City of Sydney is launching a new accessibility-friendly mapping application this year that will make it easier for people with disabilities to navigate the city and participate in NYE celebrations.
Developed with the help of wheelchair users, Sydney will be one of the first cities in Australia to use directional mapping for wheelchair users at a large-scale public event. The map will provide safe routes for people travelling from major transport hubs in Sydney’s city centre to accessible vantage points where they can experience the fireworks.
The maps are colour-coded based on the level of accessibility of a route – from black (steep descent) to purple (coasting), green (easy level), orange (incline) and red (steep climb).
The City of Sydney has teamed up with Briometrix, entrepreneurs specialising in smart technology for people who use wheelchairs, to develop the accessibility map.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new mapping system would benefit everyone.
“New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest annual celebrations in the world. It’s so important that everyone gets the chance to come into the city and experience it, and that’s what this new colour-coded mapping service will help to enable,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We’re committed to making Sydney inclusive and accessible for residents and visitors from all around the world.”
To develop the map, people who use wheelchairs travelled around the city to map out the most accessible paths to access New Year’s Eve official vantage points.
Mark Tomkins, Briometrix disability advisor and himself a wheelchair user, helped test the accessibility map. He said it is useful for wheelchairs, prams and older people who find walking in the city a challenge.
“If the map is accessible to those users, then it is safe for everybody in the community,” Mr Tomkins said.
Jason Jones, a wheelchair user from Wollongong, was involved in mapping the city for the accessibility map. He has attended large-scale events in the city and believes the map is a useful addition in helping wheelchair users navigate the city.
“Around The Rocks there’s a few areas that are really steep and the map will help wheelchair users find a way to get where they want to go. For me, it means that I can more easily plan my route.”
From 27 December, City of Sydney volunteers will be available to guide groups or individuals along routes between public transport and vantage points to view the fireworks display. The volunteers will help familiarise the guests with the route and any changes on New Year’s Eve. More on the ground services and new guides will mean Sydney New Year’s Eve is more inclusive than ever before.
The 2017 Sydney New Year’s Eve event guide will be available in large print and audio and has been translated into five languages – Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and German. With the assistance of the Council for Intellectual Disability, an Easy Read version of the event guide has also been created in order to make information accessible to a wider range of individuals. See the event guide at sydneynewyearseve.com/event-guide
The city, along with major vantage point sites, offers six designated accessible viewing areas for people with a disability to enjoy the fireworks with family and friends. These areas cater to those with sensory, neurological, psychological, cognitive and learning disability. Areas still available are at Barangaroo Reserve, Cahill Expressway, Mary Booth Reserve, Pirrama Park and Sydney Opera House. See the vantage point map at sydneynewyearseve.com/vantage-points
To find accessible ticketed events in Sydney for New Year’s Eve visit the What’s On disability inclusive page: whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/tags/disability-inclusive
To view the accessibility-friendly map visit sydneynewyearseve.com/accessibility