Google Now Includes Accessible Routes
With a new Google Maps feature, the technology giant is looking to make it easier for people with disabilities to get around.
Google said this month that it is adding information on its Maps platform to point people to accessible public transit stops in cities around the world.
The “wheelchair accessible” routes feature is rolling out initially in London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston and Sydney.
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The company said it plans to work with transit agencies in additional cities to expand the routes capability to other locales.
“In city centers, buses and trains are often the best way to get around, which presents a challenge for people who use wheelchairs or with other mobility needs. Information about which stations and routes are wheelchair friendly isn’t always readily available or easy to find,” wrote Rio Akasaka, product manager for Google Maps, in announcing the feature. “We’re introducing ‘wheelchair accessible’ routes in transit navigation to make getting around easier for those with mobility needs.”
In order to find an accessible public transit route, users can type in a destination on Google Maps, then select “directions” and the public transportation icon. Next, choose “wheelchair accessible” under “options.”
“When you select this option, Google Maps will show you a list of possible routes that take mobility needs into consideration,” Akasaka said.
This is not Google’s first effort to add accessibility details to Maps. In 2016, Google Maps started including information on business listings indicating if a location is wheelchair accessible.
What’s more, the company said it is increasingly offering imagery of transit stations through its Street View capability so users can preview a site before visiting.