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App improves navigation for disabled travellers

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A new smartphone app capable of providing useful navigation and accessibility information for travellers with reduced mobility has been launched for use in four pilot cities around Europe.

The SIMON Mobile app – designed by the European Commission funded SIMON project – is now available free of charge in the Google Play store.

Users in Reading (UK), Madrid (Spain), Parma (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal) will be able to use the app to access details such as the location of disabled parking bays or the location of elevators and ramps to access subway stations.

The system also makes it possible to calculate walking, driving and transit routes to provide step by step navigation during a journey. It leverages publicly available data integrated with additional data provided by the cities.

Earlier this month Reading was named as a fourth pilot site for the project, with Reading Borough Council added as a new partner of the SIMON Consortium.

Launch of the app to the four cities marks the beginning of the project’s ‘large scale demonstration’ phase, following which a roadmap for its deployment will be implemented including transferability, scalability and standardization guidelines.

SIMON Mobile is also capable of integrating with the new EU parking card for the disabled – commonly known as Blue Badge. The goal of this badge is to reduce the fraudulent use of disabled parking spots to ensure their availability for those that really need them.

Disabled people can use Simon Mobile to validate for parking and to view the usage history of their badge.

Photo of Reading station by OmegaPoint / Creative Commons