Google Maps is making significant strides to address the needs of wheelchair users worldwide. The tech company recently announced the launch of wheelchair-accessible routes to its navigation platform in a move that will finally make it easier for people with access needs to plan for—and get around during—trips to major cities.
When interacting with Google Maps, users will now be able to select “wheelchair accessible” as a route navigation option. The new feature is rolling out in six major cities—starting with London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney—and Google plans to add more cities with wheelchair accessible routes in the future.
Here’s how it works: To access the “wheelchair accessible” routes, type your desired destination into Google Maps, then tap “Directions.” From there, select “Public Transportation” and then “Options.” Under the routes section, you’ll find the “wheelchair accessible” option. Once selected, Google Maps will populate a list of possible routes that consider mobility needs.
“Google Maps was built to help people navigate and explore the world, providing directions, worldwide, to people traveling by car, bicycle or on foot,” Google Maps product manager Rio Akasaka wrote in a blog post announcement. “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. Information about which stations and routes are wheelchair friendly isn’t always readily available or easy to find. To make public transit work for everyone, we’re introducing wheelchair-accessible routes in transit navigation to make getting around easier for those with mobility needs.”
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