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WayFinder: Cognitive Aid for Independent Transportation

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2007 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
AbleLink Technologies, Inc.
618 N. Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903-0116
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2007
Title: WayFinder: Cognitive Aid for Independent Transportation
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R44HD056706-01
Award Amount: $100,000.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): WAYFINDER: A Cognitive Aid for Independent Transportation ABSTRACT Transportation and mobility have long been areas of great dependency for individuals with intellectual disabilities, such as mental retardation. Few ind ividuals with intellectual disabilities obtain drivers licenses. Other typical modes of transit, such as taxi service, are prohibitive due to cost issues. The dominant modes of transportation for this population continue to be 1) specialized transportation services provided by schools or service agencies, and 2) public transit (i.e., bus) systems. Specialized services are usually segregated and often pose restrictions on destinations and require advanced reservations. Public transit systems present an oppor tunity for more independent and integrated transportation. However, there are many inherent barriers to using transit systems for people with intellectual disabilities. The proposed project is to develop and evaluate WayFinder, a portable system that integ rates Palmtop computers, global positioning systems, and instant messaging technology in a simplified multimedia application to provide intelligent audio and visual cues to facilitate independent navigation of public transit systems by individuals with int ellectual disabilities. This goal of the proposed Phase I/Phase II project is to develop an independently usable system to enhance access to community based health related resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Specific aims in Phase I a re to develop requirements for the system, design and build a software prototype, and conduct a pilot study using a complete between- subjects repeated measures design to evaluate the utility of the system for improving independence and self-direction in p ublic transit navigation. In Phase II, the prototype system will be developed into a fully functional software/hardware system that will be used in a field study to determine the impact of longer term use of the WAYFINDER system on transportation supports needs and self-determination. The field study will employ a randomized, placebo control group design. The hypothesis is that the system will significantly increase independence in navigating public transit systems and therefore decrease dependency on famil y, staff and other caregivers. Implications include increased opportunities for self-direction and independent mobility, improved access to health related services including medical, therapeutic, wellness, recreation, nutrition, work opportunities and othe r resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. WayFinder has commercial potential for schools, service agencies and individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. Enabling individuals to independently use public transit will in crease work opportunities and decrease costs associated with transportation assistance. This project will result in WayFinder, a low-cost, powerful system that will enable individuals with cognitive disabilties to be able to use public transit systems in a n independent manner. This is relevant to the public health by enabling greater access to medical, therapeutic, wellness, recreation and other community based health interventions for a segment of the American population that is currently dependent upon ot hers to meet these transportation needs.

Principal Investigator:

Daniel K. Davies

Business Contact:
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 841528899
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No