VIATOR (lat. “the traveler”). Mobile platform for smartphones guiding disabled persons on their journeys using public transportation.


FFG-Project 828909.
National research project “ways2go” within the framework of the strategic initiative IV2Splus (“Intelligent Traffic Systems and Services”).
Nominee for the Staatspreis Mobilität 2013.

Motivation 

Disabled persons are facing a manifold of disadvantages when using public transportation. On the one hand, stairs and raised vehicle entrances are considered insuperable obstacles for wheelchair users. On the other hand, missing tactile lines or path descriptions prevent blind or visually impaired people from maneuvering on their own at public transportation nodes. Existing information- and navigation systems for public transportation only instruct their users in terms of transportation means, departure times and departure platforms. Instructions considering the way to and from public vehicles for handicapped persons especially at larger transportation nodes are lacking or outdated due to ponderous and inflexible content management mechanisms at the backend of such systems. Moreover, most of the systems are proprietary and unable to link to competing transportation companies in order to provide a closed information chain for a journey.

Goals

In the course of the research project ways2go within the framework of the strategic initiative IV2Splus funded by the Austrian government (FFG) a prototype for a mobile travel companion for disabled persons informing them not only about means of transportation but also guiding them through stations regarding their needs had to be designed and developed. It aims at consolidating multimodal travel information systems and at providing navigation instructions from arbitrary sources, even from the users themselves (self-organizing content management).

Results

VIATOR (lat. “the traveler”) is a mobile platform for smartphones that guides disabled (i.e., blind or physiaclly impaired) persons on their journeys using public transportation. It provides up-to-date information concerning connections, delays and alternative transportation options across transportation companies. It considers physical obstacles and hints for each particular target group (e.g., stairs vs. elevators for wheelchair users), triggers re-planning if required, and provides an open interface for leaving self-created location-bound hints for each desired target group (e.g., blind people guide blind people) such that the mobile phone appears as an active companion throughout the journey.

Partners: 

Contact: Wolfgang Narzt

 

Publications

W. Narzt: Facilitating Utilization of Public Transportation for Disabled Persons by an Open Location-Based Travel Information System for Mobile Devices (VIATOR), 7 th International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services and Technologies (UBICOMM 2013), Porto, Portugal, September 29 - October 3, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-61208-289-9, pp. 7-12, (Best Paper Award!) Thinkmind Digital Library: ubicomm_2013_1_20_10086.
Conference Article
W. Narzt, W. Wasserburger: VIATOR - A Mobile Travel Companion for Disabled Persons, 18th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society (REAL CORP 2013), May 20-22, 2013, Editors: M. Schrenk, V. Popovich, P. Zeile, P. Elisei, Rome, Italy, 978-3-9503110-4-4 (CD), 978-3-9503110-5-1 (print), 2013, CORP2013_9.
Conference Article
W. Narzt: Personal Mobile Public Transportation Guidance Based on Virtual Geo-Sensors, 19th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Vienna, Austria, October 22-26, 2012, Ertico:id=9527.
Conference Article
W. Narzt, W. Wasserburger: Digital Graffiti - A Comprehensive Location-Based Travel Information System, 16th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Developement and Information Society (REAL CORP 2011), Editors: M. Schrenk, V. Popovich, P. Zeile, Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, May 18-20, 2011, CORP:2011_230.
Conference Article