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Guidelines for planning a barrier-free environment

A practical manual to improve physical accessibility in Afghanistan

Sophie Ferneeuw
March 2005

Services Techniques et Etudes pour la Participation Sociale

SAS au capital de 40 000 €
RCS Lyon N° 478 039 225 – code NAF 742 C
SIRET 478 039 225 00014
TVA Intracommunautaire : FR41478039225

1. Introduction 4

2. The Barrier-Free Concept 5

3. Anthropometrics and dimension 7

4. Fundamental needs 11

5. Urban Design Consideration 13

5.1. Pathways and sidewalks 14

5.2. Obstructions 18
5.3. Signage 21
5.4. Street furniture 23
5.5. Curb ramps 26
5.6. Pedestrian Crossings 28
5.7. Parking 31

6. Architectural Design Consideration 33

6.1. Ramps 34
6.2. Entrances 37
6.3. Corridors 41
6.4. Elevators and platform lifts 44
6.5. Stairs 49
6.6. Doors 53
6.7. Signage 54
6.8. Toilets 57
6.9. Operating mechanisms and fixed features 62

7. Transport 64

7.1. Land transport 65

7.2. Bus stops 68
7.3. Airports 70

8. Bibliography and references 71

1. Introduction

UNDP’s National Programme for Actions in Disability (NPAD) working with the
Government of Afghanistan, through the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled, is supporting the
definition and implementation of disability policy and legislation in Afghanistan.

A key component of the programme is the identifying of capacity in country, capability needs
and defining capability development strategies and methodology so to enable the successful
implementation by government, non-government sector and international community of
practical programmes and strategies in disability. In the area of physical accessibility this is of
particular importance given the level of reconstruction taking place in Afghanistan at this

In this context, it has been decided to produce a manual of practical standards and guidelines
in the field of physical accessibility.

During the elaboration of the manual, it has not been always easy to find the limit in the
definition of the guidelines in the Afghan context. With the current reconstruction of the
country, the context may change quite rapidly.

For this reason, in the chapters 5 to 7, dealing respectively with urban areas, buildings and
transports, for each items presented, we decided to divide the guidelines in two parts:
designed and recommended guidelines.

The design part contains the guidelines that are compulsory and the recommended guidelines
contains supplementary criteria which could be difficult to apply in the current context but
which are strongly advised for the future.

Beyond the design of the environment, the accessibility will be related to the behaviors of its
users and owners. For example, a well-designed bus station with an accessible bus to a
wheelchair user will be useless if the bus driver doesn’t stop at the right place. As well, a wide
corridor to permit the passage of all users will be inaccessible as soon as we put cupboards or
other fixtures in the pathway. It means that the awareness of all users (we could say of the
civil society) is a main element in the field of environmental accessibility. For this purpose,
we added sometimes to the design a section “Best practice” dealing with the behaviors that
could either highlight either jeopardize the good conception of the environment in term of

This is the first manual of practical standards and guidelines in the field of physical
accessibility produced for Afghanistan. It is strongly advised to complete this manual in the
future by the lessons learned on the field. The aim of all of us is to allow the whole Afghan
population to move autonomously and safely provided that the physical environment is well

2. The Barrier-Free Concept

What is a Barrier-Free Environment?

A barrier-free environment is a space that allows free and safe movement, function and access
for all, regardless of age, sex or condition, a space or a set of services that can be accessed by
all, without obstacles, with dignity and with as much independence as possible. The
environment means buildings, roads, parks, gardens and other places, service, modes of
transportation, products of daily use, etc. There is a popular belief that a ramp and an
elevator/lift is all that is needed to make a built space barrier-free.

It must be clearly understood that barrier-free goes far beyond just a ramp and has many other
necessary aspects. These range from door and passage widths to flooring surface, from
counter heights to door handles and railings, from signage and auditory signal to tactile

Who all face barriers?

On the face of it, it is only persons with disabilities for whom barriers become major
obstacles. However, it is necessary to realize that every person, at some stage of life, face
barriers. A small child, an elderly person, a pregnant lady, the temporarily disabled, all are
vulnerable to barriers.

Therefore, to list out people affected by barriers:

- Wheelchair users
- People with limited walking / movement abilities
- People with visual impairment or low vision
- People with hearing impairment
- Elderly persons
- Pregnant ladies
- Children with temporary disabilities
- People carrying heavy or cumbersome charge
- Etc.

Barriers make an environment unsafe and cause a high level of difficulty to the user. But more
importantly, barriers cause space to be out of reach, denying people the opportunity of
participation in various spheres of life. This ranges from education, economic, social, cultural
and may be other activities. This loss of opportunity is not only a loss for the person
concerned but also society’s loss, which misses out on their contribution. Simply put, a barrier
causes exclusion and its removal is necessary for ensuring inclusion and participation of all in

Accessibility for All

Today accessibility for all is recognized as a basic necessity and there are attempts all over the
world to ensure this. Barrier-free features are now becoming fundamental to all design

Guiding principle: trip chain

One important concept for accessibility of the environment is that of the “trip chain”. A
typical trip consists of many links. For example, to be able to go from home to a working
place, a person has:
- to go from home to sidewalk or pathway
- to enter in a vehicle
- to go out of the vehicle to sidewalks or pathways near the working place
- to reach the entrance of the building
- to enter the building
- to move around in the building
- to enter the office or other kind of place for work
- to reach the working station
Each part could be divided in more details.
If only one link is not accessible, then the journey becomes impossible. Each link must be
considered and improved as necessary.

In this current manual, we are following this logic while describing the different items in the
urban areas from sidewalks to parking and breaking up the access to building in its four main
- to reach: ramps
- to enter: entrances
- to move around: corridors, elevators, stairs and signage
- to use: doors, toilets, operating mechanisms and fixed features

For the part “use of the building”, this manual presents the general parts that are usually met
in all the buildings. According to specific use of each building, it would be necessary to add
particular criteria of accessibility.

This Manual aims to provide clear and concise guidelines that can help to design a built
environment as barrier-free and accessible.

Note: The majority of the figures presented in the document are from:

Design Manual for a Barrier-Free Built Environment, UNNATI and Handicap

International, India, dec. 2004

Accessibility for the Disabled -A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment, 1998,

The detailed list of the sources of all figures is available at the end of the document.

3. Anthropometrics and dimension

This chapter contains dimensions that can be used for guidance when designing facilities and
equipments to be used by persons with disabilities.

Dimensions and reach ranges for wheelchair users

- Dimensions and size of wheelchairs

- Dimensional data of a wheelchair user

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

- Reach ranges for a wheelchair user

Forward reach

Fig. 4 & 5

Side reach

Fig. 6 & 7

Fig. 8

Space allowance for a wheelchair user

Fig. 9 Fig. 10

Fig. 11 Fig. 12

Dimensions for walking aids users

Fig. 13

Dimensions for blind persons

Fig. 14

Fig. 15

Fundamental needs

Wheelchair users

The main problem for wheelchair users are about moving and working from a sitting position;
thus many requirements are associated with the dimensions and other aspects of wheelchairs.
The length of wheelchairs is about 120 cm and the user’s feet add approximately 5 cm to the
overall length.

The width of the wheelchair varies between 60 cm and 70 cm. To propel a chair manually, a
clearance of at least 5 cm, and preferably 10 cm is needed. We have to consider a total width
of 90 cm.

To achieve a complete turn with the wheelchair, it is necessary to provide on the plan an
unobstructed circle of 150 cm diameter minimum and preferably 170 cm.

Considerable energy is required to propel a wheelchair manually up ramps, over changes in

level or over soft or uneven surfaces. Thresholds and changes in level should be avoided.
Ground and floor surface should be hard, even and slip resistant.

The reach of a wheelchair user is constrained by his seated position. The wheels of the chair
and the footrest extension limit access to room corners, workbenches, switches... The reach of
a wheelchair user is confined to a zone 70 cm to 120 cm above the floor level and not less
than 40 cm from room corners.

For wheelchair access to tables, workbenches or washbasins, a clear space for knees and
footrests is needed.

