Locals team up to create the first public transport app for the visually impaired in KC

A transit app is coming for the visually impaired from KC // Photo courtesy of Alphapointe.org

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), Alphapointe, and Sensible Innovation have teamed up to develop an app that helps blind and visually impaired people use transit more safely and accurately. It is the first application of its kind to apply to an entire transit corridor in the United States.

The mobile app, RideKC Navigator, is a personalized platform to help the visually impaired or blind navigate certain transit stops. The free RideKC Navigator app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. Users will receive location-specific audio instructions to help them navigate 51 bus stops, East Village Transit Center, 75th Street Transit Center, and 31 intersections in Kansas City, MO.

The app was created as part of KCATA’s 10-mile Prospect MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor project. The corridor runs from 75th and Prospect Transit Center to Alphapointe, north on Prospect to 12th Street and west along 12th Street to downtown Kansas City.

KCATA President and CEO Robbie Makinen gave Alphapointe credit for playing a pivotal role in the testing and development of RideKC Navigator. “Our visually impaired experts from Alphapointe navigate the real world on a daily basis. Their help with orientation and mobility instructions, tests and tutorials has been invaluable, ”says Makinen.

Reinhard Mabry, president and CEO of Alphapointe, says the company is one of the largest employers of blind and partially sighted people in Missouri, as well as nationally. “This app will open up the community to blind people,” 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. “

Alphapointe Adaptive Technology Instructor Jim Fettgather is visually impaired and has been involved in the development and testing of RideKC Navigator. “Having this app in Kansas City is an amazing and innovative experience,” says Fettgather.

For more information, watch this video which gives a better overview of the benefits of RideKC Navigator.


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