Google to upgrade wheelchair accessibility info on Maps

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Google plans to crowdsource data from Google Maps users to refine wheelchair accessibility on the app, CityLab reports.

Local Guides, a 2-year-old program that boasts 30 million users, enables users to share "tips, photos and new places on Google Maps," according to Google. Though Google Maps already advertises if a location is wheelchair accessible, the company hopes information obtained through Local Guides will improve the service.

Google will integrate five questions related to mobility challenges, such as whether an establishment has wheelchair accessible entrances and bathrooms, into the review criteria Local Guides issues for each location. The tech giant emphasized wheelchair accessibility is more than just avoiding stairs and checking for ramps — reviewers must also be cognizant of whether doorways are wide enough for wheelchairs, for example.

"The [users] have multiple motivations, and one is wanting to help their own community get around," Laura Slabin, director of local content and community at Google, told CityLab. "So we're leveraging the fact that people are motivated by altruism."

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