Walking aids users

For walking aids users to move securely, ground and floor surfaces should be even and slip
resistant. Handrails should be provided on stairs and ramps. Resting places should be
provided along travel routes.

People with impaired vision

For people with impaired vision, orientation can be eased by the use of contrasted colors and
changes in texture of the floor material. Design and plan arrangements should be simple.

Contrasting colors and warning blocks, change in texture should be used to aid the
identification of doors, stairs, steps, ramps, pedestrian crossings, etc. The path of travel should
be easy to detect by a sightless person using a long white cane; a guide strip (with a different
floor texture) parallel to main direction of movement can be used for this purpose.

To minimize the risk of hazards, obstacles, protruding elements and low overhanging signs
have to be avoided in the pathway. Hazards should be emphasized by means of illumination,
contrasted colors and materials and projection on the ground for protruding elements.

People with impaired vision have difficulty reading signs and printed information. Blind
people are restricted to tactile reading. The main information have to be translated in Braille
and visual information should be doubled with audible information, for example, in airport,
lifts and buses.

People with impaired hearing

People with impaired hearing have difficulty in understanding words and sounds in noisy
environments. Rooms should be acoustically insulated.

Supplementary visual information should be provided for example in airport and buses and
for the use of lifts, alarms, bells.

People with learning difficulties

These people form a very heterogeneous group. They can face difficulty in orientation.
Simple design is preferred with clear and unambiguous signposting.

5. Urban Design Consideration

5.1. Pathways and sidewalks

5.2. Obstructions

5.3. Signage

5.4. Street furniture

5.5. Curb ramps

5.6. Pedestrian Crossings

5.7. Parking

5.1. Pathways and sidewalks

Planning principle

To provide clear, obstruction-free, level, continuous and wide pathways for the convenience
of all users, especially the sightless and people with mobility problems


Street pavements, pedestrian passages in open spaces and recreational areas, pedestrian
underpasses and overpasses are all considered pathways or sidewalks.


1. Width

The minimum width of an unobstructed pathway should be 0.90 m and preferably 1.20 m.


Fig. 16 Fig. 17

The minimum width of a

Fig. 18 two-way wheelchair traffic
passage is 1.50 m. The
preferable width is 1.80 m.

For sidewalks, where the

people have to be able to
cross, we could recommend
the use of 1.50 m at least for
the width and 1.80 m if it
is a high frequented area.


The slope of an accessible path should not exceed 5 % (fig. 19). Pathways with a slope of
more than 5 % should be considered as ramps (see Ramps).

The slope across a path should not exceed 2 % (fig. 20).

Slope: max 5 % Slope across: max. 2 %

Fig. 19 Fig. 20

3. Surface

The surface of an accessible pathway should be smooth, continuous, firm, non-slip and even.

Pathways, which are leveled and even with adjacent surfaces, should be given a different
texture and color finish for differentiation.

Intersecting pathways should blend at one common level.

4. Grids

Gratings can be hazardous to

wheelchair users, walking aids users
and white cane users.

Inspection pit, drains and grids should

generally be placed outside the
pedestrian pathway.

Grids should be flush with the pathway

surface and should have narrow
patterns of not more than 13 mm.

Elongated grid openings should be

perpendicular to the pedestrian travel Fig. 21
path (fig. 21).

5. Guide strips

The path of travel should be easy to detect by a sightless person using a long white cane.
Natural guide lines (straight continuous line of detectable natural objects and defined edges
i.e. building frontages, grass verges, raised platforms, continuous railing, …) and guide strips
are used to help in identifying travel routes.

A guide strip (fig. 22) is a line means constructed in or on the road surface to facilitate
orientation for sightless pedestrians to replace missing natural guidelines and to guide to
pedestrian crossings

Guide strips should be laid in a simple and logical manner and should not be located close to
manholes or drains to avoid confusing sightless people.

Guide strips should have a color which contrasts with

the surrounding surface for the benefit of people with
sight problems.

The guide strip ridge profile should be parallel to the

main direction of movement and should be flush with
the top layer of the adjacent road surface so as not to
hinder people with mobility problems.

