Six-month trial for assistive technologies on buses for commuters with special needs

(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Assistive technologies will be trialed on selected buses over the next six months to aid commuters with special needs, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a media release on Wednesday (30 January).

These include a Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired and Special Users (MAVIS) mobile app – a collaboration between the LTA and SG Enable – which issues personalised alerts for the visually-impaired, the hearing-impaired and wheelchair users.

(SCREENSHOTS: Mindef)

For instance, the app will allow visually-impaired commuters to hear audio announcements. 

These announcements, which will be available both on the bus and at the bus stop, will allow them to hear the service number and final destination of the approaching bus when they are waiting at the bus stop, and at the next stop when they are on board the bus.

Audio announcements will also be transmitted to hearing-impaired passengers via T-Coil-enabled hearing aids.

Alerts will also be shown on the bus captains’ display unit to notify them of commuters with special needs at the bus stop ahead.

(PHOTO: LTA)

The trial, co-funded by the Land Transport Innovation Fund and INIT Asia-Pacific, will run from 28 January to end-April with three buses from SBS Transit Bus Service 139 serving the Enabling Village at 20 Lengkok Bahru.

The three buses will then be re-deployed to SBS Transit Bus Service 141, which serves the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) at 47 Toa Payoh Rise, until the end of June.

To participate in this trial, commuters with special needs can register with SG Enable at mavis@sgenable.sg.

LTA said that it may adjust parameters, such as the volume of the audio announcements, to better test the system during the trial period. It added, “At the end of the trial, LTA will consider users’ feedback gathered during the trial to assess the benefits and feasibility of providing such assistive technologies on more public bus services.”

According to the LTA, the trial supports one of the key themes of the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 (LTMP 2040).

Since the public engagement process of LTMP 2040 began in August 2018, the LTA has received more than 7,000 responses with views on how the land transport system can be improved to cater to diverse commuter needs. The responses came from a wide range of land transport stakeholders, including members of public, academics, the unions, industry players and transport workers.

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