The APTA Emerging and Innovative Technology Subcommittee of the Research and Technology Committee submitted our first grant proposal to the Transportation Research Board for IDEA funding this month. The proposal “Wearables and Beacons: Using Contextually-Aware Technology to Improve Navigation of Public Transportation Spaces for Customers with Visual, Language, and Aging Challenges” intends to conduct practical research. The goal is to provide field research demonstrating whether wearables like smartwatches or other connected devices can communicate using Low Energy Bluetooth to communicate with beacons to assist those with challenges in navigating complex public transit spaces. Our hope is to foster innovation in the public transit industry around the underserved senior/disabled community in the industry. We believe this project relates to issues of social equity, sustainability, and innovation.
The team we built includes Cubic, Control Group, New York MTA, and Sachs Insights, working under the guidance of a cross functional committee that includes private and public sector participants from organizations like RouteMatch, Clever Devices, Southern Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), University of Southern Florida, Cisco, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and others.