Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Sharing the accessibility information of points of interest in using apps and crowd sourcing

Mirairo Inc. is a private Japanese company based in Osaka that has developed Bmaps, a smartphone application with a screen reader function that collects and shares information on the accessibility of Japanese points of interest through crowd-sourced uploads. In less than year some 67,000 locations have been uploaded.

“As a wheelchair user, I used to give up entering shops after getting there because of steps. With Bmaps, I can check the number of steps and the overall accessibility of facilities beforehand. The reviews by other users make me feel assured and encouraged to go out. Bmaps has enabled me to be out and about with peace of mind.”

Mr. Issei KizuA Bmaps user
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Sharing the accessibility information of points of interest in using apps and crowd sourcing
Organisation:Mirairo Inc.
Country
of Implementation
Japan

FACTS & FIGURES

Since 2015, the following has been achieved:

  • Over 67,000 locations have been uploaded since April 2016.
  • Currently, the app has more than 4,600 users as of November 2017.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Persons with disabilities often face difficulties in finding information on the accessibility features of facilities (restaurants, shops, public facilities, etc.), which is crucial for their mobility and comfort.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Mirairo works in the field of universal design and accessibility, and in 2016 it launched a smartphone application with a screen reader function for collecting and sharing information on the accessibility of points of interest for persons with diverse needs including persons with disabilities, older persons, and tourists. It is the first smartphone A person on the wheelchair looking for indicators on a map with two other people.application in Japan that includes accessibility information for a range of users.
Bmaps can be downloaded for free on both Android and Apple and is available in Japanese, Spanish, and English. It offers a range of information, including an overall assessment of a location, height and number of steps, floor flatness, toilets, acceptance of service dogs, and more.
Users of the application can rank the locations and upload pictures, encouraging the establishments to increase their rating by improving accessibility. The app also includes a city competition feature whereby users can see which cities have more spots with accessibility information, thereby encouraging local governments to improve accessibility themselves. Since April 2016 over 67,000 locations, mainly in Japan, have been uploaded by more than 4,600 users.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

Bmaps has been rolled-out in cities across Japan; and since it is based on Google Maps, it can be used anywhere in the world. Spots have been logged in China, Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, France the UK and the US. Prior to theA child on the wheelchair receiving assistance through the application on the phone. United Nations Habitat III Conference held in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016, accessibility information on 1,377 locations in Ecuador was collected on the app and was featured as part of a conference presentation. Even more recently, the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government has selected Bmaps as one of the trial projects to be tested in preparation for the 2020 Olympics/Paralympics in Tokyo.
Bmaps is supported financially by a grant from the Nippon Foundation, a Japan-based philanthropic organization that focuses on education, social welfare, and public health in over 100 countries. To increase sustainability of the application, Mirairo is working with private companies to gain sponsorship of the app.
CONTACT
FACTSHEET

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