Route4U App: Improves Mobility For Wheelchair Users in Just 3 Minutes

Fingal Libraries
by Fingal Libraries on September 18, 2018.

Route4U – a Fingal County Council accessibility initiative – is a free footpath navigation app and information system to aid wheelchair and pram users to navigate through our towns and cities. For the month of September Route4U have launched a one-month long obstacle-reporting campaign, appealing to the public to report footpath obstacles. Fingal County Council […]

Route4U - a Fingal County Council accessibility initiative – is a free footpath navigation app and information system to aid wheelchair and pram users to navigate through our towns and cities. For the month of September Route4U have launched a one-month long obstacle-reporting campaign, appealing to the public to report footpath obstacles.

Fingal County Council would like to encourage people living and working in Fingal and the wider community to download the app and report any footpath obstacles you come across.

It’s easy as one-two-three and takes only three minutes, including the app download time. Just download the app and follow the simple instructions to report a footpath obstacle.

Search for Route4U on Google Play or the Apple App Store to download the App.

Background

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 people using wheelchairs. 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. Due to the successful rollout of this pilot the Route4U app has now been launched nationwide.

 How it works

The Route4U app and information system 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.

National rollout and awareness campaign

On Tuesday, September 4 at a Community Hub for Accessible Technology (CHAT) event at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Route 4U was 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.

How to report foothpath obstacles

How to report foothpath obstacles

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.

John Quinlivan, Head of Corporate Affairs and Governance at Fingal County Council, said the Council are now hoping that Fingal citizens will embrace the App and help to map the entire county as quickly as possible.

“In the work that has already been done in Swords we have seen how useful the Route4U app is for wheelchair and pram users. As a Council we are urging everybody to download the app and start mapping their local area,” said Mr Quinlivan.

The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Anthony Lavin, said: “Any initiative which makes accessibility easier for disabled people has to be welcomed and it is pleasing to see that this Fingal County Council initiative has proved successful and is now being rolled out nationally.”

 

By Aishling Hyland, Fingal County Council