Google Maps celebrated its 15th birthday with the rollout of a redesigned map and new "transit attributes" that include accessibility features. User can now find out if public transit lines include accessible entrances, seating, staffed assistance, stop-button, or hi-visible LED.
Much like Google-owned app Waze, riders can share local knowledge, such as details about roads and addresses, missing places, business reviews, and photos with the "Contribute" feature.
With the "Commute" feature, riders can get detailed instructions for travel. In the updated version, users will see rider-contributed information on which accessibility features are available and how crowded a train, subway, or bus is. Users can check in advance to see if the temperature of a specific carriage is considered cold or warm by past riders or whether a transit line is staffed with security personnel, cameras, or a helpline. Availability will vary by region and municipal transportation agency.
In the coming months, Google will expand Live View to include information on how far a location is and in which direction. Live View overlays digital graphics on top of real-life images to show your destination.
This update calls to mind the increasing trend of digital services helping to improve accessibility in the physical world.