It may be hard for most people to get around these days but it has always been a gamble for less able people to go out. Although mandated by many laws across the world, accessibility for those with physical handicaps hasn’t always been implemented properly and uniformly in places that should. Wheelchair access, for example, is still a hit or miss, which is why Google Maps is now rolling out its latest accessibility feature so that you can check if a location has wheelchair access even before you leave home.
Every year, Google Maps adds a feature that makes the world a less daunting place to move in for those with difficulties walking. In 2016, it added wheelchair information when you viewed a business or location’s page while 2017 saw the addition transit routes where wheelchairs have easier access.
This time, it’s flipping the switch on a new Accessible Places feature that puts those details directly on the map. You no longer have to search explicitly for information and will see at a glance what places and areas have accessible ramps, seats, and other structures for less able people.
This information doesn’t just drop out of thin air, of course. For years, Google has been calling on businesses, Local Guides, and Android users to help fill in the gaps. Today, it is also turning that feature on for iOS users so that they, too, can help add more information.
And before you go off thinking this feature will only benefit a small fraction of the population, accessibility isn’t just for those disabilities. Whether you’re pushing a stroller, carrying a heavy load, or have tired legs, knowing that you can quickly look up places that will welcome you definitely helps make the world feel less cold and uncaring.