San Joaquin Regional Transit District has launched Talk to Me Maps, audio and tactile maps of transit boarding areas, a new service amenity for people who are visually-impaired that will make navigating its system much easier. This program provides a tool for people who are blind or visually-impaired to familiarize themselves with RTD’s transit system using braille/large-print map and a talking smartpen which tells riders where to board the bus.
Orientation and Mobility instructors from various programs for people who are visually impaired will work with interested persons to orient them to RTD’s system using the maps. With the help of their instructors, they may check out the braille/large-print map and smartpen to read the book of maps and to locate the appropriate stations. Next, they may use the talking smartpen to receive an audio message that tells them which bus routes stop at the boarding location they have selected. RTD Talk to Me Maps are available for checkout at multiple transit stations in San Joaquin County, including:
- RTD Downtown Transit Center, 421 E. Weber Ave, Stockton, California 95202
- Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd, Manteca, California 95336
- Lodi Transit Station, 24 S. Sacramento St, Lodi, California 95240
- Tracy Multi-Modal Center, 50 E. 6th Street, Tracy 95376
Development of RTD Talk to Me Maps was a collaboration among the following:
- Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CCBVI) proposed the project. RTD Director Joni Bauer, who also serves as Orientation and Mobility Specialist for the CCBVI in Stockton, spearheaded the project.
- San Joaquin Regional Transit District developed and implemented the project.
- Media and Accessible Design Lab (MAD Lab) at LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired–San Francisco produced the maps and programmed the pens.
“Everyone at RTD is thrilled to work with our friends at CCBVI, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and our sister transit agencies to make life a little easier for those traveling throughout San Joaquin County,” said RTD CEO Donna DeMartino. “This program will make ‘The Places You Can Go on RTD!’ even more accessible than before.”