We are proud to be the official accessibility map of this Europe top 5 festival – #Sziget2017!
Wheelchair accessibility map and navigation of the 25th Sziget Festival is now available. You can find optimal routes, accessible services and toilets on the map. You can add accessibility info and obstacles in the app and help others by doing so. The map is kept up-to-date.
or ELTE, founded in 1635 is a public research university based in Budapest, Hungary. Itis the largest and one of the most prestigious universities in the country. ELTE is also Hungary’s largest scientific establishment with 118 PhD programs at 17 doctoral schools, and also offers 38 bachelor’s programs, 96 master’s programs, and over 50 degree programs in foreign languages. Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked the university among the best 301-400 globally.
University’s Disability Center
is responsible to provide direct and indirect services to any ELTE citizens, including the international students and staff. The aim of the newly estabilished Center is to ensure equal opportunity, accessibility and offer support to domestic and international students/teachers and staff across the University who have a disability or chronical illness which impacts upon their ability to participate fully in university life.
The fact that big percentage of the historic university buildings are not, or not entirely accessible by wheelchair is a big concern, even though the situation is getting better every year, thanks to renovations being in accordance with EU policies. New and old faculty buildings are scattered in Budapest, a city of nearly 2 million, so understandably the Disability Center wished to show their campuses’ exact accessibility situation. It was in every party’s best interest to make sure that relevant and up-to-date accessibility information is finally available on a searchable, easy-to-access online platform. Students can look up each facility’s accessibility themselves without the need of contacting the university’s Disability Center.
“the app gives self-sufficiency and the freedom of movement to students in active or electric wheelchairs. It is expanding the limits.”
Krisztina Kovács, ELTE Disability Center
Route4U, the world’s first sidewalk navigation app for wheelchair users
The Route4U app can be set to automatically collect sidewalk information (smoothness, slope and kerb data). Users can even add accessibility info manually to Points of Interest on the map by just a few taps on the screen. This is an extremely fast way to create maps that are truly useful for wheelchair users. Go ahead and try planning a convenient, wheelchair-accessible route on our online map of central Portsmouth, UK.
Our solution to the Problem
We surveyed each and every building defined in the project by ELTE, we talked to the operators and the local staff to make sure every fine detail is included in the facilities’ data sheet. We fine-tuned our database – which is originally based on OpenStreetmap data – to make sure everything is shown correctly on the map. The university buildings are now searchable both in the app and the web-map.
We added entrance, toilet and elevator information, as well as important comments to the buildings, to make sure everyone finds their way without trouble or delay.
Users can conveniently navigate the sidewalks in the surveyed areas (marked with coloured lines on the map). In addition we also surveyed the shortest route between every ELTE building, that are currenty out of the Budapest surveyed area, and the nearest accessible public transport stop. This way our users can safely and reliably get to the city center.
As a result ELTE buildings’ accessibility details are now easy to search and access. In our crowd-sourced app and map, students (or the staff) can add important notes or even obstacles that are immediately noticable by others. ELTE is a large, public university with a growing number of students in wheelchair. Their buildings host numerous public events throughout the year, so not only the students and staff, but also the general public benefits from the product of this project.
Up-to-date accessibility information together with improving infrastructure is key to remaining one of the most progressive and disability friendly universities in Central Europe.
To find out more about our offer for universities, please contact email@example.com tel.: +36 70 931 83 82
Testing the University Accessiblity Map with future students
This is Daniel and Adam. They plan to apply ELTE’s computer science program once they finish high school. We went for a walk together in the Faculty of Informatics, a relatively new ELTE Campus built in central Budapest. The guys used the app to look for routes from the low-floor tram to the accessible entry points of the building (not all of them are).
Since Route4U is a community tool, users can add useful information about Points of Interest everywhere they go. During our walk, Daniel, Adam and their friend successfully added accessibility info to a couple of cafés and restaurants around the Campus.
