Innovation That Matters

App makes New York City more accessible for wheelchair users

Work & Lifestyle

Wheely aims to be a handy interactive guide for disabled people living in NYC.

There’s a lot going on in big cities, but often people with disabilities miss out because venues and amenities don’t have adequate facilities for wheelchair users. London already has its Blue Badge Style app that identifies the coolest places that cater for those in wheelchairs, and now Wheely aims to be a handy interactive guide for disabled people living in NYC.

Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, the iOS app focuses on transportation and includes a number of map-based tools that help wheelchair users to get around. Despite being home to 468 subway stations, only 18 percent of those have step-free access, meaning the city’s main transport system is severely limited for people with disabilities. Although Wheely doesn’t make those stations accessible, users can easily see which ones have elevators, where they’re located, and if they’re working. Wheely brings together Google Maps, Street View, MTA maps and real-time information to help users plot the best route for their needs. The app provides handsfree direction information and even uses location-aware notifications to give users updated information when they need it. The app could also be useful for elderly people who have trouble climbing stairs, and also parents with push buggies.

Watch the video below to learn more about the app:

Wheely has already met its funding target of USD 5,000, but the team wants to raise more money to develop an Android and Windows Phone version, and eventually include information about the accessibility of other venues such as restaurants and public restrooms. The campaign runs until 22 August. Are there other ways to make cities more amenable to those in wheelchairs?




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