Our new release 2 gives unique possibilities in your hands to influence the route individually. In particular, the users of our premium version (with subscription) can now set very detailed under which conditions a road may be crossed.

This is another step that makes Routago stand out from all other navigation systems worldwide and contributes another big piece to the safe navigation of blind and visually impaired people in traffic. However, the possible settings bring some complexity, we therefore give here some assistance for better understanding.

First of all, we would like to point out that these settings require some practice and experience and can lead to surprising, but still correct routes. It is also very easy to set the parameters so that no route occurs at all. Let’s take the example of setting as a mandatory condition a road crossing only with traffic lights for a route in a residential area, which will thus be fulfilled only quite rarely. In the same way, routes with very long detours can be enforced.

In the title bar of the screen “Show routes” in the middle tab “Individual” there is a gear button (VoiceOver: Individual button). This is used to make the individual settings. We have stored further information and explanations on the screen for many entries, each of which can be reached via an Info button (VoiceOver: Info button).

First, there are the settings for the desired minimum requirements for a street crossing: at which type of crossing should a street be crossed? Of course, it is not enough to say with only one setting that you always want to be guided through a traffic light, because not every road crossing is equally risky in every traffic situation.

We have therefore grouped the types of roads into four categories. Here we are trying to somewhat subjectively model the risk of crossing based on traffic flow. We can’t do this with exact science, otherwise we would have to provide a myriad of switches and choices.

  1. Roads with almost no traffic are those on which motor vehicles are allowed to travel but almost never do, such as dirt roads or cul-de-sacs.
  2. Streets with slow or little traffic are typically in residential areas
  3. Average traffic is on roads within a town or city
  4. and finally, roads with heavy or fast traffic are on rural and state highways

For each of the four categories, it is possible to specify which type of crossing should be taken as a minimum. At least means that the more secured crossing will be taken anyway, if it does not lead to too much detours. But all riskier road crossings are always avoided in any case until the selected setting. The crossing types with descending risk:

  1. Free crossing of the road at any point.
  2. Crosswalk. Here, sidewalks or walkways abut the street and a crossing is provided, marked or unmarked. So there may or may not be a zebra crossing or an island. These kind of crosswalks could be overlooked by motorists.
  3. Signalized crossing with traffic lights but no sound or vibration.
  4. Secured crossing with traffic light and sound or vibration.

For example, if “crosswalk” is set for average traffic in a city, a secured crossing or a signalized crossing nearby will be used and if not then a crosswalk. However, a road is never crossed arbitrarily freely and thus unexpectedly for motorists.

The concept sounds quite comprehensible so far, but it does lead to surprising routes and it is difficult to understand why the route is calculated this way without detailed knowledge of the map base and the respective local equipment. We therefore recommend starting with very loose settings and then becoming more restrictive if the calculated route is too risky. The default settings are therefore set by us as a suggestion as follows:

  • Almost without traffic with free crossing (example dirt road)
  • With little or slow traffic also with free crossing (example residential area)
  • For average traffic with crosswalk (example local road). At this point, it may be useful to set to at least a signalized crossing when looking for a route in larger city. A default to “signalized” easily leads to long detours or no routes at all in smaller communities, simply because there are too few traffic lights.
  • Busy and fast traffic roads are crossed only with traffic lights in the default setting

Further setting options besides street crossing we offer in version 2.0 to allow or not stairs, escalators and elevators. We have also moved here the setting for “Free crossing”, i.e. the direct crossing of squares and pedestrian zones by the shortest route.

Furthermore, you can set the minimum surface quality of the used path, for example to turn off very bad paths. The surface quality is however a quite personal impression and the map data for it is not always complete and correct. The surface quality should therefore rather only be used in special situations and otherwise remain on “All”. We have therefore set the factory settings like this.

We explicitly recommend the combination of the different setting options only to the experienced user. While it is still easy to combine settings for the elevator with the wishes of the street crossing, the combination of street crossings with the desired surface quality leads to hardly comprehensible routes in some cases due to contradictions. For example, there might be a pedestrian traffic light that you want to use, but the path on the other side is only medium quality, which you have turned off. As a result, you might then cross the street at a permitted but worse crossing, where, however, the following path is better. As mentioned above, we recommend setting the surface quality more strictly only in specific cases.

It also has an influence where you want to plan the route. In the city, there may be fewer roads with unpaved surface and more traffic lights than in smaller places. On the other hand, in smaller places there is usually less traffic and therefore the risk of crossing is lower per se. This means that these settings cannot be generally valid, but depend on the conditions at the location of the route to be planned.

As mentioned before, we therefore recommend starting with settings with few restrictions and then becoming more restrictive with individual settings bit by bit. It is a really powerful tool, which with increasing experience becomes better and better understandable and thus easier to use.

App screen with individualization settings part 1
App screen with individualization settings part 2