Transportation app redefines mobility for people with disabilities who don’t drive

A transportation app is redefining mobility for people who don’t drive. Go MUVE (My Universal Vision for Everyone, also the company’s name) integrates a full suite of MUVE’s technology, which includes dispatch mapping, a listing of public rides available in advance or on-demand, curated events, crowdsourced data that describes a building’s accessibility, and fixed-route scheduling.

The app can be downloaded for free on any tablet or smartphone by going to the Google Play store or Apple App Store and typing “Go MUVE,” or by going to https://gomuve.com/.

The app comes on the heels of MUVE’s recent announcement of its partnership with the state of Michigan, with the launch of a new transportation ecosystem application redefining mobility for people of all abilities.


Crowdsourcing accessibility information

MUVE has three modules, according to Tom Sikkema, MUVE’s Michigan representative. Sikkema is responsible for promoting Go MUVE’s tagging feature, which enables users to identify levels of accessibility within their community. This feature allows people to tag events, businesses, facilities and public areas by uploading information related to mobility and accessibility.
Tom Sikkema, MUVE’s Michigan representative.
“I am in charge of building the community around the app and onboarding the different companies that are providers all across Michigan that can provide those transportation services,” Sikkema says.

Go MUVE’s first module informs users of rides that are available in advance or on-demand rides with companies that provide wheelchair-accessible rides.

The second curates and publishes events so people can decide if they want to attend an event and then book a ride.

The third component is a tagging initiative that empowers people to crowdsource data through nine questions that pop up, such as, does a venue or restaurant have a front door that automatically opens; is the bathroom easy to get to; is there accessible parking nearby; and is the location easily seen and well lit.

“The tagging is all based on how somebody answers those questions,” Sikkema says. ‘They’ll then generate a tag for those locations within the app that anyone can see.”

Helps to make informed decisions

The tag flags the venue with one of three colors: green, orange or red. Green designates a location that’s fully accessible for those using wheelchairs; orange means it’s partially accessible; but there are some barriers; and red means it is inaccessible for people who use a mobility device.

“It’s really just meant to inform individuals who do face mobility challenges, to help them make an informed decision so they can plan out their day and enjoy what West Michigan has to offer,” Sikkema says.

Sikkema, himself, faced transportation challenges while dealing with brain cancer when he was 17. He fully recovered and went on to become a registered nurse, further deepening his insights into the mobility needs of his community, so much so that he channeled this knowledge to become an entrepreneur in the field. He launched Ride YourWay, a wheelchair and ambulatory transportation provider in Kent County, or as Sikkema calls it, a wheelchair-accessible Uber.

There is no cost to download the app that lets people know how much their ride will cost beforehand, allows them to pay with their credit or debit card, and lets users select the pick-up time and the driver’s arrival time. Safety features include telling passengers their ride’s vehicle description and the license plate number.
Kim Rantala, executive director of the Ada Business Association
There have been about 500 downloads in West Michigan so far, thanks in part to community accessibility tagging events like one recently held in Ada. Kim Rantala, executive director of the Ada Business Association, says Go MUVE enables people to discover places they might not visit otherwise.

“The app is user-friendly and helpful for individuals planning an excursion to a business or community that they have not previously explored,” Rantala says. “Ada has been developed as a walkable and accessible Village. We were thrilled to partner with Tom (Sikkema) and his team to visit our local businesses and tag them on the app while promoting our (tagging) event to a wider audience.”

This article is a part of the year-long series Disability Inclusion exploring the state of West Michigan’s growing disability community. The series is made possible through a partnership with Centers for Independent Living organizations across West Michigan.

Read more articles by Paul R. Kopenkoskey.