Unlockphilly: Using open data and social media to improve accessibility in Philadelphia


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A presentation about accessibility and how we're using open data and social media to raise awareness of problems and visualize/map accessibility in and around Philadelphia

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Unlockphilly: Using open data and social media to improve accessibility in Philadelphia

  1. 1. Presentation by James Tyack, May 2014 www.tyack.net Using open data and social media to improve accessibility in Philadelphia
  2. 2. What is accessibility? “The degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible” (Wikipedia)
  3. 3. Problem...
  4. 4. New business on 10th St - inaccessible, opened last week Neighbor is accessible
  5. 5. Another new business - Washington Sq They claim to be ‘wheelchair accessible’ Entrance and coffee bar this level Restroom, seating and more on this level, with no ramp (back kitchen entrance can provide access to this level, but no information provided)
  6. 6. 3rd and Market unfriendly construction
  7. 7. Elevator at 8th Street Station was out of service for 2 months earlier this year; no information provided at elevator
  8. 8. Web page explaining what to do if elevator out http://www3. septa.org/elevators/
  9. 9. 1.8 miles 1.3 miles What this looks like on SEPTA map
  10. 10. What are we doing about it? “People always come up to me, and say ‘What you’re talking about is so inspirational and so great,’ and I say ‘That’s awesome, thank you. So what are you going to do about it?’ Austin Seraphin http://technical.ly/philly/2014/05/19/accessibility-tech- aging-disability/
  11. 11. Millions of people are locked out... …from jobs, places, experiences, education
  12. 12. We can empower people. Level the playing field!
  13. 13. Early prototype was revealing... Bad weekend for accessibility - all of center city inaccessible!
  14. 14. We Tweeted about 8th Street...
  15. 15. NBC News reported... Elevator cleaned and fixed next day :) http://www.nbcphiladelphia. com/news/local/Elevating- Accessibility-on-Mass-Transit- 250853021.html
  16. 16. Things have improved! Status today on latest version of http://www.unlockphilly.com
  17. 17. We now show length of outage (and record history)
  18. 18. Businesses listed as ‘wheelchair accessible’ on Yelp are mapped around stations
  19. 19. Twitter is important to us for raising awareness of issues; many people and groups are watching and respond quickly
  20. 20. Stations outage tracking D3 Calendar heatmap Proposed new feature once we’ve built up history
  21. 21. Future ideas ● Trip planning ● Accessible maps for blind people ● Better crowdsourcing of information (Yelp not always accurate) ● Descriptions / videos / pictures of accessible stations/buinesses ● Help and advice page for businesses ● Your ideas! (send us feedback)
  22. 22. Get involved! ● Build stuff with accessibility in mind! ● Go to hack4access coming up (end of May) ● Join Philly Accessibility Forum - monthly meetups ● Help on this project ● Visit Comcast’s Accessibilty Lab - Tom Wlodkowski is VP ● Raise awareness of accessibility with friends and co-workers. ● Get social! Tweet and leave reviews.