CARLOW Co Council teamed up with the Irish tech company Access Earth to make information about accessibility readily available to the community.
The initiative is supported by Co Carlow Universal Access Movement (CCUAM) and Carlow Public Participation Network (PPN) to make navigating through the town for people with mobility impairments an easier and more enjoyable experience.
A team of seven people, including members of PPN, set off one day in Carlow town and rated how good or bad public buildings and businesses were in terms of wheelchair or mobility accessibility. They looked for steps, stairs, handrails, ramps and elevators and then noted their findings on the Access Earth app. They visited and rated almost 210 buildings, from public offices to pubs, from shops to offices throughout the town.
Now, people with mobility issues may tap into the app and see what buildings are easy to navigate and what are out of bounds. Visitors to the town can decide to avoid non-friendly premises and focus on areas that are welcoming to wheelchair users.
“We see Carlow as pioneers in these types of accessible town initiatives and are excited to continue adding more valuable information to the Access Earth database,” explained Matt McCann, Access Earth Founder and CEO.
“The gathering of this data will ultimately enable local businesses to see where improvements can be made and provide the county council with actionable feedback to contribute to the development of Carlow. We’re excited to work more closely on this in the future.”
The app can be downloaded to any phone and users can also add reviews and descriptions to help other individuals – whether it’s someone in a wheelchair, with a walking stick or even someone with a buggy – find places that suit their needs.
Further mapping events will take place in Bagenalstown and Tullow in the coming months as the mission to make Co Carlow as accessible as possible continues.