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Prize-Winning App Helps Users Spot Accessible Places

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A new app designed to help people with disabilities locate accessible restaurants, stores and other venues in their communities is getting a boost after being named a winner in a national contest.

The software called “Access Together” is a Foursquare-style app that allows users to check-in from various locations and answer simple questions about accessibility. The crowd-sourced information is then publicly searchable.

Access Together was recognized as a runner-up in the Apps for Communities Challenge, a contest sponsored by the Knight Foundation and the Federal Communications Commission. The competition honored developers that created apps offering “personalized, actionable information to people that are least likely to be online.”

In addition to being a runner-up, Access Together was also named the “most replicable” among the nearly 70 entrants in the contest. Those behind the software will receive $11,000 in prize money.

Currently, Access Together is an early-stage application that’s available as a mobile website compatible with iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices. The software includes a database of locations across the country available for individuals to rate based on accessibility, but most of the reviews entered thus far are for businesses in New York City.

Other contest winners included an app providing bus riders real-time transit schedules, software to help job seekers learn about and apply for employment through text messaging and a tool to help the homeless identify resources in their communities.

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