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Transport for London launches competition to create accessibility apps

Transport for London (TfL) today launched a competition desiged to encourage app developers to design 'Accessibility Apps' for its network. Developers are being invited to apply with ideas for a new travel app which will make Transport for London (TfL) realtime data more accessible to disabled and older people.

The winning entries will receive development support from TfL.


Aligns TfL's accesibility and open data policies 

TfL said it has made accessibility improvements including on-bus audio/visual announcements, Countdown bus arrival information, Wi-Fi in many Tube and Overground stations and an online resource showing stations with step-free access and giving advice on avoiding stairs and the best ways to navigate the transport network. 

New lifts have been installed on the Tube, more bus stops have been made accessible and wide aisle gates, raised platform sections and manual boarding ramps have been introduced to make getting around easier. However, increasing public access to information is another priority area for TfL, along with its open data policy allowing developers to use its published dynamic data (known as 'APIs') free of charge.

Most recently TfL launched its latest API with supported access to London's live bus arrival information.

TfL is looking for applications from developers which will make it easier for disabled and older people to travel around the transport network.

The proposed apps should look at:

  • Physical ease of use (including making it easy to use the touchscreen and 'dynamic' elements)
  • Clarity of information (to help people who are unfamiliar with technology, or have difficulty understanding apps or travel information)
  • Integration with other assistive technology features (for example using text to speech, zoom facilities, voice control)
  • Compatibility with a wide range of devices

The judging panel will choose three applications that are considered to be innovative and offer value of use in one or more areas of accessibility to receive support to turn them into a live product.

Winners will be announced in autumn 2013 and the new accessibility apps will be released into the market at this time.


First stage of an engagement plan with developers

This competition is the first stage of an engagement plan with developers to produce new accessible journey planning tools.

The next stage will see the Step-Free Tube Guide data made available digitally for the first time in summer 2013.

The OneVoice ICT Coalition 'the voice for ICT accessibility and usability' is promoting the competition with TfL. OneVoice has developed guidelines for accessibly applications and will specify the principles and governance behind this project. Support and advice has also been given by a number of organisations, including the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Guide Dogs and Transport for All.

Entrants will have the opportunity to submit designs until 30 August 2013 and the winners will be announced at the end of September.

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