Industrial - Bachelors

VIP Transit

Currently, visually impaired and blind persons face significant challenges in using public transportation, particularly when it comes to catching buses independently. VIP Transit addresses to help them navigate bus stops, identify approaching buses, and board the correct bus with ease.


Access to public transportation in any city is a basic human right not only for travelling to and from work but to keep people connected and allow people to participate fully in society. Public transportation is a way for people to engage in the community and have independence and for some people it is their only means of transportation for many reasons.

Even with the advances in technology today, visually impaired people still utilise rudimentary means of gaining access to buses. They may experience unnecessary difficulties and anxiety throughout their journey on public transport due to a lack of well-designed and functional devices that allow them to board easily, safely and have an accurate journey. Due to these factors, and the absence of well deigned technological advances the majority of VIBP do not or cannot use a bus service. Stress levels are high in anticipating the bus journey and many blind people opt for alternate means of transportation altogether. As a result it becomes more difficult to access education, employment, and health care as well as social activities.


Secondary Research

Both secondary and primary research was conducted to inform the design of VIP Transit. Over the past few decades the development of assistive technologies and the improvements in smartphone technology have given VIBP more options to improve their journey on public transport. However, many VIBP still often have to resort to archaic ways in order to travel using public transport. Numerous studies that have conducted surveys indicate that public transport driver’s attitudes and awareness is an ongoing issue when travelling. Typically, drivers will forget to stop, not offer help, and/or have language barriers.

The design requirements of public transport is outlined in the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (2002) (DSAPT). Section 27.4 states that “All passengers must be given the same level of access to information on their whereabouts during a public transport journey.” Interview respondents in a report from 2013 indicated that the absence of audio-announcements negatively influenced their confidence to travel independently and safely, as they weren’t always sure where they were.

Currently, in Australia bus services compared to other public transport options, need improved accessibility for VIBP. In many states the public transport systems simply just offer free travel for vision impaired users and very little beyond this is provided by the city.

Primary research

Primary research was gathered from two interviews with end users and one interview with an accessibility expert from Transport and Main Roads. The findings from these interviews supported and added depth to many of the themes explored in the secondary research. Common pain points through their journeys were identified between both end users. These include, drivers unawareness, receiving incorrect information, heavily reliant on phone, and the constant need to be paying high attention to avoid issues.

Research Report
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product features

VIP Transit as been designed to be accessible for a range of visually impaired users with varying abilities. It features high contrast colours and illuminated rims on the buttons for low vision users. Haptic and audio feedback through the buttons so users know they have pressed it. Compatibility with smart devices including phones and watches, which many VIBP travelling will likely have with them at all times.




The device is attached to a pole that is situated at the lead bus stop in line with the braille ground markings at any bus station. In addition it will emit a occasional “beep” every 10 seconds to help users identify its location. The main interface of the product has been designed to sit at an angle that is comfortable for a wide range of users to interact with.

The app interaction is an extension of the current TransLink app that many users already have or could easily download. This decision was informed by the research as many VIBP are unlikely to download apps that they haven’t heard of or weren’t recommended. Generally, many will simply not use an app that doesn’t demonstrate obvious benefits. Therefore, by adding extra capabilities within the TransLink apps users will find it easier to engage as it is an interface they are likely to be familiar with. Users would use their Vision Impairment Travel Pass (VITP) to access the extension of the app.

Through the app users can pre-program route information for easy access. After tapping on the products NFC chip they can choose their desired route on the app and once confirmed a signal will be sent through to the driver informing them that a VIBP is waiting for their bus. Users will be able to get real-time updates of the next buses arriving through the app, so they can be ready to board when it arrives as well as have the driver aware of their presence.

Adriana Silvey

Adriana is an industrial designer with skills and knowledge in international business. Her experience in user research, product development, and visual communication have led to a keen interest in sustainable and impactful design.