The Bay Area is full of wonderful opportunities for entertainment, outdoor activity, shopping and so much more, much of it available to residents and tourists alike by using BART and other facets of our public transportation system. We all know a good map is key to understanding how to get around efficiently but if you are blind or have low vision you will likely find printed maps less than helpful. That’s why the LightHouse has created maps of BART stations for blind people: maps that convey information through touch and through sound.
For the first time a person who is blind can look at a map in their office, at school or at home and orient themselves to the BART station they plan on visiting, plan a path of travel from the entrance to the turnstiles, to the platform, and then off the train and to the bus stop. The LightHouse has mapped all 44 BART stations; three views each – street, concourse and platform; because you want to know not just where trains go, but how to get in and out of, and around stations. And these audio-tactile maps talk with the aid of a Livescribe Smartpen.
Here’s how it works: Imagine you have an Accessible BART Station Map in your hands. You feel the raised lines and braille symbols. A “b” inside an orange oval represents a bus stop; a “t” in a red triangle represents a taxi stand; there are distinct symbols for stairs, elevators and escalators. Say you want to learn more about that bus stop. Tap it with the Smartpen and you hear “Bus stop on the East side of Mission Street. Buses from this stop: Muni 14, 14L and 49″. That’s far more information than could be squeezed, as braille, into the 5/8″ oval on the page. And the map is printed on a piece of paper that fits into a standard binder.
The Smartpens for sale at Adaptations are pre-loaded with software that makes these maps speak. The key to map symbols sells for $12.00, the Smartpen is $119.00, and each station map ranges in price (depending on its size) from $6.00 to $20.00. You can purchase a binder that includes every BART station map, or buy stations individually as you need them.
For more information, call Adaptations at (415) 694-7301 or stop by our store at 214 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.
Do you need our experts in advanced blind design to improve the accessibility of your work place? Contact LightHouse for the Blind at 415-694-7349 or AIS@lighthouse-sf.org.