Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T) are collaborating on an innovative project sponsored by the Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility (CATM) Tier 1 UTC. The goal of the Vulnerable Road User Mobility Assistance Platform (VRU-MAP) project is to improve the safety and efficiency of mobility for people with disabilities who walk and use transit in urban and suburban environments. We are accomplishing this by developing an application platform that will provide highly personalized guidance.
As with existing navigation software, this app will allow travelers to use their smartphones to map out routes to destinations and provide turn-by-turn directions. However, this app will provide routes that are custom-tailored to an individual’s unique needs and capabilities. For example, a wheelchair user needs to avoid stairs, while a person who is frail may require a place to sit and rest at regular intervals.
The VRU-MAP app will enable users to save personal information about themselves that is relevant to their transportation needs, such as stamina and ability to traverse uneven terrain. It will then combine that personal information with publicly-available information about route nodes, elevation changes, weather, traffic, multimodal transit, etc., along with crowd-sourced information about route impediments (such as construction), facilities, rest opportunities, etc. to provide personalized route guidance for users.