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Google Maps Eases Transit of Wheelchair-Bound Commuters

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Google Maps Eases Transit of Wheelchair-Bound Commuters
To provide relief to wheelchair-bound commuters, Google Maps has introduced a new feature to help transit of people with mobility needs. Image: file

Google Maps Eases Transit of Wheelchair-Bound Commuters

Google Maps today announced the availability of new “wheelchair accessible” routes in its transit navigation directions for several cities around the world, recognizing that using trains and buses can present challenges for people who use wheelchairs or have other mobility needs.

Transit riders in London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston and Sydney will now have the option to select “wheelchair accessible” in their route options in the same way they might opt to have fewer transfers or minimal walking. More are on the way.

“We’re looking forward to working with additional transit agencies in the coming months to bring more wheelchair accessible routes to Google Maps,” Rio Akasaka, product manager Google Maps, said in a blog post on Friday.

“Google Maps was built to help people navigate and explore the world, providing directions, worldwide, to people traveling by car, bicycle or on foot. But 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,” reads the blog post.

To access the “wheelchair accessible” routes, users should enter their desired destination into Google Maps. Tap “Directions” then select the public transportation icon. Then tap “Options” and under the Routes section, you’ll find “wheelchair accessible” as a new route type.

Google Maps, wheelchair
Image: Google

To access the new “wheelchair accessible” routes in the Google Maps app, enter a desired destination, tap Directions, select the public transportation icon, and then tap Options. The new route type can be found under the Routes section.

After selecting the “wheelchair accessible” option, Maps’ directions list routes that take mobility needs into consideration, such as if a transit station has accessible stops, platforms, entrances, and exits.

Google says the feature is rolling out across London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney, with other major metropolitan transit centers around the world to follow.

In addition to the new feature, Google has been updating its Street View imagery of transit stations and city centers to allow users to preview locations ahead of time. Google says it hopes the expanded coverage will make life easier not only for people who use wheelchairs, but also for anyone who’s using crutches or pushing a stroller.
Selecting the option, will show people a list of possible routes that take mobility needs into consideration.

“We built this feature to make life easier for people who use wheelchairs, but accessible routes are also helpful if you’re on crutches or pushing a stroller. With the help of transit agencies around the globe and people like you who contribute local knowledge, we’re making progress toward a more accessible world for everyone,” states the blog post.

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