LTA wins international award for app designed to make bus trips easier for those with special needs

A wheelchair-bound commuter uses the Mavis app to alert bus drivers that he wants to board the bus. Mavis beat out entries from Australia and Britain at the biennial awards, held in Stockholm on June 12, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A mobile application that alerts bus drivers to passengers with special needs who are boarding or alighting, and also allows those with visual disabilities to activate audio announcements for upcoming bus stops, has won the Land Transport Authority (LTA) an international prize.

The audio announcements can also be transmitted to hearing-impaired passengers via T-Coil enabled hearing aids.

The authority won in the Diversity and Inclusion category at the 2019 International Association of Public Transport (UITP) Awards for its app, Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired and Selected Users (Mavis).

The app beat out entries from Australia and Britain at the biennial awards, held in Stockholm on Wednesday (June 12).

It was developed together with German firm INIT as part of a trial on the use of an "assistive passenger information system" to help commuters with special needs take public buses.

The ongoing trial, conducted in collaboration with SG Enable and SBS Transit, began in January this year.

The LTA also received the UITP Asia-Pacific Special Recognition Award for the app at the association's summit on Monday.

The authority had different projects shortlisted in two other categories as well: Operational and Technological Excellence, as well as Public and Urban Transport Strategy.

The LTA was not the only winner from Singapore.

On Monday, the Public Transport Council won the UITP Asia-Pacific Special Recognition Award for its Heart Zones and Heartwheels @ Linkway projects.

Heart Zones are designated areas for the elderly and visually disabled commuters at MRT stations, while Heartwheels @ Linkway provides wheelchairs for elderly commuters and those with physical difficulties at MRT stations.

Congratulating the two agencies, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on his Facebook page: "Public transport is an important service for our citizens. We will continue to work hard to make it better, more inclusive and more caring."

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