Jacksonville public transit riders can get free app to help visually impaired
JTA offers free mobile app to help visually impaired using public transit.

The free Aira app is already helping visually challenged bus riders in multiple cities in North America.

Visually impaired customers using public transit in Jacksonville are getting help navigating the city.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) announced this week that the agency is providing a mobile phone application that can help visually impaired riders on local buses and shuttles to find the right routes. The visual interpreting app is called Aira and is designed to increase accessibility to public transit for the blind and low-vision customers.

JTA customers can tap into the mobile app for free. The technology will link the visually impaired rider to a “visual interpreter” who is a trained professional to guide the customer at transfer stations or any stop in real time. The service is designed to get customers with visual impairments to their destinations safely and without confusion.

“The JTA is proud to offer free access to on-demand visual interpreters to our patrons through our partnership with Aira,” said JTA CEO Nat Ford. “The JTA is committed to providing dignified mobility services that restore independence for all transit users in the communities we serve.”

Aira is a growing technology company based in Carlsbad, California, and has been in the process of developing the public transit app for the visually impaired for years. The app is specifically designed to provide more autonomy to riders with visual challenges. The app is already available in many metropolitan areas in North America and in airports.

The guide connected to the rider through the app uses a visual interface through a mobile phone camera to assist the public transit customer to find the correct transfer stations while advising which public transportation ride service is available at the location.

“The JTA is dedicated to building an accessible and inclusive transit system for all of their residents, and we’re thrilled Aira is now a key part of those efforts,” said Troy Otillio, CEO of Aira. “Through accessing critical visual information with Aira, people who are blind and low vision will be able to have an improved transit experience and navigate the city on their own terms.”

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].

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