ALIGN Project


People aging with long-term ambulatory disabilities generally use familiar outdoor routes that fit their functional abilities and assistive technologies. However, the onset of age-related comorbid functional deficits creates a new set of environmental challenges that often exceed the abilities of these individuals, even on long-used routes*. Despite these challenges, the real barrier to outdoor mobility is the lack of information with which to plan safe and appropriate alternative routes.

Align user interface screenshots- 3 different screens featuring personal parameters and map access


The ALIGN project will develop and evaluate the feasibility of a mobile app (ALIGN) to inform outdoor route planning by people aging with ambulatory disabilities who are experiencing comorbid functional losses.


Participants were sent an online survey to determine which environmental characteristics would be important to them on a pedestrian route. Twelve participants are currently enrolled in a usability study to observe how well the application is received by potential users via Think Aloud and observation methods.


The parameter survey yielded the following priorities:

  • Presence of sidewalks;
  • types of intersections;
  • obstructions/landscape overgrowth;
  • sidewalk condition;
  • nearby public transit;
  • presence of traffic signals;
  • presence of acoustic signals;
  • presence of curb cuts;
  • presence of stairs; and
  • hilliness

Next Steps

The ALIGN project team will analyze the data gathered from user testing and refine the application for large scale testing.

If you are interested, please contact Sarah Melgen at 404-385-2569 or