VIA Metropolitan Transit has recently introduced a new technology system called NaviLens aimed at improving accessibility and user-friendliness for all riders, especially those with visual impairments or who do not speak English. The innovative system involves installing QR code-style signs at bus stops and transit locations across San Antonio, with a goal of having 6,000 signs in place by next year.
When scanned with a smartphone and the free NaviLens app, these signs provide audio directions in real-time to help riders navigate to stops and buses. The NaviLens app uses a phone’s camera to detect nearby signs up to 60 feet away and provides clear directions in over 34 languages, making it accessible to a wide range of riders. In addition to assisting with navigation, the app also provides vital next-bus information and updates for more efficient trip planning.
The rollout of NaviLens was federally funded as part of an effort to improve accessibility, and by the end of 2024, San Antonio will be the first US city to have systemwide adoption of this technology. VIA communications manager Lorraine Pulido stated that this technology will “revolutionize the way that people travel.” Those interested in trying the NaviLens app can find details on installation and use on VIA’s website.