Tel Aviv Street World’s First ‘Blind-Friendly’ One

The Azrieli buildings, as seen over the Ayalon Highway and River at night in Tel Aviv. (Esther Rubyan/Flash 90)

Tel Aviv’s Ibn Gvirol Street is the world’s first “blind-friendly” street, thanks to efforts by an Israeli software firm and the Tel Aviv municipality. Using the software, blind and individuals with limited vision are able to navigate the street fully and with full safety.

The sensors connect to the application on a personal device carried by the limited-sight individual, with an audio prompt that describes exactly what is around them. That could include stores, building numbers, the exact location (with voice directions) to entrances to stores and buildings, the location of crosswalks, etc. Among the landmarks on the street is the Tel Aviv municipality building and Rabin Square, both of which have been outfitted with sensors that will enable users to make use of the technology. Instructions are available in nine languages, including Hebrew, English, French, Russian, Arabic, and others.

The Israeli-developed system, by a company called RightHear, is in use in several branches of the Shufersal supermarket chain and Assuta Hospital, among other places. The Ibn Gvirol project is a pilot for a hoped-for expansion of the technology to other streets in Tel Aviv and elsewhere, the company said.

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