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Mobile app builds momentum for accessible communities

A new smartphone app is helping people with disabilities navigate their way around Brisbane by identifying accessible venues and infrastructure.

Brisbane-based disability support service Carers Link, in partnership with Disability Support Queensland, has launched the app called Access 4000 for people with disability and frail older people.

Carers Link director Debby Brennan said she hoped the app would be a driver for inclusion and social justice for people experiencing access barriers in the community.

“For people with a physical disability and other mobility issues, accessing transport, community venues and businesses in Brisbane presents many challenges and finding information about these access features is a difficult task – sometimes difficult enough that it forces people to stay at home rather than take the chance,” Ms Brennan said.

She encouraged members of the community to help improve the app by sharing venues and services that were access friendly, such as businesses that provided wheelchair ramps, disabled toilets and parking.

“We want to encourage everyone in the community to use Access 4000 to share venues and services that cater for good access and inclusion, and maybe this will encourage businesses to make sure they are more accessible,” she said.

Boondall resident Danny Daichi, who uses a wheelchair and was involved in focus group research for the app, said the app would make life much easier for people with access needs.

“It’s great to know ahead of time what access features a business has, such as wheelchair ramps. It gives you the confidence and the motivation to go out.

“Before the app was available, you had to call ahead to find information about access. It’s not an easy question to ask, especially if the venue doesn’t have the accessibility features you need,” he said.

Ms Brennan said more funding was required to continue developing the app to include more categories, additional sensory features and other functions, as well as to expand the app to all of Queensland.

Access 4000 uses map-based technology to allow people to find businesses and venues across Brisbane that offer the accessibility features they require. Users can filter their searches by venue or the type of accessibility feature.

Venue categories include train stations, ferries, libraries and public pools, as well as tourist attractions and shopping centres. Accessibility features include disabled parking and toilets, wheelchair/pram access, and support for low vision or blindness.

Access 4000 is currently available to download for free on the App Store and Google Play.

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