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Travel assistance device: utilising global positioning system-enabled mobile phones to aid transit riders with special needs

Travel assistance device: utilising global positioning system-enabled mobile phones to aid transit riders with special needs

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Recent advancements in mobile technology allow global positioning system (GPS)-enabled cell phones to provide a variety of real-time location-based services. This study reports on the design, implementation and testing of such a service, the travel assistance device (TAD), that aids transit riders with special needs in using public transportation. TAD is a program that provides the rider with customised real-time audio, visual and tactile prompts for exiting the transit vehicle by announcing ‘Get ready ’ and ‘Pull the cord now!’ Additionally, TAD provides alerts to riders, their caretakers and travel trainers if a rider deviates from the planned route. A website allows easy access for the creation of new trip itineraries and allows authorised personnel to monitor the rider's location in real-time from any computer. While the TAD was designed to aid transit riders with special needs to increase their level of independence and their care-takers' level of security, any rider new to a transit system can use TAD for planning and executing trips with confidence and ease.

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