Accessibility View: Google Maps and Accessible Sidewalks


A project in São Paulo, Brazil, is planning to collect images of the city’s sidewalks and integrate them into Google Maps so that people can easily checkout the accessibility of a route before heading out the door. The project will work in the same way as Google Map’s Street View, which currently lets users around the world see 360 degree views of streets from the perspective of a car driving down the street. Accessibility View will provide similar photographs of sidewalks from the perpective of a wheelchair user, allowing viewers to identify any potential obstacles along the route, like a lack of curb cuts or a hill that is too steep.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.