SAN ANTONIO – VIA Metropolitan Transit has introduced NaviLens, an innovative new technology system aimed at enhancing accessibility and ease of use for all riders, especially those who are blind, have low vision or do not speak English.
VIA is installing QR code-style signs at bus stops and transit locations across the city.
By next year, VIA stated that 6,000 signs will be implemented. When scanned with a smartphone and the free NaviLens app, these signs provide audio directions to help riders navigate to stops and buses in real-time.
Once opened, the app uses a phone’s camera to detect nearby signs up to 60 feet away. It then speaks clear directions, telling users where to go in over 34 languages.
“It also helps anyone who may not know English,” VIA communications manager Lorraine Pulido said. “It provides up to 34 languages. Audio. Whenever you have the app close to the QR code that will be on our bus stops.”
In addition to aiding navigation, NaviLens will provide vital next-bus information and updates for more efficient trip planning.
The over $600,000 NaviLens rollout was federally funded as part of improving accessibility. By the end of 2024, San Antonio will be the first US city with systemwide adoption.
As Pulido stated, this technology will “revolutionize the way that people travel.” Those interested in trying the NaviLens app can find details on installation and use here: https://www.viainfo.net/navilens/