Where travel routes change direction, there should be a

gradual change in the direction of the guiding strip.
Fig. 22

Recommended guidelines

Tactile marking (fig. 22)

It is difficult to advise the use of tactile marking in the current situation in Afghanistan due to
the low level of accessibility in the urban area in the country. The signification of this kind of
marking in the current situation could be misinterpreted due to the high number of obstacles
in the pathways, the low number of pedestrian crossings and the absence of sidewalks or
pathways equipped with guide strips.

As soon as the level of accessibility will be increasing in the cities, the use of tactile marking
will have to be considered. Tactile marking is made of tactile tiling on the pedestrian route of
travel and should be placed at the following locations:

- On a guide strip where alternative routes exist or at a junction of guide strips,

- At a pedestrian crossing,

- Around obstructions which are difficult for the sightless to detect,

- As an information of the presence of an amenity, for example toilet and street furniture.

A tactile guiding area, with minimum dimensions of 0.90 m x 0.90 m, should be constructed
in a guide strip at cross pathways where the route branches off in several directions.

Each type of tactile paving surface should be standardized and reserved for its intended use to
avoid conflicting or confusing information. The successful use of tactile paving depends on
the understanding of the different meanings assigned to the paving by the visually impaired

Best practice

We have to keep in mind the objective of this sub-chapter which is to provide clear,
obstruction-free, level, continuous and wide pathways.

In this purpose, it is necessary

- to ensure a good maintenance of the pavement

- to envisage a temporary accessible pathway in the event of works on the main
- to avoid the future installation of street furniture on the accessible pathway
- to avoid the wild installation of obstacle on the accessible pathway (for more
details, see the paragraph obstructions)

5.2. Obstructions

Planning principle

To provide a path free of obstructions for the safety and independence of persons with
disability, especially persons with sight impairment


Obstructions: traffic and direction signs, trees, shelters for watchmen, water pumps, shop
stalls and advertising, street furniture, lampposts, etc


Obstructions should be placed outside of the continuous accessible pathway of minimum

width of 90°cm as defined in the paragraph 5.1 (fig. 23).

Obstructions near the pathway should be easily detect and as much as possible placed along a
continuous line.

Fig. 23 & 24

Protruding elements such as trees, overhanging signs, direction signs, … at a height less than
2 m from the ground should be avoided in order to protect sightless persons of hazards

Space below stairs should

be blocked out completely
by protective rails or
marked with tactile
surface (fig. 25).

Fig. 25

Obstructions on the pathway has to be detectable by the cane of a sightless person (fig. 26):

- straight shape of the obstruction rising from the ground level (a)
- 10 cm of raised platform at the base of the obstruction (b)
- tactile warning markings on the ground around the obstruction, extending of at
least 60 cm outside of the projected area at the base of the obstruction (c)

(a) (b)

Fig. 26


Recommended guidelines

Currently, the urban area is not highly equipped with street furniture such as phone boots,
benches, dust bins, lamp posts, pillar boxes …

As the situation could change rapidly, we have to ensure that this kind of street furniture are
situated outside of the accessible pathway.

Concerning furniture like phone booths, dust bins, benches, mailboxes we have also to situate
them along the accessible pathway with sufficient space available to reach them from the
pathway (refer to space allowance for wheelchair users in chapter 3 – anthropometrics and

Best practice

In the current situation, the pathways in the cities are often obstructed by the wild installation
of shelters for watchmen or shop stalls and the presence of garbage dumps. This kind of
installation on the sidewalks has to be avoided to insure the effective accessibility of the main

The lack of parking area in the city leads also to wild parking of cars on the sidewalks,
affecting also the level of accessibility.

5.3. Signage

Planning principle

To provide sufficient and clear orientation signs in order to avoid useless and tiring
displacements especially for persons with reduced mobility or sensorial impairments.


Signage: direction signs, street names and numbering, information signs, maps, … Signs are
means of giving information about direction, location, safety or form of action.


A successful sign system aims to minimize anxiety and confusion and prevent people from
getting lost.

