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Exclusive look: First-of-its-kind tech coming to Rochester's airport

(Provided rendering)

Gates, N.Y. – The Greater Rochester International Airport is getting a makeover, and one of the changes includes first-of-its-kind technology designed specifically to help some 40,000 people in our area.

If you’re not waiting for a flight, chances are you’re running to get to one. And that’s where this design change at the airport boarding gates comes in.

Visual messaging signs will be installed at the gates. Using lights, they will help airport visitors determine when their flights are close to taking off, or if an announcement is being made.

Within 45 minutes of a flight taking off, new messaging boards at the gates will change colors – from a soft blue to white. The overhead lights in the boarding area will follow suit.

These visual cues were chosen to help the 40,000 people in Monroe County who are hearing impaired.

“We were looking at the needs of the people who live in the Monroe County area,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. “Certainly, recognizing over 40,000 of our Monroe County residents with hearing impairments, making sure that we service their needs and have an open and accessible airport for everyone.”

“This is incredibly important for our large population for hearing impaired passengers that are in our area, live in our area and are traveling through our airport,” Dinolfo added, “but it’s also for everybody else. We see a lot of passengers who might be having a headset on, might be involved in another activity, not paying attention to the hearing message that’s being put across our loudspeakers.”

This technology could put Rochester’s airport on the map; airport officials believe ours is the first to use it.

“We’re not aware that any other airport in the country is going to this extent,” said Deputy Airport Director Andy Moore. “I think it’s a big part of our community outreach.”

Engineering work is being done on the technology right now. The hope is that it will be tested live at specific gates in the airport by the spring. The airport is also looking to expand its hearing loop technology, as well as add tablets throughout the airport for sign language interpretation.

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