3 December 2013

London’s most accessible travel apps announced on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Transport for London (TfL) today named the winners of a competition to find new accessible apps to make it easier for disabled and older people to travel around the city.

The announcement, coming on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities follows a competition held between March and August this year. Developers were asked for ideas for new ‘Accessibility Apps’ which will make TfL realtime information easier to use – for example for customers with vision impairments. All apps use live information from TfL free of charge.

The Mayor and Transport for London are committed to making the transport network more accessible to all customers. This includes making 27 more Underground and London Overground stations step-free over the next seven years as well as providing more manual boarding ramps and raised platform sections, better signage, online information and staff training.

Specialists from AbilityNet and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) tested 194 apps for features that affect app accessibility such as use of colour contrast, voiceover capability, and user experience. The shortlisted apps were then assessed by a panel made up of people with a range of disabilities or with expertise in accessibility needs.

The apps that clearly demonstrated these attributes are:

Best visually impaired app: London’s Nearest Bus – This app allows the user to find the nearest buses and live departure times from their location. Users can also set individual bus alerts to trigger when a bus is due.Best app for accessibility/step free information: Station Master – This app offers detailed accessibility information for every London Underground, Overground and DLR station. Best all round app: Tube Tracker – A multi-modal app that finds the nearest station to the user with directions. Provides automatically updated live departure information, a journey planning function, first/last tubes and tube status alerts.Judges’ award: Colour Blind Tube Map – This app displays the London Underground map in various formats for easier viewing by people with all forms of colour blindness, and other vision impairments such as cataracts, loss of contrast sensitivity and hyperopia.

In addition, TfL Fare Calculator, Citymapper and London Bus Times Preview were all Highly Commended.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said:

“I would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and gave consideration to designing an innovative app with accessibility in mind. The response has been very positive and showed that app developers are actively trying to make their apps accessible and build in features for specific needs.

“The competition has provided vital information about good app design and designing for accessibility. TfL will be using the lessons learnt from this competition to help support developers in their app development and to promote well designed apps using TfL information. It is an important step forward in encouraging “mainstream” Apps to meet the needs of all passengers.”

Peter Abrahams, OneVoice ICT said: “The response to the competition was very positive. The competition showed that high quality, accessible and innovative apps can be achieved by designing for speech recognition and audio interpretation; the meaningful labelling of buttons, links and images, the ability to read everything logically and provide alternatives to maps for those who are unable to use them.”