VIA Introduces NaviLens Technology to Make Public Transit More Accessible for Riders

San Antonio’s NaviLens: Revolutionizing Accessibility and Usability with AI-Powered Directions

SAN ANTONIO – VIA Metropolitan Transit is launching a new technology system, NaviLens, to improve accessibility and usability for all riders. The focus of the system is on those who are blind, have low vision, or do not speak English.

The system involves installing QR code-style signs at bus stops and transit locations across the city. By next year, there will be 6,000 signs in total. When scanned with a smartphone and the free NaviLens app, these signs provide audio directions to help riders navigate to stops and buses in real-time. 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 highlighted the app’s benefits 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 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.”

For those interested in trying the NaviLens app, details on installation and use can be found on VIA’s website.

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