Indian Trails, MDOT launch hearing loop technology
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Indian Trails, Inc., have teamed up to install “hearing loop” technology on a fleet of 17 motorcoaches operating 34 scheduled routes that serve passengers throughout Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.
The motorcoaches with hearing loops are operated by Indian Trails, Inc., a family business based in Owosso, MI, with a 100-year history of innovation. Previously, it was the first company to install two-way radios, video monitors, stereo sound systems, and Wi-Fi on a fleet of buses.
“MDOT was excited about this opportunity to provide state funds to Indian Trails, to allow Indian Trails to make hearing loops available on a portion of its fleet and two inter-city bus stations,” said Sharon Edgar, administrator, MDOT Office of Passenger Transportation. “MDOT and Indian Trails share a commitment to increasing the accessibility of our transportation system.”
MDOT also installed hearing loops on a pilot basis at bus stations in Saginaw and Bay City.
Hearing loops are important to many of the estimated 1.4 million Michigan residents who currently have hearing loss, a number that is expected to double in 10 years. About 11 percent of the general population has significant hearing loss, and one-third of people 65 and older.
“I’m quite sure this is the first American bus line with hearing loops,” says David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich., who has hearing loss and is one of the nation’s foremost advocates for hearing loops. “The Indian Trails/MDOT installation of hearing loops on inter-city buses is a model of transportation accessibility for the entire country,” adds Myers, who runs the website www.hearingloop.org.