The government has released free of charge a trial app called “Personal navigation,” which provides information on barrier-free routes in Tokyo through a user’s cell phone. Its aim is to assist people whose mobility is impaired, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Hitachi, Ltd. and Navitime Japan Co. were commissioned to develop the app, which was created over a period of about four years. If a user enters their current location and destination, a route will be displayed on the screen that avoids streets that are difficult for handicapped persons to use due to such elements as stairs and sharp inclines, and features such assistance as audible pedestrian signals and elevators. A voice feature will guide users along the route.
Information on such features as changes in level and inclines was initially compiled for the trial app for the areas around Toyosu and Ariake, which are close to the competition venues for the Olympics and Paralympics. There are plans to gradually expand the area covered in the future, beginning with the city center.
The app was devised with such people as the visually impaired and wheelchair users in mind, but the Cabinet Office has said that it wants to realize means of getting around that are pleasant and easy to use for all.”
The trial app will be available through the end of January 2019. The aim is to resolve problems that are discovered and complete development by the 2020 Games.
Making the app available in mutiple languages, such as English, Chinese and Korean, is also being considered.