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New Google Maps mode highlights wheelchair-accessible places

As part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google Maps is getting a new “Accessible Places” mode to explicitly highlight wheelchair accessibility information in the app.

Google wants to help the 130 million wheelchair users around the world to know before they go whether a location will be accessible to them.

When Accessible Places is switched on, a wheelchair icon will indicate an accessible entrance and you’ll be able to see if a place has accessible seating, restrooms or parking. If it’s confirmed that a place does not have an accessible entrance, we’ll show that information on Maps as well.

That icon will appear in search results, while the full listing provides detailed breakdowns by checking off whether wheelchair-friendly seating, restroom, parking, and entrance is available.

On Android and iOS, the mode can be enabled from Settings > Accessibility > Accessible Places. It’s rolling out now to the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia. Support for more countries is “on the way.”

Thanks to crowdsourcing and business owners that update their listings, Google Maps today has wheelchair accessibility information for 15 million places worldwide. That figure has doubled since 2017, with the company crediting its Local Guides program for contributing 500 million wheelchair accessibility updates in Maps.

With this feature “rollout”, it’s easier to find and contribute wheelchair accessibility information to Google Maps. That benefits everyone, from those of us using wheelchairs and parents pushing strollers to older adults with tired legs and people hauling heavy items. And in this time of COVID-19, it’s especially important to know before you go so that you won’t be stranded outside that pharmacy, grocery or restaurant.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: