Aldi UK has collaborated with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to trial the addition of audio prompts to its traffic light entry system, to help blind and partially-sighted customers safely enter its stores and maintain social distancing.
Following discussions with the charity, the UK’s fifth-largest supermarket, along with its supplier Ocucon, is implementing the initial trial of the enhanced traffic light system in its Goldthorpe store in South Yorkshire.
As well as signalling when shoppers can enter stores based on individual store customer limits, the updated traffic light system will use a series of beeps to let blind and partially-sighted customers know when they can safely go in.
The installation of the traffic light system began in May this year to help control store numbers, and runs alongside a number of other measures already in place at all Aldi stores to ensure social distancing, including tannoy announcements to reiterate the guidelines.
Richard Thornton, communications director at Aldi UK, said: “We are always looking at how we can enhance the shopping experience for our customers and ensure government guidance is strictly followed. We are pleased to have worked with RNIB and Ocucon to trial audio prompts within our traffic light system to help visually impaired customers shop safely with us, and we will continue to review this.”
Strategic accessibility lead for RNIB, Marc Powell, commented: “Social distancing has turned the world upside down for people with sight loss. Not only has it prevented many people from being guided effectively, but many of the indicators to aid social distancing are visual in nature, making them inaccessible for people who are blind or partially sighted. It’s fantastic that Aldi has recognised these challenges and worked with us to provide an audible addition to its current traffic light system, enabling it to become accessible to customers with sight loss.”
Gary Trotter, CEO of Ocucon, said: “COVID-19 gave us the impetus to work collaboratively and innovatively to develop a solution in record time. We continue to work closely with Aldi to ensure that the Occupi system is responsive to customer needs and can adapt to the changing world in which we are all operating.”