After reading several news stories regarding lack of accessibility for wheelchair users, I welcome reports of a new scheme in Ireland that will make it easier for people in wheelchairs to manoeuvre around footpaths. Many members of The British Polio Fellowship are wheelchair users and with so many difficulties navigating transport and footpaths, it is good to see developers, councils and users working together to deliver systems making life easier.
The Route4U app, developed by Fingal County Council and Dublin City Council, complies data on footpath obstacles, surface quality and kerb heights in crossing, as well as widths and inclines of footpaths. Using this data, the app is able to provide route planning and navigation for wheelchair users, customised to ability, but would doubtless assist parents with prams too, if we can put an end to the scourge of pavement parking.
This is a fantastic example of how technology can help the 120,000 people with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) and some 13,000,000 living with a disability, many of whom rely on wheelchairs and scooters. The system works with cities in the UK and France and is free to download on iOS and Android. Our hope is this technology spreads further, helping as many people as possible to live independent lives.
The British Polio Fellowship is committed to campaigning for change. Call 0800 043 1935 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship