Topographical accessibility modelling for people with mobility impairments

People with mobility impairments face inequities navigating the urban environment. Accessibility modelling tools currently openly available to the community do not account for physical barriers such as stairs or topography.

This study involves the development and testing of a novel digital design and modelling tool combining animated pedestrian accessibility and topographical mapping exploiting open‑source and crowd‑sourced geospatial data sets.

The research enables people with mobility impairments, disability groups, and urban planners to model and understand accessibility in their community, providing tools to design and advocate for more inclusive urban environments. The research is immediately relevant to the disability community, and will be increasingly relevant to the wider community as the population ages.

The investigative team is interdisciplinary across the areas of architecture, urban design, computer science and software development, and landscape architecture. The investigative team is working in collaboration with a carefully chosen stakeholder group that is providing grassroots advice and perspectives on the developing research to ensure that the capabilities of the prototype tool, both in its implemented functionality and allowance for future research goals, are of best possible relevance to the disability community.

The tool is currently available for testing at

Project details

Major Sponsor

Melbourne Social Equity Institute
Melbourne Networked Society Institute

Project Team

Dr Marcus White (University of Melbourne)
Geoff Kimm (University of Melbourne)
Nano Lengenheim (University of Melbourne)


Dr Marcus White (University of Melbourne)