‘It’s really empowering’: How new CTA bus stop poles will make a difference for the blind and the visually impaired

CHICAGO (CBS) — Almost half a million bus rides are taken in Chicago each day. 

On your subsequent commute contemplate how simple it’s to find your bus stop. Morning Insider Lauren Victory explains the significance of a easy signal that might pop up at your stop quickly.

In our fast-paced metropolis, Greg Polman and Colleen Wunderlich use information canines to navigate the hustle and bustle to get to their jobs at the Chicago Lighthouse.

“I take the bus to and from work,” stated Wunderlich, Vice President of Partnerships and head of the Forsythe Entrepreneurial Center which helps the visually impaired begin companies.

Her commute is one that individuals with sight may take for granted. Consider the totally different poles that might be at a stop: bus pole, parking pole, mild pole.

“The bus pulls up and I’m not in the proper place then the bus drives away and I miss my opportunity to get where I’m going,” stated Wunderlich, recalling a scenario she stated has occurred greater than as soon as.

New bus stop labels in Braille might be the answer. The tiny indicators could seem easy however Polman stated the Chicago Transit Authority tapped him and others from the visually impaired neighborhood for assist and a lot of thought went into the design.

“Textures, contrast quality of braille, quality of the embossed lettering on the signs,” stated Polman, Chicago Lighthouse’s Vice President of Policy.

He shared that one other rigorously chosen element was the signal’s coloration. It is blue with white lettering. Polman says that coloration scheme appeared to be a winner for individuals on the advisory committee who had some imaginative and prescient loss. He is taken into account completely blind.

We requested CTA why the tactile indicators are being put in now – in 2022.

“The A.D.A is pretty recent still,” stated Irma Gomez, CTA’s A.D.A. Compliance Manager. A.D.A. stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The legislation handed in 1990.

“A lot of organizations are barely catching up,” Gomez stated, including that CTA’s been placing in the work. That contains a multi-year, multi-part A.D.A. upgrade to its practice system and listening to bus riders who requested the tactile indicators. 

“The fact that CTA has made a commitment to becoming more accessible, I think it’s really empowering,” stated Gomez.

CTA tells CBS2 it researched accessibility signage utilized by varied different transit businesses together with Atlanta (MARTA), Los Angeles (LA Metro), Austin (Capital Metro), Charlotte (CATS), Vancouver (Translink).

The price to fabricate and set up the new tactile indicators is $380,350 which was partially paid for with a grant.

Only about 1,300 tactile indicators will be put in as a part of a pilot program though Chicago is residence to greater than 10,000 bus stops.

We’re instructed that is in case commuters counsel any modifications like a peak adjustment. Gomez defined it is simpler to tweak a smaller variety of indicators. 

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