What is Access to Places?

crowded subway station

The goal of our project is to make NYC subway stations more navigable for individuals who are blind. In pursuit of this end, we have begun to conduct preliminary user research to identify discrete moments of the subway experience, (everything from entering a station to finding the correct platform to embarking and disembarking a train to finally exiting the station). We would like to make the information that is readily available to sighted travelers accessible to others, as well as create ways to make the physical topography of stations more legible. We hope to explore the possibility of creating a system of low-power sensors and networking devices to make this information available to users.

A problem with the current subway station is its reliance on visuals for information. This dependence is a barrier for those who are blind to access information regarding platform locations, routes, safety signage, entrance and exit locations. We envision the future of New York’s transportation system to be accessible and empathetic to all.