Scooter app promises greater accessibility for the visually impaired

The app will help identify parking locations for disabled users

Micromobility operator Voi has partnered with the Lazarillo app to improve safety and accessibility for blind and visually-impaired people using their services in Bristol, Liverpool and Birmingham, with more cities to be added.

Through the new partnership, blind and visually impared people using the scooter operator will receive real-time voice messages on parking locations, both physical and virtual. They can also report any poorly parked scooter to Voi via the ‘Alerts’ feature in the app.

Voi is on a mission to make micromobility more inclusive and has carried out regular consultations with blind and visually-impaired groups to address their concerns.

Voi’s partnership with Lazarillo follows others, including deploying parking racks co-designed with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the launch of e-scooter sound pilots, and AI computer vision technology trials to prevent pavement riding.

Companies and public services use Lazarillo’s open-source mapping technology to link their information in an accessible format. The app translates this into real-time voice messages to help people with disabilities navigate indoor and outdoor spaces.

With over two million people in the UK suffering from sight loss, the new partnership will likely encourage greater community engagement with micromobility, improve their access to sustainable transport, and help with road safety.

With scooter use in European and UK cities coming under fire for safety concerns, including road accidents and poor parking, the new partnership is part of Voi’s mission to raise safety standards across the entire micromobility sector, where “responsible parking” is one of the firm’s key safety pillars.

Jack Samler, General Manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Lazarillo team. Not only are they aligned with us in terms of our goal to build safer and more accessible cities for all, but, most importantly, they support our mission to be a responsible and inclusive business and our commitment to Vision Zero.

“As the demand for micromobility services continues to grow across the UK, this partnership is one step forward to ensuring everyone can benefit from the introduction of this new sustainable transport mode, including those who are vulnerable.

“We look forward to getting feedback from Lazarillo’s blind and visually-impaired people in Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool, and we look forward to continuing to work with Lazarillo to roll out this service in other towns and cities.” 

René Espinoza Jimenez, Founder & CEO of Lazarillo, added: “Our integration with Voi intends to provide new information to our users as well as a new accessible tool for reporting. This work is quite new, and we hope that the integration will allow people with disabilities to feel more empowered as we work toward smarter and more accessible cities together.”

Mike Bell, National Public Affairs Lead for sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust said:  “We’re pleased that Voi is listening to the concerns of blind and partially sighted people around e-scooter use. The partnership with Lazarillo will help to deliver a safer experience for visually-impaired pedestrians and raise awareness of the crucial importance of safe parking and use of e-scooters.”

In this article, you learned that:

  • Micromobility scooter operator Voi has partnered with the Lazarillo app to improve safety and accessibility for blind and visually-impaired people.
  • Over two million people in the UK suffer from sight loss.
  • One of Voi’s missions is to raise safety standards across the entire micromobility sector, including through “responsible parking.”
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