The assist-Mi app gives access to disabled citizens making travel easier creating an age and ability friendly city.
Travellers with disabilities face serious challenges in mobility in cities. Whilst great strides are being made in providing more accessible public transport there are further challenges in accessing this transport and the facilities of the city beyond.
The Assist-Mi project looked for ways to link people with their travel and with their destination, providing real time GPS location data and two way communication with a wide range of service providers at destinations. The definition of Service Providers included shops, museums, city services and leisure facilities.
The app was able to combine navigation with alerting the destination to the arrival of the traveler and any special access needs that might need to be met.
The project’s principal stakeholders were Coventry City Council and the app developers. A range of service user groups were the beneficiaries and were involved in developing and testing the product.
Over two years of development the numbers of users downloading and using the app grew steadily.
The intention is to build on this work to create a single point of contact accessing all the apps for travel and services in the city.
The project was funded from within the cities budgets. It has not been possible to assess a direct cost.
The cooperation of a wide range of stakeholders was required.
Evidence of success
The project gained over 1200 user downloads during its lifetime, in a city of about 500,000 people. It continued to gain downloads after the end of the project. This is clear evidence of a need being met. It was adopted by a wide range of service providers.
It was not always easy to demonstrate advantages to service providers.
Building support from commercial groups to ensure full benefits was not easy.
Potential for learning or transfer
There are disabled citizens with difficulties in moving around their cities in every city and region in Europe. Making it easier for them to travel and to access their destinations allows many to become better integrated into society and more economically active. The costs of systems like this are low and there is clear potential to develop this into an API app which connects users to all services and other travel apps in the region and enables them to be more independent.
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