BOSTON (CBS) — A new app may help make it easier for Boston commuters who are vision impaired find bus stops.

The app, called BlindWays, not only uses voice navigation to give users direction, but also lists landmarks along their route to the bus stop. Blind people can use their canes to find landmarks, like a trash can or bench, to ensure they’re on the right path.

The MBTA, MassDot, and Perkins School for the Blind created the app after a blind employee at Perkins said she was left out in the cold too many times.

“I would find a pole but I didn’t realize it was the bus stop pole,” said Joanne Becker, a Perkins technology specialist who is blind. “So the bus would go right past me and when it’s 20 degrees outside it was torture.”

Anyone, blind or not, can download the app for free. Since there are more than 7,800 bus stops in the MBTA system, the app relies on crowd sourcing data, meaning that people enter the landmark clues that will help alert users.

 

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  1. The app was designed and developed by Boston-based Raizlabs in cooperation with Perkins and MBTA.

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