Community led independent travel training project

Inclusive technology enhances independent travel training for SEN students

Enabled City’s expertise came from recognising a lack of service for people with disabilities, from the very start (2000) we decided that people with learning disabilities were the right group to work with to ensure information is accessible to the widest possible audience including people with sensory or physical disabilities, people speaking English as a second language and those new to industry subjects such as silver surfers.

Our agile team combines 70 years of technology and service development, and 30 years within disability sectors. Tottenham Hotspur FC mobile appWe provide value adding accessibility services, inclusively designed with mainstream appeal, enabling clients to reach new audiences and exceed legal obligations.

A snap shot of PhotoRoutes development

During the summer of 2014 we developed a new PhotoRoute service with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, their Disabled Supporters Association and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, we developed a new toolkit applicable to individual travel support needs and larger scale projects, such as hospital way-finding and excellence in customer services.
In late 2016 Tottenham Hotspur Foundation licensed PhotoRoute to remove independent travel barriers and increase capacity of the foundation.

What is PhotoRoute?

Developed from travel training concepts, PhotoRoute is the only inclusive way-finding navigation tool that enables people with learning disabilities to travel independently.

PhotoRoute does what it says, utilises photos to virtually guide people from A-B following step free, easy to navigate routes that:

  • Are easy to create edit and share.
  • Are custom journeys sewing in local knowledge.
  • Provide cohesive external and internal way-finding information.
  • Work well from public and private transport.
  • Follow the easiest and fastest step-free routes, particularly vital for people with learning and physical disabilities.
  • Are inclusively designed to work for the widest possible audience including those speaking English as a second language.

What issues does PhotoRoute address?

People inherently learn to navigate themselves through landmarks. Normally when you ask for directions on the street, more often than not you will be told “make a right before the KFC” or “turn left past the gas station.” PhotoRoute shows the user which landmarks to keep an eye out for.

Traditional navigation tools such as apple and google maps provide walking maps that are not always representative of the street environment which reduces independent travel confidence, this has a compounding effect for people with disabilities. Their maps are restricted to outdoor locations, and often hard to navigate. They do not have the ability to sew in local usability such as quieter routes to walk for people on the autistic spectrum.

What’s the travel training project?

Its about students with Special Educational Needs being able to make healthier lifestyle choices and gaining independence by using their expertise to co-produce maps from private homes to school to remove reliance on council supplied transport.
Technology outputs include:

  • Security – maps created with vulnerable people are kept private to the individual, family member and support staff.
  • Transparency – Local supporter/family member being able to see all students travelling on a map and receiving all students indicator messages.
  • Intelligent support – should students deviate off chosen route ie. “did you mean to leave your journey?”
  • Providing confidence for family carers and support by:
    • Being able to visually track students along their chosen journey.
    • Notification messages to family, carers and support staff once a student arrives at chosen destination.

Enabling clients to think differently about independent travel provision by:

  • Ensuring there’s cohesive provision for all members of our diverse communities from transport to turnstile.
  • Supporting students en-route from personal houses and public transport nodes to your destination, or internally to desired location.
  • Keeping abreast of access changes to the built environment.
  • Bridging the gap between a comprehensive access audit and street level facilities.
  • Providing student, parent carers and support staff with confidence when planning trips.
  • Removing the need for risk assessments for school outings.
  • Opportunity for students to develop skills and employment opportunities.

Ideally by the end of the 6 month project we would aim that students would not require travel support or to use their own PhotoRoute maps on a daily basis.

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