Wanda’s story: Why a combination of audio description and information in Braille makes a difference

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What's the real-life impact of innovations? In this week's life story, Wanda from Poland tells us how the customer accessibility programme by Polish Railway company Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna made a difference for her... and why having both audio description and information in Braille is important for her.

Wanda's Story: Why a combination of audio description and information in Braille makes a difference. Photo of a woman in a thick coat and dark glasses, with a guide dog and a cane standing in front of a red traing. Photo of a man in a wheelchair exiting a train via a ramp; an railway employee oversees the process

Wanda Nastarowicz, user and advisor of Zero Project Awardee Łódź Agglomeration Railway, explains why braille in combination with audio information in public transport is important for blind people.

My name is Wanda and I belong to the group of people with visual disabilities since early childhood, and I am also a member of the older generation, having been born in 1954. I move independently with a white cane, with a guide dog, or with an accompanying person. For me, the ability to leave home on my own, to move around the city and beyond its borders, is extremely important. Whenever possible, I choose to travel by train.

“The most important thing for me is accessing information through audio and Braille.”
- Wanda Nastarowicz

Since Łódź Agglomeration Railway started operating, my travels have become much easier. The most important thing for me is accessing information through audio and Braille. Convex seat markings allow you to find a place on your own. Braille buttons next to doors and in the toilets allow me to travel independently.

I am very proud that I was part of this project, actively participating in marking 20 trains with Braille signs. I also participated in the training of the train crew. This was very important for the mutual understanding between passengers and crew members, and for ensuring their full professionalism towards blind passengers.

About Łódź Agglomeration Railway: a regional railway company becoming accessible and a role model for the whole country

Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna (LKA), the railway company of the region of Łódź, Poland, started a customer accessibility programme in 2014 targeting persons with diverse disabilities. For example, LKA is using accessible transport cars where platform and train doors have the same level, and induction loops and sign language translation services are broadly available. Other railway companies in Poland are following the example of LKA, and its staff are involved in developing national guidelines.

“LKA is the only carrier in Poland with complete digital and communication accessibility.”
- Maciej Kowalski, Polish Association Of The Deaf, Łódź Branch

In 2022, this initiative by the Łódź Agglomeration Railway received a Zero Project Award for its innovative approach, scalability, and impact to remove barriers for persons with disabilities.

A scalable model to remove barriers

Would you like to receive more information on the initiative, and contact the initiators? 

Find all information in the Zero Project Database along with more than 700 other innovative and scalable solutions to remove barriers for persons with disabilities.

Łódź Agglomeration Railway's Official Website: https://lka.lodzkie.pl/strona-glowna/

A first version of this article was published in the Zero Project Report 2022 on Accessibility.

Download the accessible PDF here