San Antonio, Texas’ VIA Metropolitan Transit is installing an innovative system that will assist people who are blind or low-vision in more easily navigating the public transportation system.
NaviLens is wayfinding and information technology that helps blind and low-vision riders navigate to a bus stop, access real-time next bus arrival information, and receive directions to the bus when it arrives at the bus stop with the use of their smart phone (Android or IOS) and the NaviLens apps.
The technology can be used in 34 different languages, meaning that non-English speakers can also use the system to more easily use transit here.
NaviLens Coming to VIA
The NaviLens app automatically detects the signs whenever users’ phones are within 50 feet. Once a sign is detected, the app provides spoken navigation to it and translates the code into an audio message that includes real-time information.
Delivering the NaviLens technology underscores VIA’s continued commitment to investing in technology and innovation aimed at improving accessibility and the customer experience.
VIA previously piloted the NaviLens program at 100 stops with high ridership and near Vibrant Works, formerly known as Lighthouse for the Blind, which partnered with VIA on the project.
VIA conducted testing events, inviting members of the public to participate and provide feedback regarding their experience using NaviLens.
With the successful pilot program, the VIA board of trustees voted in January 2023 to implement the technology across the system. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, secured congressional funding for systemwide implementation of the technology.