Project Sidewalk

 · 2 mins read

Project Sidewalk is working to understand street-level accessibility in cities at scale. Our team developed an online to collect data that allows anyone to virtually audit streets in different cities and label different accessibility problems/features. This is an ongoing research project at the Makeability Lab. All our our code is open-source and is publicly hosted on Github.

Check out some of our work! We’re currently deployed in three cities!

Here are some of the ways that I’ve been involved in Project Sidewalk:

Engineering Work

  • Designed and developed a validation interface using JavaScript, Scala, HTML and CSS. The validation interface allows users to view previously placed labels and can either agree/disagree with them or mark them as “not sure”. This hopefully allows us to collect more data about the correctness of labels. So far, we have collected over 20,000 label validations.

  • Helped maintain and develop new features for the core audit interface. I worked primarily on adding new UI features to the audit mission interface and fixing existing bugs. An example of a feature that I added is a small question mark symbols that appears over labels that have not been assigned a severity rating yet.


  • Co-authored two papers. I did some qualitative analysis for our CHI2019 and ASSETS2019 papers. I did some quantitative analysis and helped with some of the writing for CHI2019 as well. We won a Best Paper Award for our CHI paper.
    • Weld, G., Jang, E., Li, A., Zeng, A., Heimerl, K., Froehlich, J. (2019) “Deep Learning for Detecting Sidewalk Accessibility Using Streetscape Imagery”. Proceedings of ASSETS 2019. [Acceptance Rate: 41/158 (25.9%)].
    • Saha, M., Saugstad, M., Maddali, H., Zeng, A., Holland, R., Bower, S., Dash, A., Chen, S., Li, A., Hara, K., Froehlich, J. (2019) “Project Sidewalk: A Web-based Crowdsourcing Tool for Collecting Sidewalk Accessibility Data at Scale”. Proceedings of CHI 2019. [Acceptance Rate: 705/2958 (23.8%)]. [Best Paper Award – Top 1% of all submissions]


  • Gave a poster presentation at the annual Allen School undergraduate/5th year masters poster fair. Our poster won second place!
  • Gave research talks at multiple UW venues, including: ACM Research Night (to expose and recruit UW CSE undergrads to research), Dawgbytes Research in CS, UW Undergrad Research Symposium.