Google Maps launches a 'wheelchair accessible' option for 6 cities

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While public transit should accommodate those with mobility needs, in practice, not all buses, subways, and stations are created equal. This week, the tech company announced the introduction of "wheelchair accessible" routes for public transit trips. Some transit stations may not be equipped with elevators or ramps, making it hard and time-consuming-if not impossible-for travelers with mobility needs to access. Then tap "Options" and under the Routes section, you'll find "wheelchair accessible" as a new route type.

Next, you'll need to tap Options, which you can access by tapping the three dot button in the upper right.

Many are complaining that major transit stations that do not include wheelchair accessible features are discriminatory because they significantly hinder disabled peoples' ability to navigate a city easily. Select this option, and then your navigation directions will be updated to include only options that are wheelchair-friendly. From today, the feature will be available in London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney.

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All this was made possible by people Google calls "Local Guides", and their job was to scour cities and stations noting where wheelchairs could go.

Google points out that this feature can be handy not for the wheelchair user but with anyone with limited mobility, no matter if it's because of an injury, age or a baby stroller.

Google explained in a blog post that much of the data was gathered as part of its Local Guides program. "We're making progress toward a more accessible world for everyone". The company is also recapturing images of the world's major transportation hubs to provide users with an idea of the layout ahead of time.