NEW JERSEY – NJ TRANSIT is recognizing Autism Acceptance Month with the expansion of the Magnusmode travel aid app for rail customers, a bus wrapped in messaging to promote acceptance and by participating in the Happy Hour 4 Kids Station Announcements Program, recorded by local autistic children.
These initiatives all help NJ TRANSIT advance its 10-Year Strategic Plan goal of offering all of its customers an efficient, safe, inclusive and effective way to travel.
“NJ TRANSIT is celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with new initiatives to make our system more accessible and inclusive,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “We are pleased to partner with Magnusmode and Happy Hour 4 Kids to provide these innovative and helpful tools and programs for our autistic and neurodiverse customers and their families.”
“NJ TRANSIT is proud to feature local children in our recorded announcements. It is just one way we can demonstrate NJ TRANSIT’s commitment to providing inclusive mass transportation,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “Enhancements like the Magnusmode app are critical to providing the tools needed to make our transportation system more accessible to our neurodivergent customers.”
“The NJ TRANSIT MagnusCards provide a personal transit training and support tool for autistic and neurodiverse individuals that is handheld, free, and easy to use. Providing this support is tremendously impactful; Mastery of transit skills increases an autistic person’s confidence and employability and enables greater participation in all aspects of community life,” said Magnusmode Founder and CEO Nadia Hamilton. “In 2022, Magnusmode and NJ TRANSIT launched five Card Decks in the MagnusCards app guiding bus travel, and this year we are launching five more Card Decks guiding rail travel. NJ TRANSIT truly wants all its services to be accessible, and we are very proud to partner with them to achieve this goal!”
“This year, NJ TRANSIT is participating along with BART, MARTA, WMATA, and the MTA. NJ TRANSIT holds a special place in the hearts of New Jersey children with autism who love trains and buses so much. Today, NJ TRANSIT will show these kids how much that bond means to them,” said Jonathan Trichter, Board Chairman of Happy Hour 4 Kids and creator of this project. “I hope next year, transit systems across the world hear about this and bring more awareness about autism to their cities and countries. This year, New Jersey! Next year, Tokyo!”
Through a partnership with Happy Hour 4 Kids, neurodiverse children have recorded train station announcements that will be played throughout the system for Autism Acceptance Month in April. Children have been recruited both within NJ TRANSIT and from the public, and NJ TRANSIT is excited to honor the special relationship we have with the neurodiverse community in New Jersey.
NJ TRANSIT is launching “MagnusCards for Trains,” a travel aid that provides useful instructions for riding trains in a flash card-style format, tailored to autistic and neurodiverse individuals. Previously, NJ TRANSIT released “MagnusCards for Bus” providing similar assistance for bus customers.
MagnusCards by Magnusmode is a digital life skills app with guides to help autistic and neurodiverse persons perform everyday activities. The app uses visual cues, step-by-step instructions and optional audio to guide users through activities and tasks that may be unfamiliar to them.
The MagnusCards mobile app is available in Apple App Store & Google Play Store.
NJ TRANSIT also has an accessibility-related website content and user experience, available at www.njtransit.com/accessibility. The webpage features an overview video about the many services and features of NJ TRANSIT that make it accessible to all individuals, as well as easy-to-use links to specific information and informational videos, which are captioned in six languages in addition to English. The videos, which were funded by the Federal Transit Administration’s Access and Mobility Partnership Grants program, cover several topics including information about vehicle and station accessibility, the Reduced Fare Program, community transportation services, and Access Link paratransit service, including Access Link Online, where Access Link customers can manage their reservations and accounts.
Through a sponsorship with Happy Hour 4 Kids, NJ TRANSIT has wrapped two buses in Autism Acceptance Month graphics to help promote the message during the month of April.