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Here’s how TransLink is testing new navigation technology

Here’s how TransLink is testing new navigation technology

Bus driving by NaviLens coded decal at bus stop in covered bus exchange.
NaviLens coded decals have been installed at three locations in Metro Vancouver.

TransLink is testing a new accessibility tool — the first of its kind in Canada — that can help customers with sight loss better navigate the transit system independently.

Starting in late February, transit customers can download the NaviLens app from the App Store or Google Play to scan specialized coded decals at three transit locations in New Westminster and Vancouver.

The decals work just like QR codes — only they’re bigger and brighter, and they can be scanned from up to 14 metres away.

TransLink Accessible Navigation Project NaviLens coded decal at bus stop.
NaviLens coded decal at TransLink bus stop.

Once the decals are scanned, the app provides audio instructions that guide customers to bus stops and exact points of pick-up.

The app can also identify nearby amenities, such as elevators, and provide real-time information alerts.

How it works

  • No focus is required to scan codes
  • Codes can be scanned in all light conditions
  • The app can be used while the customer is moving
Person with sight loss using NaviLens app to scan coded decal at elevator..
The NaviLens app helps people with sight loss in cities around the world. (Photo: Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona)

The NaviLens system is in use around the world, in cities such as New York City, Liverpool, and Madrid, to help people with sight loss find their way in public spaces, including transit systems, rail stations, and shopping centres.

The innovative technology has even been tested on cereal boxes in the UK to read aloud labelling and allergy information.

Where to find them

  • Sixteen NaviLens codes have been installed at three TransLink locations
    • 10 bus bays at New Westminster SkyTrain Station
    • Four bus stops near the CNIB office in New Westminster
    • Two bus stops near the VCC campus on East Broadway in Vancouver
Bus parked beside bus stop with NaviLens coded decal attached to it.
Accessible Navigation Project NaviLens coded decal.

Last year, TransLink began installing braille signage at every bus stop – roughly 8,400 – throughout Metro Vancouver. In addition, we’re also installing tactile walking surface indicators at every bus stop on TransLink-owned and leased property.

The Accessible Navigation Project will run for six months and be evaluated for future expansion throughout the region.

Visit for more information or to participate in the pilot.


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