Bolt teams up with NCBI to tackle the daily obstacles faced by the visually impaired

September 14, 2021

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Bolt engineering and operations teams have taken part in workshops and blind simulations to better understand what obstacles people who are blind or visually impaired face on a daily basis. This will massively help in further improvements of our micromobility service.

At Bolt, we focus on making urban travel more convenient, affordable and sustainable for everyone. This is why we took part in a workshop hosted by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) where people living with blindness or vision impairment shared their experiences and views on increased e-scooter usage and any current concerns. 

NCBI provides practical and emotional support, rehabilitation services and other training designed to help 55,000 people who are blind or visually impaired live independently and confidently. 

Members of Bolt’s international e-scooter engineering and operations teams participated in the discussion as well as took part in the low vision and blindness simulation activities to gain a better understanding of the obstacles faced by people who are blind or visually impaired. 

A big step for future improvements

Participating in such an event and getting direct feedback from people who don’t necessarily benefit from having e-scooters on the streets is extremely valuable and will help us with future improvements. 

We’ll start with the basics, for example, testing the ambient noise feature that will make a sound in areas with a high footfall to make e-scooters more distinguishable. 

We’re also planning to update the latest model of our e-scooter with improvements based on the discussions from this workshop. 

We’ll also publish our findings and recommendations to raise awareness of the challenges of pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired and how multi-modal transportation in Europe can become more convenient for them.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with Bolt to advise and upskill them on the challenges e-scooters present to people who are blind or visually impaired so they can ensure that the scooter model has key safety features such as audio signals, speed limitations and rider training.“

“We hope that this collaboration will result in safer roads and footpaths for all and will raise the awareness of vulnerable pedestrians,” — says Chantelle Smith, the NCBI Access and Mobility Manager.

Safe alternative to public transport for all

We’ve already introduced a number of safety features to our software and hardware, including speed limitation for beginners, safety tips and local rules. We also frequently remind our users how to scoot responsibly.

Raising the awareness of vulnerable pedestrians and educating our users to be more mindful and careful when they are riding or parking a scooter is just another step that we take in making micromobility service not just affordable, but also safe for every road user.

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