Ryerson DMZ Helps Paris’ Special Travelers, Soon Toronto’s

Researchers at the Ryerson DMZ (Digital Media Zone) have developed an app that helps special needs individuals navigate complex transit systems. This novel app will act as a guide, communication system and accessibility system for a variety of different users. With its first implementation in the Paris Metro, the Mobile Transit Companion is now being developed along with Go Transit and Metrolinx for use in Toronto.

What makes this app unique is that it is contextually of a few different variables, including location, time, traffic in the subway and the profile of the user. With these data-sets a custom application can be served to each user. Poor sighted users traveling at 6pm (rush hour) will have a very different experience with the app from say a deaf user travelling at 1pm.

Developing for the Toronto market poses new considerations for creators the Mobile Transit Companion app. The version currently being used in Paris works only on the Android platform; there is a relatively high level of adoption in France for this mobile OS. Widespread Blackberry use in Toronto requires that the Mobile Transit Companion app be ported over, to ensure adoption.

Unfortunately, there are no plans to further develop this The Mobile Travel Companion for the TTC subways. An obvious reason for this is that no cellular service in the TTC tunnels, but perhaps the streetcar and bus system could use it.

Initial Toronto pilot projects of this app will begin this summer with alpha and beta’s to begin in the fall. There is an expectation that this app will be fully available in Toronto within 12 months.