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New App Helps Wheelchair Users Easily Pinpoint Accessible Spots in NYC

New App Helps Wheelchair Users Easily Pinpoint Accessible Spots in NYC
Retail

Wheely features accessible subway maps, specific directions and maps to subway elevators, and reviews on local accessible places.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 14 july 2014

Developed by designer Anthony Driscoll, Wheely is an application that aims to help wheelchair and stroller users navigate New York City through maps and directions of accessible places.

Driscoll was inspired to create the Wheely app after traveling with his father who is diagnosed with MS and depends on a power chair to get around. When Driscoll moved to New York City to attend graduate school at Parsons School of Design, his family would often visit and he would spend hours researching how to get from place to place. Though subway maps can show which lines are accessible and where elevators are located, sometimes the elevators are out of service. He realized that there was a great need for accurate and updated visual maps and directions to accessible places in the city.

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The Wheely app aims to help wheelchair and stroller users find their way around the city by providing custom accessible subway maps licensed by the MTA, fully integrated Google Directions and exact GPS locations of elevators, real-time elevator statuses, and customized neighborhood maps with elevator locations, including snapshots of these elevator locations to make them easier to find. The app also provides users with location aware push notifications.

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Wheely aims to spread awareness that accessibility is a right. Driscoll launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000 to complete the development of the app’s iOS platform. Backers can become a beta tester for as low as $5.

The campaign has already surpassed its goal with over a month to go in the campaign. If the campaign raises $10,500, the developer will use the extra funds to fund the development of a JavaScript version for Android and Windows phones. If the campaign reaches $25,000, the Wheely team will develop a map that indicates accessible places and events like restaurants and restrooms around the 88 accessible subway stations. The team will personally visit each place and verify its accessibility. Wheely has already been granted the license to use and modify and New York City Metro Transit Authority (MTA) maps by the MTA director of marketing.

The Wheely Kickstarter campaign ends August 22.

Wheely

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