Pilot program offers public transportation mobility assistance to the visually impaired

An 18-month pilot program to aid the visually impaired use Connecticut’s transit system is now underway.

In a news release, Gov. Ned Lamont unveiled the program that will utilize Aira at no cost for individuals who are blind or have low vision, which in turn allows them to connect with trained, live agents in real-time to help use the public transportation system.

“This is an innovative way to use technology to enhance the mobility opportunities for people who are blind or have low vision and provide access to all of the essential services offered in Connecticut,” Lamont said in the release.

Aira, according to the release, uses the camera on a smartphone to stream live video to an agent who will inform the user of their surroundings. Agents will narrate and interpret what they see for the user, including how to use ticket machines, navigating public transportation hubs, or even access other services.

The program launched on Friday, according to the release, and is a collaboration between the state’s Department of Transportation and Department of Aging and Disability Services and the Federal Highway Administration. The Connecticut Transportation Institute at the University of Connecticut is administering the program, which is federally funded.

“We’re very pleased to offer this service to customers who may have visual impairments,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti in the release. “Our mission is to give all our riders access to vital public transportation services. We’re happy to be connecting people with our state’s extensive transit system to improve their quality of life – getting people to work, schools, health care, and so much more.”

In a news release, Aira said Connecticut is the first state in the country to utilize the app “to create the best public transit experiences” for the visually impaired.

For more information on this program and instructions for how to sign up, visit

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