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Prestigious new technology award goes to Access Aware

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

CCS Disability Action’s groundbreaking free mobility parking app, Access Aware was recognised at the annual New Zealand Disability Support Network (NZDSN) Conference with the 2017/2018 award for ‘Most Innovative Technology’. This award is for translating an idea or invention into a technology product that has improved service design, delivery or outcomes. Raewyn Hailes, Access Aware Coordinator for CCS Disability Action (pictured here third from the left) accepted the award on behalf of the CCS Disability Action team.

"Thanks and congratulations also go to Access Aware partner ThunderMaps who created the app," says Ms Hailes.

The Access Aware app allows users to see the locations of known mobility park locations on a map in real time so they can find a park when they need it. Users can also make a report of any parking abuse they observe. These parking abuse reports are shared in real-time with participating councils for purposes of enforcement.

Free and simple to download from Google Play or Apple store, trials have been successfully completed in Christchurch and Wellington at the end of last year. The app is set to roll out nationally starting in Auckland.

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New Zealand is a progressive, first-world country, and we should do better.

Currently, mobility parking data in New Zealand is released in very different formats from region to region, and sometimes this information is not released at all. Our long term plan is to build a shared and open data hub focused specifically on accessibility issues, and to share and standardise this information across New Zealand. Our long term vision is to develop an accessible set of data that any organisation or individual can use to make smart decisions. In a modern digital world, we view accessibility of consistent and reliable data as a right that we should build and maintain for all disabled people, and make accessible to the software systems that they use.

The purpose of Access Aware is to drive change, not just for mobility park locations but also for other accessibility issues that our communities face.

At present there is no single place where people can easily access reliable data for access information New Zealand wide. Access Aware aims to change that with world first technology offering pre-mapped locations and information that will make accessing parking, communities, walkways, businesses, utilities, public conveniences and accommodation simple and easy. The app won’t just provide information, it will also allow users to upload reports and map relevant information themselves.

Access Aware has the potential to be very useful for all disabled people, their families and whānau. Access Aware can significantly improve everyday access issues that prevent many people from fully participating in their communities. It’s easy to use and it will help change the accessibility landscape in New Zealand.

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