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Lazarillo Announces Partnership With Lyft and BIKETOWN

Person uses their phone next to a BIKETOWN bike

Lazarillo is proud to announce our partnership with Lyft and BIKETOWN in Portland, which will allow us to make navigating streets safer for people with disabilities. 

Lazarillo is a free app-based service that helps people with disabilities to navigate and 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: 

  1. API Integration & Alerts: Lazarillo has integrated and created profiles for all BIKETOWN stations in their app, so 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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 prioritize areas to sweep (clear bikes that may have been freelocked by users) on sidewalks where people with vision loss most frequently travel.
  4. 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 seek feedback for improvement. This partnership will host free outreach workshops for Lazarillo users and anyone interested from the blind community to provide feedback on using the app to better meet their needs of exploring, navigating, creating routes and reporting improperly parked micromobility devices. 

The first workshop is planned for September 1, 2022, click here to register for the free event.

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.