Transportation Accessibility


user research, ictd research


Vidhya Y, Jacki O Neill, Joyojeet Pal


Blind people in the Global South experience very different challenges accessing different modes of transportation resulting from poor infrastructures and urban chaos. This includes both - traditional transportation models like buses and newer forms of transportation like technology-mediated ridesharing (Uber, Ola etc). This is in stark contrast to the Global North. To understand the role technology can play in circumventing some of these challenges we conducted an ethnography-inspired study.


We conducted interviews and observations with blind people to understand how they navigated the challenges presented by the mostly inaccessible forms of transportation.


We conducted hour long semi structured interviews with blind people who accessed different forms of transportation. We were not limited by the mode of transportation as the goal was to obtain a holistic picture across different modes.


We also obtained consent to follow blind people around as they used different forms of transport. We did 5 rounds of observations of blind people using public transportation and ridesharing systems.

Design Implications & Upcoming Publication

Some of the findings revolved around a few innovative workarounds that people used to get around aspects of their journeys. For instance, the first image below was a low-cost spatial map made of bindis (red dot worn on the center of the forehead by Indian women) which was used to learn up routes and the second was used to manage cash transactions. I am writing up this work for ASSETS 2017. Also, I intend to discuss some of proposed designs to improve access to Uber and Ola cabs. Stay tuned!