D1.2 An App for Locational Intelligence and Geospatial Navigation (ALIGN)

Principal Investigator: Jon A. Sanford, M.Arch.; Subhrajit Guhathakurta, Ph.D.
Project Collaborators: Rebecca Hunter, MEd; CDC-Healthy Aging Network (HAN)

Specific Aims
Adults aging with long term ambulatory disabilities generally use familiar outdoor routes that fit their functional abilities and AT. However, the onset of age-related comorbid functional losses associated with progressive chronic conditions, such as MS, Parkinson’s and ALS, create a new set of environmental challenges that often exceed the abilities of these individuals, even on long-used routes. Despite these challenges, the real barrier to outdoor mobility is the lack of information with which to plan safe and appropriate alternative routes. Building on prior work at CATEA, CGIS and the CDC Healthy Aging Network (CDC-HAN), this project will develop and evaluate the feasibility of a mobile app (ALIGN) to inform outdoor route planning by people aging with ambulatory disabilities who are experiencing comorbid functional losses.

Specific aims of this project are to:

  1. modify the CDC-HAN environmental audit tool (HEAT) to include environmental and personal preference data relevant to target users;
  2. develop the mobile app;
  3. field test the app;
  4. develop a simple and intuitive user interface;
  5. evaluate app usability with target users; and
  6. refine the app.

This project will bring together the static (e.g., sidewalk condition, street networks, characteristics of land use) and dynamic (e.g., traffic volumes, weather, and light quality) characteristics of the environment that are monitored close to real time into one decision support system for route planning. The evidence-based app will enhance community mobility by providing up-to-date information about the critical environmental attributes that could affect community mobility and allowing the user to provide information about their own abilities and personal preferences to determine a route that optimizes those preferences. Having such a tool can support successful aging through maintaining community mobility even as functional limitations result in new and pervasive environmental barriers. The long-term goal is to refine and expand the app to provide broader applicability to a wider range of users.