Metro, UW, and riders team up on OneBusAway feature that makes stops more accessible

Riders who are blind lead the crowdsourcing effort to make StopInfo better for everyone

SightImpairedSignFor bus riders with limited sight, navigating transit and locating bus zones can be a daily challenge. To help provide more thorough and useful information, University of Washington computer scientists have teamed up with Metro and created a website called StopInfo – a crowd-sourcing effort via OneBusAway that provides specific information on location, safety features and stop closures for Metro’s bus stops in King County. In particular, it seeks to collect and share information that blind people have identified as important when they ride the bus. It relies on bus riders using the OneBusAway application to update and provide information about each stop.

While the application was developed to provide information to assist people who are blind, it provides information that could be helpful to all riders. Crucial information like where the stop is in relation to the intersection, whether there is a shelter or bench, or if a stop is well-lit can make the difference between a smooth commute and a frustrating experience.

StopInfoAppScreenTo access or provide information on StopInfo via OneBusAway, click the information icon to the right of the stop number. Want to add or improve the information about a stop? Select, “verify or add stop information,” at the bottom of the screen. Android users: stay tuned for another month or so… at this point StopInfo only works with the iPhone version of OneBusAway.

Through the end of the year, top contributors who add or verify information about stops can earn free bus tickets. The more people who use this feature and contribute to it, the more helpful it will be for riders.

Through research done by developers, they have learned that StopInfo is already working for riders who are blind or partially sighted. Users report feeling more comfortable about taking new or unfamiliar trips with the help of StopInfo.

Read more about StopInfo on:

>>UW’s blog
>>Reuters

Editor’s note: October is Disability Awareness Month. This article is the second in a series. StopInfo is a project Metro has invested in because it will make Metro services more accessible to riders. Learn more about Metro’s history of making transit accessible in this blog post.