Nearly a year after 19-year-old college student Belinda Bradley started a petition on Change.org to have Google improve the wheelchair-access information on its Maps software, the tech giant has announced that it is rolling out a new feature to help people to find wheelchair-friendly routes more easily.
The feature, dubbed ‘Wheelchair Accessible’ routes, is rolling out in many major cities around the world, starting with London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston and Sydney.
“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”
As can be seen in the gif below, the feature can be accessed by typing the desired destination into Maps, tapping on ‘Directions’, selecting the public transportation icon, and then choosing ‘Options’ under the ‘Routes’ section, which will now have ‘wheelchair accessible’ as a new route type.
Google has also pointed out that people using wheelchairs aren’t the only ones who will find this feature useful. According to the company, it will also be of help for people who use crutches or even for parents taking their babies out on strollers.
The company also makes it a point to mention that Local Guides played a important role in deciding the wheelchair-accessible routes by gathering at 200 global meet-ups “to answer accessibility questions—like whether a place has a step-free entrance or an accessible restroom—for more than 12 million places”.