NEW YORK, Jan. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Lighthouse International in partnership with Creative Mobile Technologies, LLC (CMT) announced today that it has been invited by the United States Access Board to appear at its Tuesday, January 8th meeting held in Washington D.C. to showcase taxicab improvements for the visually impaired community. The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Half of its members are representatives from most of the Federal departments. The other half is comprised of members of the public appointed by the President, a majority of whom must have a disability.
Both Mark Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International, and Jesse Davis, President of Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT), will address the board on the groundbreaking software enhancements designed to enable blind and visually impaired taxi riders to independently access the credit card payment system and other technology features in New York's yellow medallion taxicabs as well as taxi fleets around the nation.
CMT created adaptive software that will allow blind or visually impaired taxi passengers to hear the fare changing in regular intervals during the trip and facilitate all aspects of the credit card or cash payment functions upon reaching their destination, including selection of payment options, verification of fare and selection of tip percentages. VIP Mobile, CMT's audible touch screen feature, can be activated by a special card, a multi-tap on the top right of the screen, or by simply asking the driver. The feature transforms the screen into large, easy-to-navigate sections that are operated by touch and prompted by step-by-step spoken instructions.
This software is critical to the blind and visually impaired community's ability to independently pay taxi fares. Prior to implementation of this new software, blind and visually impaired passengers who chose to use credit cards were forced to rely on cab drivers to swipe their card and enter the correct amount, including tip. Not only is this a violation of current New York City TLC rules, but also it exposes the visually impaired passenger to the potential for fraudulent transactions, including overpayment. In addition to its New York City rollout, CMT plans to introduce software in 4,500 credit card and payment systems in taxis around the country.
"CMT's adaptive software will ensure that the millions of people who are blind and visually impaired in New York City, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, as well as nine other major US cities, will be a part of a community that benefits from independent payment and other technology in taxi fleets around the nation," said Jason Poliner, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Creative Mobile Technologies. "We are proud to have worked closely with Lighthouse International to bring these benefits to visually impaired communities across the country and look forward to sharing CMT's experience and best practices with the US ACCESS Board."
Lighthouse International estimates that the prevalence rate of vision loss in New York City is 362,000. This number will only increase because of the aging population and age-related causes of visual impairment and blindness, as well as blindness due to uncontrolled diabetes.
"This is an excellent example of the private sector working with government leaders and advocates to voluntarily change a system that has excluded the independent participation of millions of people who are blind or visually impaired for far too long," said Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International. "We are delighted to have played a role in this nationwide initiative and will continue working to ensure that every taxi in the nation is accessible to people with a visual impairment."
About Lighthouse International: Founded in 1905, Lighthouse International is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. It achieves this through clinical and rehabilitation services, education, research and advocacy. For more information about vision loss and its causes, contact Lighthouse International at 1-800-829-0500 or visit www.lighthouse.org.
About Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT): Founded in New York City in 2005 by taxi industry leaders, Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT) provides more than 20,000 taxicabs in 60 cities and 35 states with a variety of taxi technologies and enhancements including credit and debit card processing, media and advertising content, text messaging, interactive passengers maps, GPS, electronic trip sheets and back-office fleet management systems. CMT has more than 6,600 units in New York City alone. CMT's unique "for the industry, by the industry" business model has empowered taxi fleets and individual taxi operators throughout the country with customized solutions born out of the company's deep roots in the taxi industry. CMT's FREEdom Solution integrates all of the technology including dispatching, banking and media components that has helped to bring the American taxi industry into a new era of efficiency and innovation.
SOURCE Lighthouse International