Nearly one in five individuals report having a disability. This number is expected to rise as the baby boomer generation continues to age. Technology is part of the answer to addressing the lack of overall accessibility the disability community faces on a daily basis. Tech companies have taken note and entered into a market that represents $1 trillion in annual disposable income.
Google has recently released an update to Google Maps that would allow individuals to select a wheelchair accessible route. This will be tailored towards the use of public transportation in a select number of major metropolitan areas initially. These major hubs include London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston and Sydney. The route will include information such as the availability of wheelchair ramps and elevators. This rollout is on top of Google’s previous update that allowed users to see if a location was wheelchair accessible.
Airbnb has made it easier to find accessible rentals. Partnering with organization like National Council on Independent Living and California Council of the Blind, they have released 21 filters that can help you find a rental that fits your exact accessibility needs. The filters let you search for features such as ramps, wide hallways and roll-in-showers, among others. Airbnb plans to continually improve and expand the functionality of the filters.
Uber has a robust offering of accessibility features that makes their ridesharing service accessible to people of all abilities. Their app is compatible with VoiceOver iOS, Android TalkBack and wireless braille displays making it accessible for blind and low vision riders to request a ride. UberWAV allows riders in non-folding wheelchairs to connect with drivers in wheelchair accessible vehicles. This service is currently being tested in several models around the world in cities such as Toronto, Austin, Chicago and London.
Microsoft has numerous accessibility features and products. CEO Satya Nadella has shown a continued effort to increase their accessibility offerings and has said “we want technology to provide new levels of inclusiveness. In fact, I’m most excited about accessibility.”
Their latest iOS app Soundscape uses 3D audio technology to enhance users with vision impairments’ awareness of the environment around them. In addition they added increased accessibility features onto Windows 10.
To keep up to date with the latest technology initiatives helping people of all ages and abilities please visit CTAFoundation.tech