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MTA Celebrates Disability Pride Month with Expansion of Innovative Accessibility Solutions

Updated July 18, 2023 2:15 p.m.
Accessible Wayfinding Features

Accessibility Features to be Introduced at Subway Stations and Bus Stops in New York State Senate District 47 to Improve Wayfinding for Customers with Disabilities with Funding Secured by Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal  

Project Expansion Includes Accessible Boarding Area Decals, Tactile Subway Line Maps and NaviLens Wayfinding Signage  

View Video from News Conference  

View Photos from News Conference


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today celebrated Disability Pride Month by announcing new wayfinding features for customers with disabilities coming to 11 subway stations and all 24 stops on the M66 bus route in Manhattan. The features will be installed in subway stations within State Senate District 47 represented by Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal who played a crucial role in securing funding for these projects. 

Beginning in July, the MTA’s Accessibility team will roll out some of the most successful features that were previously tested as part of the 2019 Accessible Station Lab at the Jay St-MetroTech   subway station. District 47 has 39 subway stations, 23 of which are accessible, as well as numerous bus stops. 

“Today’s MTA is determined to dramatically increase the accessibility of our subway system, as evidenced by the incredible pace of improvements the last few years -- more new accessible stations have been opened during the current capital program than the last three programs combined,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “But accessibility is about more than just elevators; it also includes better wayfinding and features that address the needs of visual- and hearing-impaired customers. It’s great to have a partner like Senator Hoylman-Sigal as we press forward with this important priority.” 

"Ensuring all of our customers can navigate the transit system with ease will always be a priority for the MTA,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer and Senior Advisor Quemuel Arroyo. “A more accessible system helps all customers and that’s clear with these new features. Although it's designed for customers who are blind or low-vision, NaviLens can translate information into dozens of languages, making it a helpful tool for customers who have limited English-proficiency. I am so excited to announce the roll out of these features during Disability Pride Month—one of many ways the MTA is celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the ADA.” 

“Everybody should be able to navigate New York’s public transit system independently,” State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D - WFP, Manhattan). “I'm proud to have helped secure funding for the MTA to invest in accessibility infrastructure and technology being announced today. Thanks to MTA Chair Lieber, riders in our district will enjoy more equal access to mobility and opportunity. This Disability Pride Month, New York is setting the national example for transit inclusivity.” 

"Accessibility to public transportation is critical for so many New Yorkers who rely on the subway and bus network on a daily basis," said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "Our role in installing NaviLens decals along bus routes is consistent with the accessibility work NYC DOT has prioritized whether it be making bus stops more accessible to people using mobility devices to board, improving bus stops under elevated subway lines, or installing Access-A-Ride pickup locations near public places." 

The MTA will install floor decals on subway platforms that indicate accessible boarding areas, as well as features for customers with visual disabilities including tactile subway line maps and NaviLens wayfinding signage. NaviLens is an app that uses unique codes to provide audio and visual wayfinding guidance and arrival status information, in upwards of 40 languages. The app was tested in 2019 at Jay St-MetroTech station and on the M23 bus route. 

Through this funding, the MTA will also further test the MagnusCards app, which helps explain travel experiences for customers with cognitive disabilities, in audio and visual formats, and in English and Spanish languages. This implementation will include detailed explanations of stations and experiences within D47. 

“I am so pleased that my students at the Lavelle School for the Blind, who have multiple disabilities, were one of the first groups to test innovative MTA Accessibility projects at their inception at the Accessible Station Lab in 2019,” said Sharada Veerubhotla, Teacher of the Visually Impaired at the Lavelle School for the Blind, a 4201 School, ACTA Member, Member of the Commissioners Advisory Panel (CAP) for Special Education, and Paratransit Advisory Committee (PAC) Member. “Today, thanks to Senator Hoylman-Sigal’s generous funding, we are launching a more extensive implementation of life changing accessibility innovations for the MTA system.  These innovations offer solutions for every type of rider and are going to transform the transportation experience for so many of our students and their immigrant families.” 

“At Lighthouse Guild, we believe the needs of people who are visually impaired must be a priority in all transportation initiatives,” said Chief Operating Officer of Lighthouse Guild Paul Misti. “Technological advances are poised to benefit New Yorkers with vision impairment like never before, and we thank Senator Hoylman-Sigal and the MTA for working to improve accessibility for all through these innovations. We look forward to working with the MTA to get the word out about the latest solutions that can help riders with any range of needs, from wayfinding and information access using the NaviLens app, to the use of tactile maps and clearer navigation to boarding areas. Access to transportation is fundamentally important to people who are visually impaired, and we applaud the efforts of the MTA to incorporate these solutions.” 

The rollout builds on the MTA’s commitment to add elevators or ramps at 95 percent of the currently inaccessible subway stations by 2055 to create a stair-free path of travel for riders. The accessibility features complement the soon-to-be improved ingress and egress for customers with disabilities at stations. 

Riders can expect to see these features continue to roll out over the coming months at the following subway stations:  

  • Houston St 
  • Christopher St-Sheridan Sq   
  • 14 St   
  • 8 Av 
  • 18 St   
  • 23 St   
  • 28 St   
  • 50 St   
  • 59 St-Columbus Circle 
  • 66 St Lincoln Center   
  • 72 St   

Visit https://new.mta.info/accessibility/expanding-innovative-solutions for more information on the project. 

Email accessibility@mtahq.org to provide feedback on the various features included in this project.