Google unveiled a new feature of Google Maps in the form of wheelchair-accessible routes for users who have such additional considerations to make when taking public transportation. Accessing the new option is simple: begin by opening the Google Maps application and typing in your desired destination. Next, select “Directions” and tap the icon designating public transportation. Now select “Options” and listed under the Routes section will be the new “wheelchair accessible” addition. The app will now provide a list of potential routes that have been created for those with extra mobility needs. As Google indicates, this includes such criteria as if a transit station has accessible platforms or stops, as well as the facility’s entrances and exits.
The rollout of the new functionality begins with London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney, and pertains to major transport centers within them. Going forward, Google will be working with other cities and transportation service providers to add to the list and help make the world more accessible to all. Google has also been asking people around the world to contribute with accessibility information, having managed to identify 12 million places in this manner through the Local Guides program. In addition, Street View imagery is continuously updated, now allowing users to preview transit station images, which in turn allows people with mobility needs to plan ahead.
When it comes to using IT to tear down barriers around the world, Google has been making some massive efforts in recent times. The company continues to add new languages to its Google Translate app, making communication between different cultures and even remote languages more accessible than ever before. With this wheelchair-focused initiative, Mountain View is offering a helping hand to those world citizens whose mobility needs are a bit more unique and respectfully require a bit of extra planning to ensure a safe and stress-free journey. It’s almost hard to believe that in just a few short decades, the entire way in which the world interacts and communicates has fundamentally changed, and through those advances, progress can be made in ways that help everyone, no matter who they might be or how specific their mobility requirements are.