The background of the project stemmed from:
- the absence in local public transport (bus and tram stops, bus stations and interchanges, and on-board buses and trams) of an 'active' or 'interactive' signage and orientation system for blind or partially sighted persons,
- insufficient 'passive' signage and orientation systems (visual and audible), which were also inappropriate for the needs of blind persons,
- the need to assess new audible information systems for their appropriateness, in terms of selectiveness of information, reliability, noise nuisance, risks, etc.
The project's objectives were to:
- design a framework for specifications (interface, management of priority, etc) of vocal information facilities on site, in real-time interaction with users, their immediate environment and basis of updating information,
- validate the integration of technologies for transmission, updating, and selective treatment of audible information in real time aimed at blind persons,
- assess the above results also in terms of appropriateness for partially sighted persons and for public transport users in general,
- incite public transport authorities and operators to deploy audible information systems to assist blind users.
The approach is based on smart hand-held devices that are WiFi enabled Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) able to communicate by a wireless connection with fixed equipment in bus or tram stations.
The first phase involved the development and technical and functional validation of the prototypes both for the device carried by the user and the equipment at stops. RAMPE makes use of a range of different technologies to provide pertinent voice information at the right time. The decision to use technologies already in widespread use such as PDAs and WiFi will facilitate system deployment and interactions with other services.
The second phase focused on on-site trials at bus stops in interchange hubs with local authorities. Normative aspects were examined with the aim to end phase 2 with concrete operational systems that can be implemented by local authorities.