innovative technology is one way we are eliminating barriers to the TTC."
BlindSquare communicates information to users from small “beacons” that are programmed by CNIB and placed strategically within a participating business or other location. At St Clair Station, the beacons will provide customers with information about the station layout, including fare gate locations — and whether the gates are PRESTO equipped — and will also advise of obstacles like gaps between the platform and the subway doors.
The TTC joins more than 120 businesses in the Yonge-St. Clair area that are participating in the pilot.
"This program is empowering people who are blind or partially sighted to experience the community in ways that weren't previously possible," said Debbie Gillespie, Accessibility Lead for CNIB and a member of the TTC's Advisory Committee for Accessible Transit. "I'm pleased the TTC is participating in the program because St Clair Station is an important part of the neighborhood."
CNIB is monitoring the pilot with plans to expand it to other areas.