KCATA Partners with Alphapointe to Deploy New Public Transit App for the Visually Impaired

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) has partnered with Alphapointe and Sensible Innovation to develop a wayfinding app to help blind and visually impaired customers use public transportation more safely and accurately. It is the first application of its kind to be applied to an entire transit corridor in the United States, according to KCATA.

The RideKC Navigator mobile app is a personalized platform to help visually impaired or blind people navigate select transit stops. Anyone can download the free RideKC Navigator app to their mobile device (iOS and Android) to receive location-specific audio instructions to help navigate 51 bus stops, East Village Transit Center, 75th Street Transit Center and 31 intersections in Kansas City, Mo.

The project, which was developed as part of KCATA’s 10-mile Prospect MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor project, extends from 75th and Prospect Transit Center in Alphapointe, north on Prospect to 12th street and west along 12th Street to downtown Kansas. Town.

“Our partnership with Alphapointe has been critical to the testing and deployment of RideKC Navigator,” said Robbie Makinen, President and CEO of KCATA. “Our visual impairment experts at Alphapointe navigate the real world daily. Their help with orientation and mobility instructions, testing and tutorials was invaluable. »

Alphapointe is the largest employer of blind and visually impaired people in Missouri, and one of the largest in the country, according to Reinhard Mabry, president and CEO of Alphapointe.

“This app will open up the community to people who are blind,” Mabry said. “This will prepare people with visual impairments to navigate spaces and areas of the community that they may not have been comfortable with before because they did not know enough about their surroundings.”

“Having this app in Kansas City is an amazing and innovative experience,” said Jim Fettgather, who is visually impaired and helped with development and testing.

Key points along the Prospect MAX route include the East Village Transit Center at 12th & Charlotte with connections to multiple bus lines, Independence Plaza, ReDiscover Crisis Center, East Patrol Division Station, Linwood Shopping Center, Research Medical Center and 75th Street Transit Center at Alphapointe.