An app to classify buildings by how accessible they are

Bruno Mahfuz has created Guiaderodas, an application that classifies buildings according to whether they are adapted for people with disabilities.

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Bruno Mahfuz has created Guiaderodas, an application that classifies buildings according to whether they are adapted for people with disabilities

Bruno Mahfuz’s life changed when, at 17, an accident left him wheelchair bound. But as well as losing his mobility, Mahfuz experienced a change of perspective. He began to realise the great obstacles faced by people with reduced mobility in their daily lives: buildings full of stairs, unexpected kerbs, and fully inaccessible spaces.

With a mixture of anger and entrepreneurial spirit, Mahfuz decided to fight this situation using technology. So he created Guiaderodas, a mobile app that allows for the cataloguing of buildings depending on their accessibility. In the app users rate the places that they visit, as though it were a recommendations site. The difference is that, rather than reviewing the food or the customer service, what gets rated are access points, obstacles and facilities for people with disabilities.

Today, this app has information on places in more than 900 cities across 62 countries. Its creator points out that the most interesting thing is that the descriptions are not only made by people with reduced mobility, as it is estimated that 65% of the app’s users have no disability.

The other part of the project consists of providing advice to companies, with the aim of converting their buildings into more accessible places. Mahfuz, who was one of the winners of the Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018 awards from MIT Technology Review in Spanish magazine, is clear about it: “It benefits companies financially, because between an adapted restaurant and another one that is not adapted, a person with reduced mobility won’t hesitate to choose the former”. One of the buildings that has been built with his input is the new Banco Santander headquarters in São Paulo, which already has the Guiaderodas certificate that accredits it as an accessible building.

For Mahfuz, the fact that large companies are involved in this project is key to “leading by example” and making society aware of the problem: “Our goal is to cease to exist – it would mean that people no longer needed our services because everything would have become accessible”.

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