For folks who use wheelchairs and those with other mobility impairments that make their daily commutes, finding parking, and other travel-related activities more difficult, the iPhone and iPad can be powerful tools. Accessibility-oriented apps can help you find parking, accessible buildings, and more. These are the best for iOS!
Wheelmap is essentially the Waze of accessible places — buildings, parks, parking lots, etc. It's an open platform (wheelmap.org) where users can mark and add accessible (or inaccessible) public spots for everyone else to search and see. You can also add photos and comments to help describe locations.
Places are graded from "Fully accessible" to not accessible as all, so you can better gauge how you might need to prepare before heading out.
WheelMate has one simple function, but it's one of the most valuable — it helps you find accessible washrooms. You'll get a full overview of the area you're in, with a map of all of the nearest wheelchair-friendly toilets, as well as parking spaces. Like Wheelmap, wheelchair users can add and verify these spots, and you can rate locations others have added as well.
You'll get directions to these washrooms and parkings spots, and WheelMate has over 35,000 locations in around 45 countries, so it's great for travel.
AXS Map v2
AXS Map is all about accessible businesses. You can search places by name or by your location, and you'll see reviews and ratings for each from fellow wheelchair users. There are even counts for the number of steps to get into certain buildings, how accessible the washrooms in that location are, how accessible the entry itself is, and even ratings for other things like how spacious the building is, whether or not there's a second entrance, parking, whether it's guide dog-friendly, and more.
If you're looking for detailed ratings of business you want to visit, AXS Map is a user-generated gold mine of details.
Need a ride? Uber's strict "Equal Access for All" means anyone can get a ride, regardless of personal mobility. The app itself meets WCAG 2.0 guidelines for accessibility features, and it's regularly audited to make sure it's keeping up with those guidelines.
Uber is also slowly rolling out its UberWAV pilot program, which is presently available in Toronto, Austin, Chicago, and London, for people who use motorized chairs. This program is helping to provide vehicles with the space necessary, as well as lifts and harnesses. The best part is that there's no extra charge for this service — it's the same price as an UberBlack ride.
MobilityWorks is an American company that specializes in "adaptive vehicle solutions" all over the U.S. With the app, you'll be able to check out everything MobilityWorks has to offer, from its social media feeds to location maps to events calendars and news feeds.
You'll also be able to check out accessible vehicle rental information, including photos, MobilityWorks' current rental inventory, and other resources to help you get on the road.
How do you get around?
What's your favorite app for getting around and finding accessible location and other resources? Sound off in the comments below!
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