Public space accessibility (2016—2017)

The built environment of cities contains many obstructions and features which can impede accessibility for people with disabilities, including for those with age-related mobility impairments. This project looked into an efficient means for mapping these barriers semi-automatically using video cameras and inertia sensors on wheelchairs. Movement patterns from wrist-worn wearables and inertia sensors on wheelchairs were converted into a measure of ‘difficulty’ that can be used to highlight problematic locations. One advantage of this approach is the capture of many subtle features that a mobility-impaired user may find inconvenient and an evidence base for spot checks and surveys of the public realm. We discussed the merits of the system with planning professionals. The project also involved two round tables with older people to understand common accessibility concerns and how video, mapping, and video + mapping might aid the identification of accessibility concerns.

With Mike Catt (Co-investigator, Medical Sciences) and Reuben Kirkham (research assistant, Computing).