They also added complemenary info, that was important to them, to the Uni building’s data sheet. The guys told us, it’s comforting to know that ELTE already provides a tool to make sure they find their convenient way between and inside Campuses.
Route4U is a community-contributed tool that helps You to navigate on the sidewalks of a city. The purpose of the application is to give you the highest possible level of freedom in mobility, whether you are in your hometown or out exploring a new city. In exchange You can also help the community in many ways. We have data available in every single city of the world.
How does it work?
First, download the iOS app here or the Android one here. Once you open the app, you’ll see a map with color coded information on it. These are
Places – Points of Interests (circles),
sidewalks and crossings (gray or coloured lines),
and maybe obstacles (exclamation marks).
With Route4U, you can search for accessible places, and if there’s information available already, you can have personalized sidewalk routes planned between two locations.
You can also contribute:
assess places’ accessibility,
automatically map sidewalks and
notify others about obstacles!
We also have a web based map, with limited functionality here.
What are the colours on the map?
We use colours on Places (or Points of Interest – POI), sidewalks and crossings.
Places can be gray, green, yellow and red.
Green means the entrance is accessible with all kinds of wheelchairs.
Yellow means entering is inconvenient but possible, either alone or with help.
Red means “impossible” because of the characteristics of the entrance.
Gray POI means insufficient data. But you can change that! 🙂
Sidewalks can be green, yellow, orange, red and gray. The colours show the smoothness and/or the steepness of the sidewalk surface.
Orange is very inconvenient and
red is impossible to roll on for most wheelchair users.
Gray sidewalks are not yet mapped, but again, you can change that!
Crossings can also be green, yellow, orange, red and gray. Colours of crossings indicate their kerb height.
You will definitely not have problems with green crossings, while
red ones have at least 10 cm high kerbs.
Route4U’s Navigation function shows you personalized routes. You can set your accessibility preferences in the Settings.
Can I also change colour of Places or sidewalks?
Sure! By tapping any Place on the map, you see their accessibility info. If there is no information yet (it’s gray) or if you find it incorrect you can change it’s properties by tapping the pencil icon and set it according to your findings. You can also add text on relevant details at the bottom.
Please read our Assessment Guide to see what kind of toilets and entrances fit into which category. This way we can avoid false data appearing on the map. Don’t worry though! Sometimes it’s not easy to decide the colours. If you have doubts, just add some comments in the “Accessibility Details” box. See the guide here.
Every user can “survey” sidewalks, kerbs and preferred routes while they move around in the city. Tapping the ruler (survey button) – even if the area is already mapped – automatically helps the community by keeping the map data fresh and accurate. Same applies when using the app in navigation mode. During survey, Route4U collects sensor data of your phone, and turns it into accessibility maps. No data about our users or their routes is given to a third party. This automatic survey function works best when you roll on the sidewalks and crossings. Surveying while driving or sitting in the car collects false data – however our built-in artificial intelligence will filter these out. 🙂
What if the sidewalk would be fine, but is temporarily obstructed?
You can notify other users about that! Long tap on the map, choose “Obstacle“. You can even add a photo for others to see. These obstacles also count in the route planning process, if the sidewalk is blocked, Route4U will show you an alternative route.
Why does Route4U say “No route!” when I try to use the navigation function!
We can only show you accessible routes on the mapped areas. Route4U is a community based app, which means you and your friends can automatically map your city from zero, only by opening the app and tapping on the ruler icon. This way we receive sidewalk data that is turned into coloured sidewalk maps. If you are an active person from a not-yet mapped city, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our cartographer will help you get things rolling.
Does Route4U follow me when I am not using the app?
Does Route4U use mobile data?
Yes, and GPS too.
Who can I contact if I have questions or something’s not working?
One of our friends told us about the wheelchair sailing opportunity at Agárd, on the shore of lake Velencei. They operate a Rehabilitation Centre at the lakeside where people can move in for a couple of months while they are learning to cope with challanges of their new life. The Centre is also next to a small harbor where residents can (and should!) try sailing.
