New York City Transit is working to make our system as accessible as possible for riders of all abilities. From Oct. 16, 2019, to Jan. 17, 2020, we used Jay St-MetroTech Station in downtown Brooklyn as a “living lab,” giving customers to test them in a live station environment and provide feedback directly to NYCT. All of the physical features remain at Jay St-MetroTech until further notice.
We tested more than a dozen new features designed to make subway travel easier for everyone, including riders with vision, hearing, mobility or cognitive disabilities. We tested physical infrastructure, like tactile signs and maps and textured floor tiles. And we tested new smartphone apps that gave riders tools like audio navigation, high-contrast maps, a step-by-step breakdown of the experience of riding the subway, and more.
We chose a busy transfer hub for our lab because we wanted to as many riders as possible to tell us what worked and what didn’t.
The Systemwide Accessibility Team conducted over 30 tours totaling over 300 people and received more than one thousand overall survey responses. This feedback will help us as we explore ways to improve subway accessibility.
Apps We Tested
All of these apps were free for riders to try at Jay St-MetroTech.
- MagnusCards breaks down the experiences of riding the subway for people with cognitive disabilities. You can access the content for New York City Transit through October, 2020.
- NaviLens provides sign information in audio for people who are blind or low vision, and NaviLensGO creates dynamic visual navigation
- Aira connects people who are blind or low vision to professional agents who will help navigate through the station
- ClickAndGo Wayfinding offers detailed step-by-step audio directions, location descriptions, and more, all with accompanying high-contrast maps
- Waymap calibrates your walking style to give detailed step-by-step audio guidance for people who are blind or low vision
New Floor Treatments
We tested new floor applications throughout the station that are designed to help people navigate. We also tried a new material on elevator floors to improve cleanliness.
Tactile Signs and Maps
In addition to smartphone apps and various floor treatments, we also tested new kinds of tactile and graphic signage. From tactile maps to graphic station diagrams, each of these maps and signs are meant to help people with disabilities and all users more easily navigate the station.
This pilot project’s success depended on our riders. The New York City Transit team used the real-time environment to figure out what worked and what didn’t. We heard from the community through guided tours, an online survey, and your phone calls, emails, and tweets. This feedback will help us as we work to improve accessibility for all subway riders.
Have an idea for how to make our transit system more accessible? You can share it with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, through our online form, or by calling 511.
How We Set Up the Accessible Station Lab
Read more about how we chose the location, decided on which features to test, evaluated riders’ experiences, and more.