A software programmer who is legally blind is behind a new app many believe could transform the public transport experience for Australia’s blind and vision-impaired community.
The app, called See Me, has been developed by South Australian Cassie Hames to offer a more inclusive and stress-free public transport experience.
The app works by letting users alert bus drivers of their presence at a stop, ensuring they’re not missed. Once onboard, the app notifies users of upcoming stops, eliminating guesswork and anxiety.
The app recently secured a $500,000 investment from the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre, paving the way for national trials across the country.
Limited trials of the app are scheduled to commence this year in South Australia, Queensland and NSW.
Hames said navigating public transport systems can be a daunting task, especially for people who are blind or vision-impaired, however, technology such as the See Me app demonstrates how technology can be used to drive positive change in the community.
“The See Me app was an organic idea based on my experiences – and the experiences of many in the blind community – using public transport independently. Going out into the community shouldn’t be less of an experience from one person to the next, regardless of ability, disability, or anything else,” she said.
“As a frequent public transport user, I wanted to develop a solution that increases accessibility for all people so that everyone can feel comfortable, confident, and safe catching the bus.”
Hames’ employer SAGE, an Australian company that has become a leading global provider of integrated automation and control solutions, said it saw the potential of her plan to make a tangible difference in the lives of those needing assistance when catching public transport.
SAGE Group Managing Director Adrian Fahey said the See Me app is more than just a tool.
“It provides greater inclusiveness while improving safety for people taking public transport. We’re proud to be part of the journey.”
“Cassie’s unique perspective of navigating public transport and the local community is invaluable in bringing a critical voice to the conversation of accessibility in the transport industry.”
“It’s so important for us as an industry to help drive an initiative like this, and to bring greater awareness for what future mobility can achieve when embedded in the community,” he said.
Hames’ dedication to improving accessibility in public transport recently earned her international recognition when she won the Holman Prize and accompanying USD$25,000 grant from San Francisco’s Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
For a closer look at the See Me app in action, watch Hames’ explainer video here.
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