How it works
With the help of the super friendly local staff, we prepared our boats, put them on water and got in. Zoltán, our teammate got in the boat with the help of a nifty crane next to the pier. All of us wore life jackets, and at least one person of the two in every boat had to know the basics of sailing.
As we were told it was nearly impossible to tip over with the boat but still, the author of these lines was not so sure about that when we tilted 45 degress multiple times 🙂
This is how it went, and this is how it looked:
Everything is given at Agárd what’s needed for a fun and exciting day with or without a wheelchair. Our goal with Route4U is the same. It’s easier to be active, when circumstances are optimal. And when they’re not, you need information to know how to bring the most out of the situation.
Santa has already left Lapland… and it depends on You, when he’ll arrive!
Categorize places (Points Of Interests – bars, cafés, restaurants, gov. offices, hospitals, etc.) by deciding if it’s possible to enter with a wheelchair or not. By saving your survey result in our game, you help Santa with 1 km route, on his way from the North Pole. The distance is around 3000 kms to Budapest, so we’ll need you to check on 3000 places if you want him to arrive in time.
All the accessibility information you provide during the game is immediately shown in the Route4U application and online map and is real value to the wheelchair user community.
How does it work?
1. On the main page, click on the bottom-right arrow.
2. Choose the area where you want to play. The system will determine your position automatically, but it won’t always work due to phone and browser settings. Shall this occur, you can set your location by moving the map.
3. Choose the place you’d like to categorize and look for stairs at the entrace.
4. Finalize your choice by choosing one of the three colours.
5. Be proud of yourself, you’ve just created value! 🙂
Meaning of colours
No stairs at the entrance, doorstep is 3 centimeters maximum
There is a maximum of 1 stair at the entrance, not taller than 7 centimeters
There are more than 1 stairs at the entrance, or step is higher than 7 centimeters
Did you know that information about places’ accessibility is at least as important as phisical accessibility itself?
There are hunders of thousands of places on Hungary’s online map, but majority of them doesn’t have any info about accessibility. Now with a little cooperation we can achieve huge difference.
How can I join?
You can join the game on guruljszabadon.hu. You’ll hear about the latest news on our facebook page. If you like the initiation, and you suppose some of your friends might be interested in helping a good cause or spreading the word, please invite them too, so we can make the world a bit more convenient place.
What we do and why we do it, to make the world a better place
For those who’ve been following our work in the last year, it’s clear, that the aim of Route4U is to make the lives of people with disabilities better. But maybe even these followers of ours haven’t realized, that our solution’s impact on the whole of society is significant.
Today 2% of Hungary’s population is with reduced mobility. In towns and cities – since conditions are better – their percentage of the population is even higher. Based on census data, only 7% of working-age disabled people work. This puts huge stress on society. Another, Western European survey’s results show that more than 50% of non-working people with disabilites would love to, if the conditions were sufficient. Younger generations’ access to accessible education helps them grow into adults actively helping society, even on the job market.
Higher incomes of working disabled people, hand in hand with accessible services, result in increased consumption in settlements, which is one of the key factors of growth and development .
Integration is everyone’s business and everyone’s interest, not only local governments’ and of those affected.
Sounds good, but why doesn’t it just work by itself?
Looking at the problem from the views of all affected parties, it’s the lack of information what’s really conspicuous. Those affected do not have the neccessary information on accessible routes, barriers, accessible services/places and alternative routes, especially when they are not in their everyday environment. Decision makers do not have the necceessary dataset to decide the best spots to use the limited funds available for this matter. And the majority society simply does not know the needs and expectations – which are, in majority of cases are easily achievable with minor effort – of those with disabilites.
If the root of all problems is the lack of information, they can be solved by communication and infocommunication means.
