AccessMap – a new application that seeks to help Seattle’s handicap community maneuver the city’s steep roads – aims to improve accessibility and help handicaps overcome the daily challenges of moving around in the steep-sloped city.
The new app will assist handicaps in planning their routes, locating ramp curbs, bus stops and elevators as well as helping them to understanding how steep a slope is. Slopes are associated with a green, a yellow or a red light. A green light means the slope steepness is negligible while a red light means it is notably steep.
The App relies on Mapbox for mapping and uses OneBusAway to locate bus stops. For sidewalks and construction data, the app relies on data provided by the Seattle government. The app collected data on the slopes’ elevation from The National Map of Elevation.
AccessMap was developed by University of Washington students as part of the “City of Seattle’s Hack the Commute.” After landing the first place in the civic competition, the University of Washington’s Center for Accessible Technology partnered with the application creators to further develop it. The app can be used on a computer or on a mobile device.
The app is still missing data due to inaccuracy in Seattle’s public data. Nick Bolten, one of AccessMap developers, told nextcity that Seattle Department’s sidewalk data is often limited or inaccurate. The app developers are currently looking into the option of integrating a crowd-sourcing function that would allow users to add inputs that can hinder the movement of a wheelchair, such as missing curb ramps and cracks in the sidewalk.
AccessMap is hoping to expand its operations to Savannah and Denver in Georgia.