James Grice, a second-year University of Kent (Britain) Business School BSc (Bachelor of Science) Management student, has launched a new iPhone app designed to help make rail travel more accessible for blind and visually impaired travelers by alerting them when their train is nearing a station stop, ensuring that they don’t miss it.
Grice’s “Stay on Route” app lets users pre-program the app with their destination station and set an alert, such as an alarm or a vibration, for when the station is a set distance away. Grice says that the app, though developed for improving accessibility, “could also be used by all types of travelers worried they may miss their stop if reading, resting or otherwise distracted.”
Grice developed the app in 2018 and was a runner-up in the university’s Business Start-Up Journey, receiving £500 investment (US$636) toward the app. Since then, he has worked with the Kent Business School ASPIRE (Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise) team to help bring the app to market, launching it first for iOS. It’s the first iteration of the app, and Grice says he hopes to gather feedback from initial users to assist with general updates and new ideas to help make it as user-friendly as possible.
“Stay on Route has huge potential to make train travel easier and more relaxing for visually impaired travelers, as well as anyone else who may be worried about missing their stop,” Grice says. “It has been great to have the support of the KBS ASPIRE team at the University to bring the app to market. Hopefully, with feedback from users, it will continue to develop into a must-have travel app.”
Established in 1965, the University of Kent describes itself as “the UK’s European university, with almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centers at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome. It was ranked 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018 and in June 2017 was awarded a gold rating, the highest, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). In 2018 it was also ranked in the top 500 of Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities and 47th in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) new European Teaching Rankings. Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (Research Excellence Framework 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality. Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium. The University is worth £0.7 billion (approximately US$890 million) to the economy of southeast [Britain] and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3 million (approximately US$373 million) and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals. Kent has received two Queen’s Anniversary prizes for Higher and Further Education.”