BEACON is the free application for mobile phone which helps for disabled people to identify the public transport, it gives the signal when bus arrives.
Kaunas city municipality have used the research to identify problems in public transport sector for disabled people and through their municipality company UAB „Kauno autobusai“ had initiated the project "Beacons" which aims to integrate disabled people into public transportation services.
Visually impaired people faces with the problem to identify the public transport, therefore disabled people were not able to use the public transport without the help from care givers. As a consequence, only very small part of disabled people people were using public transportation services.
This problem has raised awareness among all quadruple-helix actors and initiated their cooperation in R&I. The problem was raised by the Municipality which aims to integrate vulnerable groups into society. Research institution conducted the surveys about the most common problems for disabled people and company UAB „Kauno autobusai“ has found a solution for this problem by applying ICT technologies. The company has put “beacons” (active tags) on 50 buses in Kaunas and created free application for mobile phone which connects to those “beacons” by Bluetooth when the bus arrives. Application was tested with Kaunas community of disabled people and received positive feedback. Besides, the municipality having ensured the independent mobility of visual impacted individuals, this good practice has achieved a significant decrease in in public expenditures, which was spend for travels of medical specialists.
60 000 EUR needed to develop the software and also to make a hardware which could be installed into 50 public Buses. These resources were covered from the Municipality budget.
Evidence of success
This specific app is dedicated for a specific group, therefore the number of users and main beneficiaries is not high. There are 2500 end users in Kaunas region, but by helping those people Kaunas Municipality manage to decrease public expenditures in respect to public services to handicapped individuals; improved psychological climate among physically impaired individuals; increased, mobility among physically impaired individuals; increased consumption among physically impaired individuals.
- Imperfect functioning of mobile technology.
- Lack of target consumers;
- Longer term of sustainability of project
- Financial support of project;
- Technology maintenance;
Potential for learning or transfer
This method can be efficiently implemented by both providers by public and private services. The Good practice project is relatively cheap and as result generate a quick break-even point. There are some basic conditions in the region in order to successfully implement this practice: transport system has to be connected into “smart city” system in order to use created mobile application. Other important thing is, that the application has to be adopted to city’s transport system especially if the in transport system consists of multiple means of public transportation. A region must have a substantially big share of population that is using mobile technologies: fast mobile network (4G or LTE) and developed mobile technology consumption habits.