Council’s Disability Initiative to be Rolled Out Nationwide
A Fingal County Council disability initiative, in partnership with Dublin City Council and Enterprise Ireland, is to be rolled out nationwide during the month of September after a successful pilot programme in Swords and Dublin’s Docklands. Route4U won the SBIR Wayfinding Challenge which was initiated by Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council – under the Smart Dublin initiative and in partnership with Enterprise Ireland – to find a way to improve accessibility for disabled people. They were commissioned to do a preliminary survey of footpath accessibility in the centre of Swords as well as within Dublin Docklands. In Swords, they surveyed the Main Street, Swords Castle and County Hall.
Using the Route4U app, they compiled data on footpath obstacles, surface quality, kerb heights in crossings as well as widths and inclines of footpaths. Using this data, they were able to provide route planning and turn-by-turn navigation for wheelchair users, customized to everyone’s own abilities.
The database is kept constantly up-to-date by volunteers who can either be able-bodied people who simply download the app and report obstacles they bump into or wheelchair users who switch on the “auto-survey” function as they roll along the footpaths, activating their phone sensors to collect data automatically.
The National Rehabilitation Hospital, Route 4U has been launched nationally with a one-month long obstacle-reporting campaign in partnership with the Disability Federation of Ireland and as part of the Make Way Day campaign.
Tamas Szekley of Route4U said they will be encouraging people all over the country to download the app and report footpath obstacles. “To upload a report really takes less than 30 seconds and it can save a lot of struggling for many wheelchair users. Moreover, the collected data are prioritized and fed back to the local councils so enabling them to make smarter decisions regarding their footpath infrastructures.”
Route4U is a free footpath navigation app and information system for wheelchair and pram users can be downloaded for both iOS or Android devices. The developers’ goal is to make accessibility visible and searchable online, on a global platform that gets better every day with the active contribution of the community.
The company was started three years ago in Budapest and by now has users all over the globe and works with cities in Hungary, UK, Ireland and France.