Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A thought on an additional feature for google map

The issue of disability access for public transportation emerged in a conversation today and it led my head to come up with some ideas.

Don't know what it is like for the others.  Personally, my physical disability has a direct impact on my SES although it ain't like I was above the low SES for so many years.  Like... between 2005 to 2007 right before my accident? 8-O lol sigh

If you are handicapped like me who is stuck in the lower SES, chances are, you will be using the public transportation when going around places as opposed to taxing around. Also if you are a disabled like me whose condition isn't considered as physical disabilities by the system, public transportation surely is the only way to go (e.g., subway, metro, bus).

For newer subway or metro systems, it's more likely to incorporate the "disability access" component into the blueprint.  Yet, for older subway or metro systems, such as those in New York, London, and Paris, which might have been built before passenger elevators are a commodity in ordinary buildings, it's more likely for stations to have not disability access. As a result, if you ask around, a lot of people with disabilities living in cities with older systems might eventually take it to busing to avoid the hassle of finding a station disability access. 

When in New York and when planning trips, I sometimes will use Google Map to help me identify the best route--meaning a route that would minimize the chance of my having to do them stairs.  Let's take a real trip I made to Dyckman Street from W. 108th st. in New York this winter after some snowstorms for example.

Google map helped me identified several routes.

However, on my end, I have to take into the following into consideration, especially when I had never gotten off from the Dyckman Station.

1. Are there elevators installed at this station?
2. If this station is not, since the subway in uptown Manhattan started to run above the ground, are the stairs on the outside and possibly covered by "ice" as opposed to snow?

Ended up, I might have taken the route shown in the picture because I know there are elevators in 168th street station and transferred to M100.

Make no mistake.  This is no complaint.  This is but a description of an event that happens too many a time and possibly not only to me.

The conversation I had earlier led me to think though... since Google Map already does a good job in providing potential routes to destinations, maybe it could incorporate an additional feature with the feature aiming to help people needing disability access to identify the most suitable route.   

Though based on a naive theory, I figure ... perhaps, all that's needed is to have information on which station has elevators and perhaps, at which exit. Given the sophistication of the information the app is capable of providing, it can't be too difficult to add the "elevator" and "exit" variables into the database and the algorithm? (Though I can tell you out front that me ain't got no idea how they found me that route behind the scene and what I have in mind requires the collection and maintenance of information on metro/subway systems globally. Easier said than done. lol 8-X))

Sure, elevators can be under-maintenance or disability accessible might mean slopes. Yet, much better than none!

So it concludes a thought on an additional feature for google map.

P.S., Why using elevator as an indicator as opposed to escalators? Sometimes, escalators don't go all the way to the ground floor or might skip in between floors.

(This is cross-posted at Ratology Reloaded.)

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