Everyone, and I mean everyone should have Google Maps installed on their smartphone! For travellers it is the single best app you can use when out and about. From pin pointing your location, to directions (by foot/car/bike), to local transport timetables and even ordering a uber, it is brilliant for helping you navigate a new town or city! This week Google have added another feature to help travellers with mobility needs.
Wheelchair Accessible Routes
From the 15th March in London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney, wheelchair travellers can make use of a new feature in Google Maps which highlights the best public transport options for them.
“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.” ~ Google.
The purpose of this new feature is to remove the need to search for this information, which is not always readily available or clearly on display at stations. It is already accessible when searching for public transport directions in any of the above cities.
How to Use Google Maps Accessibility Feature
When you use Maps to search for directions using public transport you enter the start/end points as normal and let the app calculate the best route. Once it has returned the results, you tap options and select the Wheelchair Accessible option.
Then go back to the results and they will refresh, taking mobility needs into consideration and amend the original results based on wheelchair accessible options.
This new feature will also be useful for families that have babies in a buggy or pushchair, as public transport can often be a challenge for them too!
Google have stated they hope to be working with more transit agencies in the near future so we should hopefully see this feature expand to more and more cities!