New Technology To Boost Tram Accessibility

14 August 2023

Blind and low vision passengers on Melbourne’s tram network will be able to get to where they need to go more easily thanks to a new navigation app and the Andrews Labor Government.

NaviLens codes, which look like brightly coloured QR codes, will begin to be installed on every tram stop on route 96 as well as on the interior and exterior of every tram travelling on route 96 from today.

When the codes are scanned using the NaviLens app, the app audibly provides passengers with information on their current location, routes serving the location, as well as live tram arrival information.

The app can read the codes from a long distance and provides spatial information such as in which direction and how far away the code is from the user to help people navigate the tram system.

The NaviLens app can also translate information into more than 30 languages.

The codes will also soon appear on all 100 E-Class trams. These trams run on routes 11, 30, 58 and 86 and on other routes during special events.

Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll joined representatives from Yarra Trams, to install the first NaviLens code at tram stop 9 on the corner of Bourke Street and Spring Street today with more than 3000 codes to be installed over the next four weeks.

This is the first time a NaviLens code has been installed on public transport in Victoria with the express purpose of giving real-time public transport information to people with low vision or who are blind.

NaviLens codes have been successfully integrated into public transport networks in Spain, Singapore, New York and California.

The NaviLens codes will be integrated into the Yarra Trams operations centre, feeding live tram tracking information to the app, ensuring codes produce dynamic, accurate information at each stop and aboard each tram.

Feedback on the NaviLens trial can be provided to Yarra Trams on the Yarra Trams website.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll

“We’re delivering projects that are making sure our public transport network is accessible to all Victorians, including delivering 100 Next Generation Trams.”

“The NaviLens trial will assist people who are blind or have low vision to be more independent when navigating our city’s tram system.”

Quotes attributable to Yarra Trams Chief Executive Officer Carla Purcell

“We’re always looking at new technologies that we can integrate into Melbourne’s iconic tram network to make Yarra Trams more comfortable, more reliable, and more accessible.”

Reviewed 14 August 2023

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