Equal access to visual information for anyone, anytime, anywhere is our mission.

Aira and the MBTA are working to make the T more accessible.

As part of an ongoing effort to become the global standard for accessible public transit, the MBTA and Aira are collaborating on a revolutionary pilot program to provide better indoor and outdoor navigation for people who are blind or have low vision using the T.

Thousands of customers who are blind or low vision utilize MBTA services. Navigating stations and finding bus stops are two of the largest concerns raised by this group. The Access AI Pilot is designed to test the use of Aira, a visual interpreting service, as a solution. Through the use of this innovative smartphone video technology, customers on the T can connect to Aira’s remote professional agents available to assist with station navigation, locating bus stops and or obtaining other needed visual information.

Free access to Aira’s visual interpreter service will be available as part of the Access AI Pilot Program throughout the MBTA’s subway, bus, ferry & commuter rail systems from May 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019.

IHCD is thrilled to be associated with the AccessAI pilot program, which combines the best of human interaction and AI to create an empowering, inclusive experience for blind and low vision users of the public transportation system in Massachusetts. Aira and the MBTA’s dedication to making inclusive transit a reality for ALL is a new frontier in public transit, and a journey that IHCD is proud to be part of. We know from our decades of expertise in contextual inquiry research for accessibility and inclusive design the value of involving real users in every stage of the design process and the impact it has on creating an inclusive product or service. We look forward to our continued relationship with Aira and the MBTA towards breaking barriers and setting a national model of success in inclusive public transit.
— Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD)
Man holding smartphone in front of MBTA station map. Black phone screen includes turquoise circle outlined in white with the letter a in white centered in the middle.

Man holding smartphone in front of MBTA station map. Black phone screen includes turquoise circle outlined in white with the letter a in white centered in the middle.

When Boston leads, the world follows…

Boston has served as the launch pad for revolutionary ideas and inventions since the 1600s. Today, we are on the cusp yet again of another world’s first. Through an unprecedented public-private partnership, free access to Aira’s trained professionals providing visual interpreting services are available throughout the MBTA’s subway, bus ferry and commuter rail systems.

MBTA will be the world’s first transit system to pilot the use of human AI technology as a deployable solution in overcoming immediate barriers around accessible public transit.

Aira is passionate about transforming daily life for people who are blind or low vision, as better mobility leads to a better economy, which impacts everyone positively. We are proud to be collaborating with the MBTA on this unprecedented public private partnership. Together, we will increase accessibility on public transit, for communities in Massachusetts, and the world.”
— Suman Kanuganti, Co-Founder and CEO, Aira

smart AI + even smarter humans can get anything done

Human Artificial Intelligence, or human AI, combines the powers of AI and humans to make each other more efficient using the human-in-the loop approach. The AI learns from the human agents about topics that it is not good at. Eventually, the user will be able to ask for the functionality independently.

Learn more about human AI from leading expert, Anirudh Koul at TEDxSeattle. Anirudh is Head of Artificial Intelligence & Research at Aira.