Accessible Routing

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The "Accessible Routing" project ([1]) aims at developing an accessible web service for route planning on the web. The geocoding and routing services as well as hosting are currently provided by OpenRouteService. Contact person is the user Ant. Actually, this project only works for Germany.

Project description

"Accessible Routing" is a web portal for accessible route planning. The web site allows to generate a route description for a desired pedestrian route - in plain text or in an embosser-ready braille format. Start and end locations are entered as adresses, the output contains a description where to turn in which street and what distance is left until the next turn.

Most routing services on the web are reserved for seeing people, because they use graphical interaction, such as maps, or excluding technologies, such as JavaScript and Flash. For this reason our focus is on designing a web site for all that can be used with refreshable braille displays and screen readers.

In upcoming releases the route description shall be more detailed. They will contain hints for orientation and special points of interest for the blind, such as tactile pavings.

Another idea is the conception of a user terminal in public space that allows passersby to get route descriptions to their desired destinations immediately.

Project status

Prototype

The first prototype is ready. Web: http://koenigstuhl.geog.uni-heidelberg.de/accessible_routing/?lang=en

Features:

  • calculation of any desired pedestrian within Germany
  • plain text input and output
  • text output in embosser-ready grade 1/grade 2 braille
  • black and white mode
  • multiple languages (so far only English and German)

Upcoming features

  • Routing conforming to the needs of the visually impaired
  • Visual map interface
  • ...


Requirements

General

requirement rationale priority planned for
Functionality without graphics Everybody shall be able to use the system 1 prototype
Functionality with graphics more comfort for the seeing 2 upcoming version
Conformity with web accessibility standards Visually impaired people shall be able to use the system unrestrainedly 1 prototype
Functionality with keyboard only Visually impaired people shall be able to use the system unrestrainedly 1 prototype
MapJumper compatibility ... 2 upcoming version
License information compulsory 1 prototype
Disclaimer compulsory 1 prototype

Compatibility

requirement rationale priority planned for
Browser compatibility The system shall be usable regardless of the browser used (top 10 browsers) 1 prototype
Operating system compatibility The system shall be usable regardless of the operating system used (top 3 Windows, top 3 Linux, top 3 mobile) 1 prototype
Screenreader compatibility The system shall be usable regardless of the screenreader used (top 10 screen readers) 1 prototype
Suitability for braille displays The system shall be usable for owners of refreshable braille displays (top 10 braille displays) 1 prototype
Suitability for embossers The system shall be usable for owners of braille printers (top 10 embossers) 1 prototype
Suitability for inkjet printing on swell paper The system shall be usable for people printing on swell paper (TIFF or PDF output) 1 upcoming version

Routing

requirement rationale priority planned for
Pedestrian routing (consider footways, crossings, etc.) Moving afoot is inevitable for all people 1 prototype
Door-to-door routing .... 1 prototype
Options for shortest and safest route .... 1 upcoming version
Consider tactile pavings and traffic signals with vibration/sound The system shall prioritize routes suitable for the visually impaired 1 upcoming version
Consider number of crossings and obstacles The system shall prioritize routes suitable for the visually impaired 2 upcoming version
Address finder Necessary with plain text input 1 prototype
Distance calculation Estimating distance is helpful 1 prototype
Time calculation Estimating time is helpful 2 prototype
Public transport routing The possibility of using public transport is relevant for pedestrians 3 upcoming version
Integration of GPS on mobile devices ... 4 upcoming version

Output

requirement rationale priority planned for
Route instructions in normal and braille type Instructions shall be printable by braille printer 1 prototype
Sending URL containing the current route ... 1 prototype
Display points of orientation (bridges, traffic lights, tactile pavings, intersecting streets) Visually impaired people need good orientation in order not to stray from the track 1 upcoming version
Display road properties (segregated footways/cycleways, grass verges, curbs, road surfaces) Disabled people need detailed advice about road properties and passability 1 upcoming version
Display danger spots (tramway, crossings, steps etc.) Some spots might be dangerous for visually impaired people 1 upcoming version
Display special POI for the blind POI mapped explicitly for blind people shall be told. 1 upcoming version
Display pedestrian zones and other special road types Area-like ways make orientation difficult 1 upcoming version
Display selected points of interest Toilets, shops etc. close to the route are hard to find. The route might be altered 2 upcoming version

User Interface

requirement rationale priority planned for
Usability The system shall be easy to use, even for non-experts 1 prototype
Clarity A clear struture helps navigate through the site 1 prototype
Scalability Font size shall be customizable 1 upcoming version
Color modes Font color and contrast shall be customizable 1 prototype
Save settings personal settings shall be remembered for logged-in users 2 upcoming version
Upload of personal favourites in the Loadstone-GPS format Users want to set their GPS locations as start/end positions 3 upcoming version

Customizability

requirement rationale priority planned for
Customizability of route descriptions People with different kinds of impairment have different needs 1 upcoming version
Managing user profiles User profiles make the management of user preferences easier 3 upcoming version

Internationalization

requirement rationale priority planned for
Multi-language support Everybody shall be able to use the system 1 prototype (limited)
Unicode support ... 1 prototype
Support for latin braille alphabets ... 1 prototype
Support for other braille alphabets ... 1  ?
Support for metric units ... 1 prototype
Support for other units ... 2 upcoming version
Controlling screen reader language ... 3 upcoming version
Worldwide data Everybody shall be able to use the system anywhere 3 upcoming version