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WayFinder: Cognitive Aid for Independent Transportation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44HD056706-02
Agency Tracking Number: HD056706
Amount: $746,938.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2007-2
Solicitation Year: 2008
Award Year: 2008
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 008546678
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (719) 592-0347
Business Contact
Phone: (719) 592-0347
Research Institution

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 individuals 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 opportunity 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 integrates 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 intellectual 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 are 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 public 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 family, 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 other 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 increase 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 an 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 others to meet these transportation needs.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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