How Wayfindr will increase my confidence and independence
Courtney Nugent is 26 and has been vision impaired since she was three. She has been involved with the Royal London Society for Blind People’s (RLSB) Youth Forum since its inception in 2013. We spoke to her about her experience taking Wayfindr from an idea in a Youth Forum meeting a few years ago to reality.
The RLSB brought the Youth Forum together in 2013. There were eight vision impaired people, coming together twice a month to talk about issues that they had with every-day living and social perception as a person with a vision impairment. In 2014 they released their Youth Manifesto which laid out solutions to the challenges they face as blind young people in London. Later that year they released their employment pack, both of which they presented to parliament. One of the big issues that they had was with transport, and independent travel. This is where the idea for Wayfindr came from.
(Working on Wayfindr) was amazing! We were involved in it right up to the time it was launched, so we were always active with our ideas - and the aim of it - and how we wanted it to work.- Courtney Nugent
At the moment Courtney uses her white cane to get around. When she wants to use the tube she gets assistance from a member of the Transport for London (TfL) staff, at the ticket barrier. Although sometimes she may have to wait for a few minutes, this assistance is vital, without it big stations like Euston would be out of bounds for her. She wouldn’t attempt to navigate on her own because she feels there are too many people. Wayfindr will ensure that these types of journey are made easier for Courtney as she will be able to decide if she wants to wait or if she’ll just put on her headphones and go.
It’s been a great project to work on as it’s increased my confidence and independence. The team have made sure they’ve asked us how we've found using Wayfindr, if we have difficulties with it, what we liked about it, even down to the voices that they use and the sounds that come out of the demonstration app. It’s been a good working partnership.- Courtney Nugent
If, as we hope, the Wayfindr Open Standard is rolled out across the TfL network Courtney is looking forward to making an independent journey through a station she already knows. The core idea of Wayfindr has always been about empowering blind and partially sighted people to travel independently.
The first time testing (Wayfindr) at Pimlico was like we were just ‘normal people’ - well - we are normal people but we were just able to travel on our own through a station, without another human being there to help us. I like to travel, so being able to travel through Euston station alone would be incredible.- Courtney Nugent
To find out more, explore the Wayfindr Open Standard.