Call for ideas for more accessible transport services for the blind

The team of DANOVA Project, a transnational cooperation project financed by the INTERREG Danube Transnational Program, has launched a call for innovatory ideas and solutions to assist persons with visual impairments or blind people. The proposals must address the problem of mobility so as to transform this into a safe and efficient one for these persons.

In a news conference at IPN, Neli Muntean, financial manager of the Technical University of Moldova who is in charge of the implementation of DANOVA, said the ideas will be assessed by an international and interdisciplinary jury and the objective of the assessment will be the quality and utility of the ideas. The winner will be announced on December 1, 2021 and this will be able to present the idea at the International Conference in Vienna. The winning idea will be published in the official materials of the project and the author will be able to get acquainted not only with the partners of the project, but also with the backers.

The call is addressed to innovators and creative persons, entrepreneurs and young people. “They should not remain indifferent and should somehow contribute to improving the access of persons with visual impairments to airports, train stations,” stated Neli Muntean. The call is open from September 1 until October 15. The first assessment of the project proposals will be carried out in mid-November.

The ideas can be transmitted to project manger Ilie Bricicaru, dean of the Faculty of Urbanism and Architecture, UTM:

Nicolae Ciobanu, senior specialist on social issues, culture, sport, the mass media and activity of territorial organizations in Moldova at the Association of the Blind of Moldova, said the persons with visual impairments who are members of the association will welcome the idea of DANOVA. Today, having access to different modern gadgets, such as telephones and computers, they can install digital annexes on these so as to gain access to transport services provided by each transport institution to visually impaired persons. For these services to be more efficient, the psychology of the persons with visual impairments should be taken into account. There should be training programs for persons who work in the transport sector so that these better know the needs of the persons with visual impairments.

Nicolae Ciobanu also said that a digital guide showing where different services (such as ticket office, passenger hall, shops) are situated is needed at the Chinua International Airport. An employee should be empowered to provide guidance services at the airport to the blind persons who ask for this. In the halls of transport institutions, there should be boards with not only visual, but also sound information. A GPS program can be installed in cellphones to help the persons with visual impairments travel from one street to another.

About 9,000 persons with severe, accentuated and ordinary visual impairments are under the supervision of the Association. In the country, there are approximately 20,000 such persons. The Association provides services for persons who are between 18 and the retirement age.

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