In Lyon, the “Blue Line” improves the experience of people with autism in transport

“I had never paid attention to it, but I must admit that it makes sense! “, wonders Céline, in front of the notice installed at the entrance of “Brotteaux”, a metro station at 6e district of Lyon. Around it, a new marking on the ground to wait in safety on the platforms, pictograms of monuments to distinguish the stops, or even a “serenity” space to relax while extricating yourself from the crowd.

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Considered neurotypical – without neurological disorder – the 28-year-old is delighted with these arrangements designed to improve the experience of people with autism in public transport. “OWe relied on their sensitivity and their difficulties, but we ended up understanding that it could be useful to everyone! “exclaims Guillaume Bourdon, the designer behind the experiment.

World premiere

Unprecedented in the world, this project called the “Blue Line” was launched on the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday April 2, before being inaugurated on Friday October 22. Supported in large part by Keolis, the SNCF and the interministerial delegation to the national strategy for autism, it was imagined by the collective “Les traducteurs”, which Guillaume Bourdon founded with the entrepreneur and philosopher Jean Mathy.

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Their idea: to develop “universal design”, that is to say products, equipment or services whose use must be simple and pleasant for everyone. “Our ideal is a completely inclusive city, says Guillaume Bourdon. And it starts with public transport: we don’t realize it, but the simple fact of moving from one point to another can be a real ordeal for people with mental disabilities! “.

The interest of the greatest number

The “blue line” is the result of a long situation work and interviews conducted with the public concerned, thanks to partner institutions and associations, such as Sesame Autism, Autism 69 or the hospital center Le Vinatier: “we discovered that many elements could be traumatic, such as noise, lights, information overload or the violence of access gates, for example”, explains Guillaume Bourdon.

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After a phase of reflection and then of design, the “Translators” made 34 proposals for a trip “More autonomous and serene”, of which 14 were selected: they concern the exterior and entry of stations, interior traffic, waiting for transport and travel time. “This ultra-sensitivity has made it possible to identify anything that disturbs other people, made vulnerable by this kind of place, such as strangers, the elderly or young children!” “, still believes the designer, convinced that this form of fraternity “Will save the world”.

While waiting for the first assessment at the end of 2021, the collective is collecting the many feedbacks from users and intends to fight so that these developments, for which various cities in France have already shown a great deal of interest, become widespread in the city ​​transport network.


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