Whether by train, plane, or automobile, travel has inherent challenges for everyone, it just has more for folks with disabilities. Today, between more accessible web sites (regular and mobile) and accessible mobile apps related to travel, the experience is getting better!
Trip planning is easier with increased disability-specific features of lodging and entertainment. Using large travel sites is challenging but doable if one is persistent. Now, I can schedule ground transportation to and from the airport, book hotels, buy plane tickets, and keep all the documentation of such on my phone. I can also track my flight via push notifications, often learning of gate changes and delays before they are announced in the terminal.
I used to have to arrange most reservations by phone and mark printed tickets and copies of reservations in Braille, writing down all needed confirmation numbers. Now, so long as I keep my phone charged, all that information is more available.
GPS apps also allow me to be better oriented in a strange city, as well as playing navigator for my husband/driver on car trips. Most folks who are blind use several GPS apps depending on what tasks are most important. Some are better in rural areas, while others are more accurate with city locations. Some are only good while driving and others provide details useful for pedestrians. Prior to mobile phones and accessible apps, people who are blind had to buy dedicated expensive devices to obtain accessible GPS information. Future improvements desired include more accurate location detection and indoor navigation.
Pat Pound is a disability consultant from Austin, Texas who has used technology for many years, starting a training unit for people who are blind in the '80′s. She worked for the State of Texas for many years and shaped disability policy including information accessibility. She is now "retired" but that just means she only does work she likes! She is a weaver, game enthusiast, and has trained teachers of visually impaired kids regarding use of IOS devices. "My own blindness has lead me down many interesting paths and it's such fun now to see how technology can improve our lives!"
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