Voice-enabled ‘accessible journey planner’ launched on Google and Amazon

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A new journey planning voice recognition tool has launched on Google and Amazon Alexa which is designed to help disabled people navigate London.

This type of software has been around for a while, but has not until now taken step-free or other accessibility requirements into account. The new version, when enabled, only suggests accessible routes, and takes the differing journey time into account.

Developed by insurance firm, Simply Business, in partnership with mobility equipment charity, Whizz-Kidz, the software is integrated with Transport for London’s API.

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This means it can replicate the original route planner instructions in a voice-enabled platform, but now it gives meaningful directions for those with accessibility issues.

A spokesperson for Google said: “Simply Business is supported by the Google Assistant via the Actions on Google programme, and with the work they have done with Whizz-Kidz, they have created one of the first charity Actions in the UK.

“Whizz-Kidz does a fantastic job every day to help young wheelchair users, and we hope this will help London’s disabled population. We look forward to receiving users’ feedback.”

Meanwhile, Beatriz Montoya, the product lead for the project and Simply Business’s digital marketing director, said: “For many people with disabilities, finding accessible travel routes around London is time-consuming and making the journey can be difficult.”

“Through this project, we are aiming to both simplify the process and make it more enjoyable for disabled people to move around this great city.

“Simply Business is committed to making a positive contribution to wider society, as well as our business insurance customers, and this is one demonstration of how business can be a force for good.”

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