A common barrier to transferring relates to confusion from the point of view of the traveler. Specifically, this can directly relate to signage (digital signs or route maps), audio cues (speakers or individual verbalizing), delayed scheduling (late pickup/drop-off), and transition from drop-off point to pick up point. Under the perfect conditions when all these are functioning and are emphasized, it is still difficult for a new traveler to get to a new location without stress, anxiety, or being disorientated. Additionally, when you incorporate medical conditions physical, cognitive, social, and emotional barriers can arise. Personally, the biggest challenge I face is faded street signs, pick-up location across street at a confusing intersection, limited access to support or guidance. I cannot imagine adding the challenge of a cognitive or physical impairment to ensure I transfer to another mode of transportation on time with all my belongings. Access to information is going to support smooth transfers by reassuring commuters.
Recommendations: Tech friendly options need to be provided through application development to address additional features. For example, individuals who are hard of hearing that utilize a smart phones can program their route and receive push notifications that vibrate and illuminate their phone to cue upcoming stop that they need to use to transfer – this also can be interconnected into the mode of transportation (bus, shuttle, vehicle, train) they boarded that reminds the operator of the upcoming stop (in context of those that only stop at requested locations). Most issues arise when riders are distracted with their trip plan, stress of traveling, personal life, etc. that they forget the responsibility of notifying the operator of their stop. This universally is beneficial to all commuters. Additionally, when building this into a point to point service you can customize the feature as a user to provide the cues that best suit you (video, audio, tactile). At drop-off locations that require you to walk to a new pick-up location the app can provide navigation cues. These cues should be clearly marked, potentially adding a painted path on sidewalk in conjunction with the app navigation. However, tech friendly solutions will not work for everyone nor in isolation of environmental cues. Accessibility has to be a multifaceted approach addressing smartphone users and non-tech users with supportive environment features. Main transfer stations should have well outlined information point with potential to interact with smart/low options such as a representative or information screen that remote connects to a representative to ensure updated transfer information is acquired (similar to airports). This hybrid approach should also be inclusive, understanding a wide range of barriers. Consulting a wide range of transportation specialists and those who live with a wide range of barriers will provide smart, interconnected, accessible, and inclusive transportation options for consumers.