Blackburn has become the first town outside of Scotland to deploy Edinburgh’s Neatebox mobile phone technology to help disabled people safely cross roads.
With Neatebox‘s free Button app, pedestrians can use their mobile phone or smart watch to press the buttons at pedestrian crossings. It aims to address the issue of inaccessible crossings for a person with a mobility or visual impairment.
The free app allows pedestrians to focus on positioning and alignment prior to crossing the street. The app is aimed at encouraging people to walk more and to decrease the anxiety associated with the crossing process.
The technology was fitted at a pedestrian crossing in Longshaw Street, Ewood, after it was damaged. If it proves to be a success, the tech will be rolled out across other locations in Blackburn, according to the area’s Darwen council.
Safer for everyone
Councillor Jamie Groves, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Assistant Executive Member for Regeneration and Ewood Ward councillor, said: “It’s important that everyone can get about safely and easily but this can sometimes be difficult for pedestrians with disabilities.
“When the Longhsaw Street pedestrian crossing had to be replaced because of damage, we thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to install this innovative technology which we hope will help to make our borough safer for everyone.”
Capita, which provides highways services for the council, intends to add the Bluetooth technology to other pedestrion crossings during future routing upgrades.
Neatebox was set up in 2011 by former guide dog mobility instructor, Gavin Neate, who said: “I was fed up watching my clients struggle to find and press the crossing button. It made perfect sense to find a way in which their mobile phone could do it for them.”
Neatebox technology has previously been installed at locations in Gogar, Largs and Locharbriggs in Scotland.