COMPAGNON: END-TO-END ASSISTED TRANSPORT SYSTEM FOR PEOPLE WITH MOBILITY IMPAIRMENTS
Faustino Cuadrado Capitán, Mass Factory Urban Accessible Mobility, S.L., Jordi Roig De Zárate, Universitat Autònoma De Barcelona - Bellaterra
Compagnon, the innnovative intelligent guidance system that allows people with special needs to travel autonomously. The evidence of how Smart City concept boosts social inclusion and becomes a daily tool enhancing mobility and self-esteem of users
1. THE PAST VS APP&TOWN COMPAGNON
In the EU area, over 100 million people suffer from some form of disability and require assistance in everyday trips. Limited access to transportation is considered to be one of the causes of exclusion, discrimination and lower access to employment and, as a result, reduced income and a higher risk of poverty, according to the World Report on Disability (1).
However, less than 1% of people with disabilities are eligible or serviced by Paratransit service operators. Compagnon is a disruptive Smart City’s solution to reduce accessibility barriers for people with mobility impairments. Compagnon serves as an assisted transport platform for people with disabilities or mobility impairments to travel safely and self-sufficiently, retaining their autonomy and reducing the risk of disorientation, conflict or exclusion.
2. THREE PILLARS OF APP&TOWN COMPAGNON
It is focused on providing a location monitoring and route planning tool to design custom routes for people with special needs and remotely supervise their trips to ensure their safety. Compagnon System is based on three technological disruptions.
A high-precision guidance and route planning system that combines state-of-the-art GPS location monitoring and a newly designed indication system for indoors facilities and no-connectivity environments.
Interfaces intended for providing route indications and accessible interactions to every demographic with special needs: such as people with mild cognitive disabilities, elderly people and also people with contextual disabilities (children, tourists or immigrants).
The user’s location is transmitted in real time to either specialized Control Centres or to a relative of the user to respond to alerts, track their advancements and ensure safety. A City Angels Collaborative Network enables volunteers to help users in response to emergencies.
3. FEATURES OF APP&TOWN COMPAGNON
3.1. Route planning and high precision guidance
It has been designed a Polygon-Driven Guidance Algorithm which will autonomously generate, using geomapping technologies such as Java Topology Suite and GeoTools. These polygons serve as containers for acceptable locations within the route ensuring the proper guidance of the entire trip.
3.2. Indoor guidance
In order to ensure highly precise guidance an indoor guidance system is provided. Due to the lack of GPS and the possible lack of Wi-Fi or Mobile Network coverage, indoor guidance is achieved with a dictionary of standard instructions based on spatial and visual references.
3.3. Remote supervision
Web-based control panels are used to:
a) design custom routes for the user, considering slope, potential hazards and the public transportation opportunities,
b) receive alerts when users leave the route or use the Help button,
c) contact the users to provide help by phone and
d) monitor the movements of the users.
3.4. City Angels supervision
Compagnon integrates an innovative collaborative platform of citizen volunteers who will offer their assistance to users who are lost or disoriented. Citizen volunteers are able to receive alerts when a Compagnon user is in need of help, either because they used the Help button or left the predesigned route.
Experimental interfaces are developed with regards to accessibility requirements and guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These interfaces will be developed initially for three key demographics in the Compagnon potential user reach:
a) Fragile population: who have difficulty to freely travel through the city or urban areas, such as children or immigrants.
b) Elder population: who needs a system to feel more confidence in their trips, with which they can return home and which will alert their relatives.
c) People with mild cognitive disabilities: who can perform predefined routes on their own.
3.6. Data analysis and Business Intelligence
A Big Data analysis module is under development in order to identify trends through the analysis of the data provided by the location monitoring module, the control panels, the City Angels module and the interfaces. The objective is to detect potential conflicts within the routes, the indications provided or the interfaces, as well as identifying problematic points within the city.
Collected data through the BI unit will also serve as research data for therapy specialists for the different collectives with disabilities in order analyse conduct on autonomy, travel, elements or places that trigger confusion and learning curves.
1. World Health Organization and World Bank – World Report on Disability, p.10, 2011.
2. People considered to have grade 1 or 2 disabilities according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) by the World Health Organization.
Association for European Transport