VIA Metropolitan’s NaviLens technology to enhance customer experience for blind or low vision riders

Feb. 6, 2024
VIA will install up to 6,000 multi-colored QR-style coded NaviLens signs at bus stops and other locations to improve accessibility in its service areas.

VIA Metropolitan Transit has rolled out its new NaviLens system to assist people who are blind or low-vision in more easily navigating the public transportation system in the San Antonio, Texas, region.
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 and the NaviLens apps. The technology can be used in 34 different languages.
During the next several months, VIA will install nearly 6,000 multi-colored QR-style coded NaviLens signs at bus stops and other locations. 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.
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-TX) secured congressional funding for systemwide implementation of the technology.