Moovit and WeWALK partner to improve transit navigation for blind and partially sighted

Dec. 1, 2021
The companies will work to merge WeWALK’s smart cane, including voice assistance capabilities, with Moovit’s Transit API to improve navigation for users.

In honor of International Persons with Disabilities Day on Dec. 3, 2021, Moovit and WeWALK are joining forces to make public transit more accessible around the globe. The two companies are working together to provide WeWALK customers with the technology needed to travel safely and independently; ultimately allowing access to additional opportunities for employment, education, social activities and more.

According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 253 million people with visual impairment worldwide, many of whom rely on the white cane to get around. While the white cane has become a symbol of independent mobility, it can still be challenging for its users to reach longer distances, especially using public transit. For instance, visually impaired people may be uncertain that they’ve caught the right bus or can’t read the entrance sign needed to access the subway.

WeWALK’s smart cane warns users of obstacles through ultrasonic sensors and a vibrating handle and when paired with the We WALK smartphone app via Bluetooth, users can access mobility services straight from their cane.

Moovit, the urban mobility app which combines official information from local transit agencies with crowdsourced information to calculate the best routes for each journey, is enriching WeWALK’s capabilities via Moovit’s Transit API.

“WeWALK’s mission of creating life-changing mobility tools is an intensely collaborative process, and one involving challenges that command word-leading partners,” explained Jean Marc Feghali, WeWALK’s Head of Research and Development. “A prominent example is the delivery of efficient, usable and reliable access to public transport data. The WeWALK team’s lived experience of visual impairment only makes this need more apparent, a solution more critical and our promise more personal. Moovit’s partnership with WeWALK is an extraordinary step forward to realizing our mission, and our promise, of uncompromised visually impaired mobility.”

According to Moovit, merging WeWALK’s smart cane with Moovit’s Transit API allows user to:

  • Identify and navigate to bus stops more easily and ensure they are at the correct station;
  • Access real-time arrival information to know exactly when the bus or train is arriving;
  • Get Live Directions for accessible step-by-step guidance for the entire journey, including multimodal routes;
  • Receive audio and text Get Off Alerts to ensure boarding and alighting at the right stop and
  • Obtain Service Alerts to avoid disruptions on usual lines and proactively plan the journey ahead.

“We are delighted to work with WeWALK, an impressive company that shares our vision of making the world a more accessible and equitable place,” said Yovav Meydad, Moovit’s chief growth and marketing officer. “While blind and partially sighted people have more independence than ever before, getting around via public transit can still be daunting and overwhelming. Through our partnership, we aim to instill more reassurance in people by breaking down some of these mobility barriers, empowering them to access more opportunities available to them.”

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