The base of all this is city map with accessibility information. We create these, commissioned by local goverments by systemtically mapping sidewalks, curbs, slopes and services of a town or city. Thanks to our innovative technology, this is extremely fast and cost efficient, and also very cheap compared to city budgets. Personalized sidewalk navigation and search of the accessible services is available for the mapped areas shortly after our survey. We involve local organizations and the majority society in the survey. We raise awareness of the importance of equal opportunities with targeted, gamified communication campaigns. Thanks to our awareness-raising communication, it’s not uncommon that shops and other services of the city invest in accessibility plainly for business considerations. Don’t think about thousands of Euros here. Mounting a few Euros, bluetooth enabled disability bell on the outside of the shop not only helps a person in wheelchair, it also raises the prestige of the shop by making others content with the shop owners’ proactive behaviour. It also helps spreading the word and the idea.
Thanks to the wheelchair users actively using Route4U, local governments can see the problematic points in the sidewalk infrastructure, making it possible to plan development or refurbishment priorities based on real-life data. Effective problem management increases voter satisfaction.
In our view, if we plan to achieve fast and spectacular results, we need more complex approach than that was available before.
We are confident that the issue can only be solved, if all parties of society take part in the process, and not because of obligations of law, but for their own interests. It’s not the City Leadership’s duty to know and solve every local problem themselves, but to operate as a catalyst to help setting up a chain reaction, which grows into a self-sustaining system.
Role of the majority society is to realize their own interests in integration and to find opportunities in it. Route4U’s mission is to give platform to the most effective information flow between all actors. This is a “Smart City” answer to the problem of integration. This is why we built Route4U and this is how we’ll continue to build it in the future.
We call it Smart Accessibility.
Please contact us for further information about our solution.
“Sziget” is held every August in Budapest, Hungary and it’s been voted best European Major Festival multiple times. The 25th Sziget attracted over half a million visitors from all over the world, a small percentage of them were wheelchair users or members of other disability groups. All the stages and venues, camping areas, bars and fast-food restaurants are located on an island of the river Danube, hence the name “sziget”, which translates to “island” in Hungarian.
Sziget accomodated an Ability Camping with big, cleaned-up camping spots, accessible toilets/showers and they had also built – together with the company of the same name – an “Ability Park” where abled and disabled festival-goers could walk in their peers’ boots by trying games, solving quizes, drawing, walking in a maze, climbing walls and cycling blindfolded.
Festival nights can be quite chaotic, where accidents happen 🙂 Everyone with broken, bruised limbs or other movement-impairing injuries ended up in the Ability Camping. These people, together with other wheelchair users, could use Route4U, our iOS smartphone application to search for and navigate to accessible venues, toilets and lookouts inside the festival’s huge area. They could use the app in Budapest, and also in their own cities, after arriving back home. Find out more about Route4U here.
The island is a recreational area throughout the year with patches of forest, muddy or gravel paths and lots of grass. Our first step was – since we use OSM data in our maps – to check and verify the already available path and sidewalk data of the island. After our field survey, surface smoothness data were added to the network. Just one day before Sziget opened, we surveyed the stages, art installations, food and drink places, and other venues. We even ventured to the Northern tip of the island, where people could swim in the Danube and enjoy the cool shades of the riverside forest.
All the Points of Interests (POI) in Route4U have an accessibility (entrance) and an accessible toilet attribute. We had only set these “green” on the venues without steps, and on the few accessible toilets and showers, to make sure our users find what they were looking for: accessible places in the festival area. All the “grey”, not yet verified POIs on our map are waiting for community feedback. After they are evaluated, they appear in the application with their new colour.
Even though the festival area is not yet connected to the Budapest Route4U sidewalk network, we surveyed routes from the festival entrance to low-floor public transportation stops.
Use and feedback
We reached our goal: Route4U was the best festival venue finder smartphone solution for Sziget 2016. After a rainy night some of our users even marked osbtacles, such as huge puddles or untraversable muddy spots. In these areas, our route planning function worked just fine, as the suggested route evaded the problematic areas.
We received some useful feedback too: for colourful events like music festivals, the map needs to be merrier too, especially our icons (POIs). Go ahead and download Route4U here, we have accessibility data available in your city too.