MTA unveils new 'accessibility laboratory' in Brooklyn testing commuter ideas for disabled riders

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A transit hub in Brooklyn is being used by the MTA as a so-called "test kitchen" to see which ideas work best for disabled riders.

The MTA unveiled Wednesday an "accessibility laboratory" -- the first of its kind in the world -- at the Jay St.-MetroTech station in Downtown Brooklyn.

There will be 11 different accessibility features tested in the one station, including features that help riders with hearing disabilities, decreased eyesight, wayfinder signs, signs in braille, stripes on the ground and other ideas to be tested to help commuters.

The new features include both physical infrastructure and smartphone apps, all designed to make subway travel more accessible for riders of all abilities.

MTA officials say the pilot program is a "living lab," and while the features are on display, customers at the Jay St-MetroTech station can test any of them in a live station environment and provide feedback directly to New York City Transit.

The apps include:
--NaviLens: Provides sign information in audio for people who are blind or low vision
--NaviLensGO: Creates dynamic visual navigation
--Aira: Connects people who are blind or low vision to professional agents who will help navigate through the station
--MagnusCards: Breaks down the experiences of riding the subway for people with cognitive disabilities
--ClickAndGo: Wayfinding offers detailed step-by-step audio directions, location descriptions, and more, all with accompanying high-contrast maps
--Waymap: Calibrates your walking style to give detailed step-by-step audio guidance for people who are blind or low vision

Floor Treatments:
The MTA is testing new floor applications at various locations in the station that are intended to assist people with disabilities but can help anyone navigate.

Tactile Signs and Maps
The MTA is testing new kinds of tactile and graphic signage, designed to help people with disabilities and all users more easily navigate the station.

For more information on these and all the other features being tested, visit

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