East Lothian MSP Iain Gray has welcomed the innovation of an entrepreneur seeking to make pedestrian crossing systems easier for the disabled and the blind.
Gavin Neate, who worked for Guide Dogs for the Blind for 18 years, has invented a phone app called Neatebox, that links phones to boxes inside crossing systems, letting the user control it easily from their phone. The phone then tells them when it is safe to cross via a message on the screen, audio or vibration.
Currently, pedestrian crossings require disabled or blind users to hold a cone at the back of the crossing post, which alerts them when it is safe to cross. This can make organising a guide dog or walking stick tricky, costing the pedestrian vital seconds needed to cross safely. In other cases the cone cannot be reached in the first place.
After meeting with Mr Neate to see how the phone app works with the crossing, Iain Gray said:
“This is a fantastic idea, and I hope that local authorities will get behind rolling it out to more of their pedestrian crossings when it is completed.
“Navigating a pedestrian crossing can be so difficult for people with mobility problems or visual impairment, in ways that many of us will never properly understand.
“I hope then that Gavin’s idea continues to develop and gain technical and business support, which will no doubt greatly benefit our most vulnerable pedestrians.”