Five Navigation and Transportation Apps for Persons with Disabilities

May 20, 2022

a man in a wheelchair on a sidewalk

When you have physical disabilities, dealing with transportation and navigation in your area can be a major challenge. This is especially true for wheelchair users who tend to have specific requirements regarding the environments in which they are able to comfortably access. Today, we’re going to look at five apps designed to help users with physical disabilities to more easily navigate their surroundings. These apps could be helpful for a wide range of disabled users, and many of these apps could also be helpful for persons with intellectual disabilities who might benefit from the extra guidance that they provide.

Wheelmap (new window)

With this app, you can find wheelchair accessible restaurants, cafes, toilets, shops, cinemas, parking lots, and bus stops. App users can rate the entrances and restrooms of public places according to their wheelchair accessibility and even upload images.

Wheelmap is available for iOS and Android devices.

AccessNow (new window)

Search for specific places like businesses, schools, hotels, etc., or browse the map to see what is nearby with the accessibility features you require. You can filter the map by category and tags and find the access that you need now.

AccessNow is available for iOS and Android devices.

Wheelmate (new window)

Similar to Wheelmap, this app gives you an instant overview of your nearest wheelchair-friendly toilet and parking spaces, and also provides directions from your current location to the desired location.

Wheelmate is available for iOS and Android devices.

Google Maps (new window)

Many people do not realize that Google Maps has a very useful accessibility feature that adds accessibility icons and summaries to the map, allowing users to visually locate accessible businesses, schools, parks, etc. Here’s how to activate it:

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app
  2. Tap your profile picture or initial, then Settings > Accessibility settings.
  3. Turn on Accessible places. Accessible locations will now be marked with a wheelchair icon.

Google Maps is available for iOS, Android, Chrome, and PC.

AroundMe (new window)

This app is a smart choice for individuals who may find themselves lost or overwhelmed in a particular area. AroundMe quickly identifies your position and allows you to choose the nearest Bank, Bar, Gas Station, Hospital, Hotel, Movie Theatre, Restaurant, Supermarket, Tax, etc. The app will even show you a complete list of all the businesses in the category that you’ve tapped on, along with the distance from where you are.

AroundMe is available for iOS and Android devices.

Many of these apps are extremely dependent on user reviews and input, and as a result some areas are far less represented than others, which means user experience will vary greatly between each app and each city/country/area. If you are a wheelchair user and your area is not represented, we would encourage you to pick an app and start reviewing! It’s only through the input of users like you that these apps can continue to exist and to hopefully help others find their way.

This post originally appeared on the AT Help Desk (new window) website.