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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality
Theme: Accessibility :
Accessibility for the Disabled - A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment
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Lack of or improper design of street furniture.

Obstructed pathways.

Inaccessible street facilities.


To design accessible amenities convenient to all people, without obstructing the free passage of pedestrians along travel routes.


3.1 General

*Street furniture includes bus stops, benches, mail boxes, lampposts, signboards, telephone booths, public toilets, newspaper kiosks, planting tubs, garbage bins, etc.

3.2 Location (1)

*Street furniture should be located so as to allow for the free passage of all people without creating hazards.

*Textural changes in the footpath surface help sightless people to identify the location of public amenities (see Obstructions).

3.3 Resting facilities

*Level rest areas with seats are helpful for all pedestrians, especially for those with mobility problems.

*Resting facilities should be placed outside the main circulation path in public parks, recreational places, pathway crossings, in front of accessible entrances and exits and wherever necessary.

*Resting facilities should be provided at regular intervals between 100.00 m and 200.00 m (2) (fig. 1).

*Some seating accommodations should be placed close to public toilets, telephones, etc.

*Resting spaces with benches should allow a minimum of 1.20 m of adjoining space for a wheelchair (fig. 2).

*Public seats and benches should be approximately 0.45 m above floor level, with backrests at approximately 0.70 m above floor level (fig. 3).

*The height of a table should be between 0.75 m and 0.90 m and the minimum depth under the table should be 0.60 m, in order to fit a wheelchair under all sides (fig. 4).

3.4 Public telephone booths (3)

*At public telephone booths, one telephone should be accessible to a wheelchair user and another to a person with a hearing impairment.

*Telephones for the hearing impaired should be equipped with hearing aid devices and amplifiers. The location of telecommunication devices should be indicated by signs.

*A push-button telephone numbering system, with raised letters which can also be read by touch, should be used for the convenience of sightless users and other disabled people. A dial numbering system is not recommended unless the dial tension is reduced so as to require less effort to rotate the dial.

*A folding seat should be provided in accessible telephone booths for the convenience of people with mobility problems.

*The minimum unobstructed area in front of the telephone counter should be 1.20 m x 0.85 m, allowing either a parallel or a frontal approach (fig. 5).

*The coin slot should be mounted at an accessible comfortable height between 0.90 m and 1.20 m.

*The telephone cord length should be at least 0.75m.

*Accessible public telephones should be marked by appropriate signs.

3.5 Mailboxes

*Mailbox slots should be mounted at an accessible height between 0.90 m and 1.20 m (fig. 6).

3.6 Water Fountains (fig. 7)

*Drinking fountain spouts should be located at an approximate height of 0.90 m.

*Drinking fountains can have two spouts located at different heights, one convenient to wheelchair users at approximately 0.85 m, and one at approximately 0.95 m for non-disabled people.

3.7 Signs (see Signage; Pedestrian Crossings)

3.8 Garbage bins (see Obstructions)

3.9 Public toilets (see Rest Rooms)

3.10 Ticket vending machines (see Height Limits)


*Resting facilities should be rearranged where possible to allow an adjoining space for a wheelchair.

* Facilities mounted at a maximum height of 1.40 m are acceptable, while those located at a higher level should be modified.


(1) Landscaped strips act as a buffer zone between pedestrian and vehicular zones, and street furniture can be located within these strips.

(2) It might be beneficial to locate rest areas at more frequent intervals on long gradients

(3) Public telephone requirements also include those in hotels, information booths and other public areas.

Rest areas at intervals of 100-200 m.
Fig. 1


Allowance of 1.20 m beside bench for wheelchair.
Fig. 2


Specifications for public seats and benches.
Fig. 3


Height and depth dimensions for public tables.
Fig. 4


Specifications for public phone booths.
Fig. 5


Mailbox slots at about 0.90 to 1.20 m height.
Fig. 6


Water fountains at about 0.90 m height.
Fig. 7

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United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development