A barrier-free navigational app created for Tokyo

A barrier-free navigational app created for Tokyo



Image: Japan, Tokyo, sakura trees


Orienting in the intricacies of the streets of the Japanese capital is not an easy task, besides most of the existing navigators and applications-assistants for travelers do not take into account the requirements of accessibility in their routes. For example, a tourist with a wheelchair may encounter stairs, inaccessible metro and other barriers.

Hitachi and Navitime Japan Co offered their solution to the problem of universal accessibility in Tokyo by developing a mobile application that will help people with disabilities to move freely and safely around the city. Work on the project called Personal Navigation has been going on for 4 years, the application is ready for the beta testing phase. It is assumed that it will be available to users by 2020.


Image: Japan. tower, mobile phone

The principle of the navigator is simple: the user selects the starting point and destination, and the application builds the most convenient and accessible route for people with disabilities. The functionality of the application allows the user to specify what level of accessibility a traveler needs: this is a person with a wheelchair, visually impaired or blind, parents with small children, or an elderly person. The low-mobility tourist will be offered a route without stairs and steps, and the application will help the blind visitor to find pedestrian crossings with sound signals. Personal Navigation also has a voice assistant.

Currently, the application covers only the areas around Toyosu and Ariake, where many Olympic and Paralympic competitions will be held in 2020, but the developers will expand its geography in the future. Personal Navigation works in Japanese, but later will be added in English, Chinese and Korean.