Sound Transit is committed to exploring innovative technology to help promote accessibility and inclusion in public transit.
In October, representatives from Sound Transit, Lighthouse for the Blind, Hopelink, and the Washington State's Department of Services for the Blind participated in a preview of GoodMaps, a new wayfinding app designed for people with vision disabilities.
Participants tested the app in real time and gave feedback directly to GoodMaps developers.
GoodMaps uses light detection and ranging (LiDAR) mapping technology to create highly accurate 3D maps of large public spaces’ interiors, like transit stations, malls, and airports.
Using smartphone camera-based positioning, GoodMaps can locate a user within a room at an accuracy of up to two inches. That level of precision is unparalleled by existing GPS and Bluetooth trilateration technologies that measure in meters!
Additionally, GoodMaps contains several in-app features that provide step-by-step feedback and directions to users.
Alice Klein from DSB commented, “As a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, I love exploring different wayfinding technology to share with my students. I love the points of interest GoodMaps has built in, that are sometimes not taken into consideration. The information board is a perfect example.”
The developers used the LiDAR technology to map the interiors of Westlake and International District/Chinatown stations on the 1 Line as part of a trial for the Seattle area.
These stations join dozens of other transit stations in cities like London, where the app’s developers built accurate maps for its users.
If successful, Sound Transit will consider expanding the GoodMaps tool to all Link stations. A systemwide expansion of GoodMaps could improve the passenger experience for riders with vision disabilities.
GoodMaps helps people with vision disabilities travel with confidence. By mapping transit stations, shopping centers, and outdoor spaces, it enhances independence, safety, and mobility. GoodMaps reduces the risk of accidents and empowers users to move freely without assistance.
Beth Hamby, the Senior Accessibility Program Manager for Sound Transit, was excited about the app, saying, “GoodMaps is one of several promising technology projects Sound Transit's Innovation & Passenger Technology team is developing that are designed to assist passengers with wayfinding in and around our stations. I'm excited about the potential for GoodMaps to help make complex stations easier to navigate for passengers with vision disabilities and support independent travel for any passenger with a smartphone.”
Experience GoodMaps in person and try the app yourself! Join the GoodMaps team at Union Station’s Concourse Hall for testing sessions from Nov. 28 to 30 at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. For questions, contact Justin Deno at firstname.lastname@example.org.