Create Wheelchair Friendly Routes on Google Maps
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For most, Google Maps is an essential app used for navigation and travel. It’s revolutionised people’s daily lives - that is if you don’t have a disability. If you do it’s a very different story.
Despite providing different options for all modes of personal and public transport, there are no alternative routes that support those who are disabled or in need of assistance, the main example of this being a lack of wheelchair friendly options.
Over the last year, I attempted to travel around London with people who have a range of disabilities, including my mum, who relies on a wheelchair for some journeys. However, we found that all routes provided by Google Maps demanded stairs, bumpy paths, small hills, foot bridges, crossings without slopes and many times there was no room on the pavement for the chair. Most tube services aren't disabled friendly and ruled out yet another option of easy transport. Even if we did want to rely on other forms of public transport, we found that taxi companies struggled to accommodate the chair and buses were too full.
Sometimes we’ve been forced to travel along bikes lanes (highly dangerous) or were just walking in opposite directions until it was safe to continue on normal paths. As an alternative, we sought out other maps like Citymapper but this provided us with no relief either.
We're constantly trying to make cities and travel accessible, however this seems to be a highly discriminating factor. It's bad enough that only 70 out of 270 tube stations are step-free but by not providing these alternative routes, we're restricting those not as able. We should be advancing and making sure everyone has equal opportunities to be independent. This would not only benefit those who need extra support but families with pushchairs and those reliant on other forms of help like a walking frame.
It should be easy for everyone to get around, no matter who you are! Please sign and support this petition to create wheelchair friendly routes available on Google Maps.
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