​Lyft and BIKETOWN Partner with Lazarillo to Help the Blind and Visually Impaired Community Navigate Portland Streets and Sidewalks​

Lyft and BIKETOWN are partnering with Lazarillo, a free app-based service that helps people with visual disabilities to navigate through their city and building environments and more actively participate in society. Lazarillo is available for Android & iOS and is available in 25 languages. The Lazarillo app works by providing users with real-time audio messages about streets they are walking, while also helping them navigate through buildings such as shops or restaurants.

“With its robust network of blind and low vision users, we’re working with Lazarillo to help ensure both shared bikes and the visually impaired can coexist and thrive in Portland,” said Caroline Samponaro, VP of Transit, Bike and Scooter Policy at Lyft. “By integrating the location of BIKETOWN stations and bikes into Lazarillo’s app, together we are helping users travel safely through the streets.”

The partnership has the following features:

API Integration & Alerts: Lazarillo has integrated and created profiles for all BIKETOWN stations in their app, when Lazarillo users come across a BIKETOWN station the app will alert them. Additionally, Lazarillo will integrate Lyft’s API to alert users to the presence of bikes locked outside of stations.

Reporting & Customer Support: Lazarillo has integrated Lyft’s customer support phone number and online form into their app so that their users can more easily connect with a customer support agent and report if they have encountered an improperly parked bike or scooter.

Heat Maps: By generating heat maps made with aggregated data on how Lazarillo users move through Portland, Lyft’s operations team will use this information to help prioritize the sweeping (clearing bikes that may have been freelocked by users) of areas on sidewalks where people with vision loss most frequently travel.

Workshops: Lazarillo and Lyft both believe in constantly seeking input from the communities we serve. Lazarillo has held workshops with hundreds of Orientation and Mobility Instructors across the country to provide Lazarillo users information on using the app and seeks feedback for improvement. This partnership will host free outreach workshops for Lazarillo users and interested members of the blind and visually impaired community to provide feedback on using the app to better meet their needs of exploring, navigating, creating routes and reporting improperly parked micromobility devices.

BIKETOWN is a partnership between the City of Portland’s Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Nike, the program’s founding partner and sole title sponsor. BIKETOWN is operated by Lyft, the world’s leading bikeshare operator.