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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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Uneven road surface.

Lack of guide strips.

Lack of warning marking for crossings.

Gratings on the road surface.


To facilitate the safe and independent crossing of disabled people.


3.1 General

*Pedestrian crossings should be equipped with traffic control signals.

*Low-traffic crossings frequently used by disabled people can be controlled by a pedestrian push-button system.

*Constructing traffic islands to reduce the length of the crossing is recommended for the safety of all road users.

3.2 Guide strips (fig. 1)

*Guide strips should be constructed to indicate the position of pedestrian crossings for the benefit of sightless pedestrians (see Pathways; Curb Ramps).

*A guide strip should lead to pedestrian light poles with push buttons for the benefit of the visually disabled.

3.3 Traffic signals

*Pedestrian traffic lights should be provided with clearly audible signals for the benefit of sightless pedestrians.

*Acoustic devices (1) should be installed on a pole at the point of origin of crossing and not at the point of destination.

*The installation of two adjacent acoustic devices such as bleepers is not recommended in order to avoid disorientation.

*The time interval allowed for crossing should be programmed according to the slowest crossing persons.

3.4 Push buttons

*Push buttons should be easy to locate and operate and should be placed between 0.90 m and 1.20 m off the ground for the benefit of wheelchair users.

3.5 Traffic islands

*The traffic island depth should not be less than 1.50 m.

*The width of a traffic island should not be less than 1.50 m.

*A coloured tactile marking strip at least 0.60 m wide should mark the beginning and the end of a traffic island, to guide pedestrians with impaired vision to its location.

3.6 Road hump

*The road surface at pedestrian crossings can be raised to the same level as the pathway so that wheelchair users do not have to overcome differences in height (2) (fig. 2).

3.7 Surface

*The road surface should be firm, well-drained, non-slip and free of construction joints.

3.8 Drains and gratings (see Pathways)


*The road surface should be firm, well-drained, non-slip and free of construction joints.


(1) Experience shows that acoustical signals encourage safer crossing behavior among children as well

(2) Road bumps are also helpful in reducing the speed of traffic approaching the intersection.

Guide strips used in pedestrian crossings.
Fig. 1


Raised pedestrian crossing.
Fig. 2

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