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For pedestrians who have access problems or special needs, Access Now is a trip planner that gives them a path to their destination. Unlike Google/Apple Maps, Access Now empowers users by informing them about barriers and services on their route, letting them pre-plan and spontaneously change their pedestrian travel throughout their trip, using crowdsourced updates about unplanned barriers and routes.
For local government agencies who need to provide accessible cities and get realtime feedback about unplanned works and hazards, Access Now is a dynamic crowdsourced data aggregator that provides validated geo-tagged barriers and services, unlike current state technology which is limited to PDF access maps that are static and lack details.
When I want to get somewhere, I just plug it into Maps and go. It might take me some weird places – hidden stairs, dark alley ways but for me it’s not a problem: I don’t have mobility issues.
For those that do, it’s not that simple.
Meet Jamie. He’s a paraplegic twenty-something and he wants to get to the Glenmore Hotel at the highest point of the Rocks for a drink with friends. Maps will give him the direct route, but there’s stairs.
Right now, accessibility information is anything but accessible. It’s scattered and static, in unresponsive PDF. Print it out, plot your route and hope it’s up to date. It’s 2016 and it’s still not real-time with GPS.
Introducing Access Now, an easy to use, mobile trip planner that informs users of barriers and services on their route, letting them pre-plan and spontaneously change their pedestrian travel throughout their trip.
Using our responsive interface, you decide what’s important to you and we’ll provide you with the information and options.
Jamie needs to avoid stairs and needs somewhere to park. Everyone has different needs and we can help accommodate that. Rest stops? Slopes? Public bathrooms? You choose.
This doesn’t just help people with mobility issues but also our aging population and parents with young children.
Access Now empowers the user by centralising and simplifiying accessibility information, and making this fully available to the user. Jamie can now see a path to his friends he can actually take.
This isn’t an isolated problem. Every Local Government Area by law needs to make their cities more accessible. As well as the mobile app, we provide local government with a platform where they can plug in datasets already available or contribute to the data using a reporting tool which feeds into the app.
Public rangers, cleaners, all the council staff already on the ground can be utilised as they move around the city, filling in the missing accessibility data. Councils need to collect and disseminate this information. We make it easy.
Users can also report real-time unexpected barriers.
We used City of Sydney’s official datasets and other open source data, overlaying filterable information on a map. We’ve also started construction of the platform that will drive the mobile app, with council-friendly tools such as community building, data input, gamification and reporting. We want to help and we can do it. We’ve already started.
Previous attempts at this problem focus only on accessible transport instead of public spaces and services. They cater for a one-model user. It’ll tell you what it thinks is best for you, or it’s just too hard. It’s not too hard and with information, you can make your own choices.
Access Now have two talented developers, UX, UI and busdev. We’ve put together a back-end, mocked up the front and we’re planning where we can take it now.
It’s been less than 48 hours. Imagine what more we can do.
And Jamie? He might have had to take the long way round but he’s made it to the top, on his own power. We’re empowering him to stay independent. We’re Access Now: helping you make your own way.