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Public transport accessibility and inclusivity for people with low vision [Self-Funded Students only]

   Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics

  Dr P Eslambolchilar, Prof T Margrain, Dr Y Lai  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Our ongoing research across two Schools in Cardiff University, Computer Science and Vision Sciences, have enabled us to understand issues and challenges people with low vision face in their daily commute using public transport. For example, we have understood that people with low vision, need help with seeing the bus numbers approaching the bus stop, would like to know there is space for them to sit down when they are onboard, would like to know whether their destination stop is accessible and there are no road-work diversions, and many other real-time information which will make their daily commute stress-free. Lack of this information exasperate people with low visions’ anxiety while using public transport. In addition, our recent study with people with low vision has shown that such people are comfortable using their mobile phone and or other forms of technology as long as it is simple and easy to use. Additionally, technology has shown to help those visually impaired people’s mobility and navigation. Although the current preliminary study focuses on mobility aids, the participants clearly indicate that techniques for visual enhancement could make them more confident and less anxious to use the public transport. Benefiting from these streams of studies we have already undertaken, the project aims to carry out proof-of-concept feasibility studies by developing effective visual enhancement techniques as well as software platforms to access and use public transport safely. If successful, this can potentially lead to a larger scale prototype development and study with people with low vision in town centres.

To achieve this, we partner with Guided Dogs, RNIB, Cardiff Institute for the Blind, Sight Cymru and Public Transport for Wales, to provide facilities and support for carrying out the study. This PhD project is suitable for someone with strong HCI (specially user-centred design and field studies), software engineering and data analyses skills. The PhD is going to be interdisciplinary and working in a team is essential.

To give a general idea about project milestones, we expect the PhD candidate to:

1- Have a good understanding of literature, conducting user studies, and analysing qualitative and quantitative data.

2- Complete the ethics application for field studies.

3- Arrange logistics with public transport organisations and recruitment of participants.

4- The PhD project will develop visual enhancement techniques as well as software platforms for mobile platforms that can potentially help visually impaired access public transport information, commute safely and confidently, and transmit essential information about people with low visions’ needs to the bus service and local authorities.

5- Study and compare effectiveness of different enhancement techniques, as well as how their combinations work in the field e.g. Cardiff and Newport town centres.

6- Write, publish and present at international conferences and prestigious journals.

Supervisory Team

Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar (School of Computer Science and Informatics),

Prof Tom Margrain (School of Optometry and Vision Sciences)

Prof Yukun Lai (School of Computer Science and Informatics),

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master's degree, in computing or a related subject.  Applicants with appropriate professional experience are also considered. Degree-level mathematics (or equivalent) is required for research in some project areas.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

How to apply:

Please contact the supervisors of the project prior to submitting your application to discuss and develop an individual research proposal that builds on the information provided in this advert. Once you have developed the proposal with support from the supervisors, please submit your application following the instructions provided below

This project is accepting applications all year round, for self-funded candidates via 

In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information: 

  • Supporting statement 
  • CV 
  • In the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application enter the name of the project you are applying to and upload your Individual research proposal, as mentioned above in BOLD
  • Qualification certificates and Transcripts
  • Proof of Funding. For example, a letter of intent from your sponsor or confirmation of self-funded status (In the funding field of your application, insert Self-Funded)
  • References x 2 
  • Proof of English language (if applicable)

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact 

Funding Notes

This project is offered for self-funded students, or those with their own sponsorship or scholarship award.

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