LightHouse Finishes Key Phase on BART Audio-Tactile Map Project

The LightHouse and particularly our Access to Information Services (AIS) folks have a significant milestone to celebrate. We are done with the truthing phase of our station research for the BART Audio-Tactile Map Project.Cover of a prototype BART audio-tactile map showing BART and LightHouse logos








The word “truthing,” is short for the phrase ground-truthing. In this context, ground-truthing is the process of sending technicians to gather data in the field that either complements or disputes the accuracy of the audio-tactile map data we’ve already collected. Without the verification that ground-truthing provides, our audio-tactile map data is just hypothetical.

The truthing stage of this project took hours of LightHouse staff time and we are proud to say that as of last month we are finished truthing all 44 Bay Area BART stations. This leaves us with just a handful of map designs to clean up; but this handful includes what are perhaps the two most difficult BART stations to render: SFO and Millbrae stations.

The Millbrae BART station is the largest intermodal (more than one mode of transport) terminal west of the Mississippi. It has three ground-level tracks for BART and two for Caltrain. An island platform allows a cross-platform connection between the two systems. A concourse mezzanine is above the platforms. The station is also a regional bus transit hub with multiple bus bays served by several SamTrans lines.

The SFO station is located inside the airport on Level 3 of the International Terminal. There are two entrances and exits – one on Level 3, adjacent to the grand foyer off the north side of the International Terminal; and the other is a level up at the Garage G/BART AirTrain station.

Rendering these complex multi-level environments in easy-to-understand raised line drawings is challenging. Fortunately, Jorge Garcia, Senior Architect/ADA Coordinator at San Francisco International Airport and Tien Feng, District Architect at BART have supplied us with drawings that have proven to be immensely helpful. That and a whole lot of walking around the SFO and Millbrae stations have given us a firm foundation for designing these maps.

The next step: making these maps talk with the Anoto dot pattern and the Smartpen. Read more about our BART map project at Later in August the LightHouse will begin releasing strip maps and other tactile components which will be of great value to bay area blind commuters.  Stay tuned to a radio station near you for details.

Each year the LightHouse’s AIS Department tackles dozens of simple and complex accessibility projects – can we help you with yours? Start by contacting Greg Kehret, Director of Access to Information Services, at 415-694-7349 or