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Characterizing Sidewalk Accessibility at Scale

Poorly maintained sidewalks pose considerable accessibility challenges for people with mobility impairments. Despite comprehensive civil rights legislation for Americans with disabilities, many city streets and sidewalks in the U.S. remain inaccessible. The problem is not just that sidewalk accessibility fundamentally affects where and how people travel in cities, but also that there are few, if any, mechanisms to determine accessible areas of a city a priori.

To address this problem, we introduce new scalable methods for collecting data about street-level accessibility using a combination of crowdsourcing, automated methods, and Google Street View as well as proof-of-concept map-based accessibility applications that leverage this data.

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Related Publications

  • Hara, K., Azenkot, S., Campbell, M., Bennett, C., Le, V., Pannella, S., Moore, R., Minckler, K., Ng, R., and Froehlich, J. (2015). “Improving Public Transit Accessibility for Blind Riders by Crowdsourcing Bus Stop Landmark Locations with Google Street View: An Extended Analysis” ACM Transactions on Accessibility. To Appear
  • Hara, K., Sun, J., Moore, R., Jacobs, D., and Froehlich, J. (2014). "Tohme: Detecting Curb Ramps in Google Street View Using Crowdsourcing, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning" Proceedings of UIST 2014,
    [pdf] | [YouTube]
  • Hara, K., Sun, J., Chazan, J., Jacobs, D., and Froehlich, J. (2013). “An Initial Study of Automatic Curb Ramp Detection with Crowdsourced Verification using Google Street View Images” Poster Proceedings of HCOMP 2013, Palm Springs, California, USA.
    [pdf] [pdf (poster)]
  • Hara, K., Azenkot, S., Campbell, M., Bennett, C., Le, V., Pannella, S., Moore, R., Minckler, K., Ng, R., and Froehlich, J. (2013). “Improving Public Transit Accessibility for Blind Riders by Crowdsourcing Bus Stop Landmark Locations with Google Street View” Proceedings of ASSETS 2013, Bellevue, Washington. Best Paper Award
    [pdf]
  • Hara, K., Le, V., Froehlich, J. (2013). "Combining Crowdsourcing and Google Street View to Identify Street-level Accessibility Problems" Proceedings of CHI 2013, Paris, France, Apr 24-May 2, 2013.
    [pdf]
  • Hara, K., Le, V., Froehlich, J. (2012). “A Feasibility Study of Crowdsourcing and Google Street View to Determine Sidewalk Accessibility” The 14th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2012), Boulder, Colorado, USA, October 22-24, 2012.
    [pdf] [pdf (poster)] [YouTube]

Team

  • Kotaro Hara, Graduate Student
  • Jin Sun, Graduate Student
  • Alex Zhang, Undergraduate Student
  • Zachary Lawrence, Undergraduate Student
  • Robert Moore, Undergraduate Student
  • Sean Panella, Undergraduate Student
  • Victoria Le, Undergraduate Student, now at AOL
  • David Jacobs, Co-PI, Professor
  • Jon Froehlich, Co-PI, Professor

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