All signs should be visible, clear (easy to see and to understand), concise (simple, short and to
the point) and consistent (signs meaning the same thing should always appear the same

Signage (overhanging signs and pole-mounted signs) placed on the sidewalks or pathways are
obstructions (see chapter 5.2). Thus, they should be outside of the accessible path and

1. Color and shape

The color of signs should be contrasted with the surrounding surface so as to be clearly

People with learning disabilities would benefit from an increased use of pictures on signs. The
color of signs is also an important factor for people with learning disabilities recognizing
them. A standard has to be used for the color and the common type of signs should be always
with the same color.

The shape of signboards could also give information; a standard should be used, for example
rectangular information signboards, triangular warning signboards, and circular interdictory

2. Surface

Signs should not be placed behind glass because of possible reflection.

Engraved text should be avoided and relief prints are advisable for person with visual

Key plans, orientation signs, … must have a text in Braille.

3. Lettering

The size of the letters should be in proportion to the reading distance and preferably raised at
least 1 mm form the background, to enable sightless people to read the information.

4. Information panels

The smallest letter should not be less than 15 mm. Map and information panels along
pathways should be placed at a height between 0.90 m and 1.80 m. (fig. 27)

Fig. 27

5. Direction signs

Simple pictures to show the location of the available facility should complete the written

Direction signs have to be placed in a way to avoid any confusion.

6. Symbol of accessibility

Accessible spaces and facilities should be identified by symbols of accessibility.

Fig. 28
Fig. 29

5.4. Street furniture and public facilities

Planning principle

To design accessible amenities convenient to all people without obstructing the accessible
pathway along travel routes


Street furniture and public facilities: public toilets, water pumps, signboards, bus stops,
benches, mail boxes, lampposts, telephone booths, garbage bins, shelters for watchmen, etc.


1. Location

Street furniture should be located outside of the continuous accessible pathway of travel so as
to allow for the free passage of all people without creating hazards.

Textural changes in the pathway surface inform people with vision impairment of the location
of public amenities.

Street furniture such as garbage bins, mailboxes, benches, telephone booths, … has to be
along or near the main accessible pathway.

2. Access and use

In order to allow the use of the various urban furniture, it is necessary to envisage an
accessible way to these furniture from the main pathway. Moreover, for particular furniture
such as the toilets, the phone boots, the water pumps, the fountains, a space of maneuvering
must be available.

For example, for a forward approach to a telephone booth or fountain, a free space of 80 cm
width and 130 cm length has to be available in front of the phone. For a perpendicular
approach, a free space of 90 cm width and 130 cm length is needed.

For public toilets, a free circular space of 1.5 m diameter is needed outside of the clearance of
the door to permit a wheelchair user to maneuver the wheelchair.

Please, refer to the chapter 3 Anthropometrics and dimension in order to provide the
necessary space to each kind of furniture and approach.

Recommended guidelines

Currently we couldn’t find a lot of urban or street furniture in the city areas. But as soon as
this kind of furniture will be installed, it will be important to think about their conception in
order to make those furniture accessible to all people.

1. Mail Boxes

The slot of the Mailbox should be situated at a height between 90 and 120 cm from the
ground level.

2. Water fountains

Fountains should have two spouts located at different height (approximately 80 and 95 cm)
for convenience of wheelchair users and people using walking aids.

A clear floor space of minimum 75 cm width and 120 cm length has to be free of obstruction
in front of the fountain (fig. 31).

Clear knee space provided below the fountain should not be less than 75 cm high and 23 cm
deep (fig. 30).

Height and clear toe-space should not be less than 75 cm wide, 23 cm deep and 23 cm high
from the finished floor level (fig. 31).

Control mechanism should be push or lever type.

Fig. 30
Fig. 31

3. Benches

Level rest areas are useful for all pedestrians and especially for old person and people with
reduced mobility.

Benches should be provided at regular intervals along the accessible pathway and in parks.

A free space of 130 cm depth and 80 cm width has to be provided near the bench for
wheelchair users.

4. Telephone booths

Telephone booths with different heights should be provided for the use of wheelchair users
and pedestrians.

A minimum unobstructed area of 130 cm x 80 cm in front of the low telephone counter should
be provided. The maximum height of the different command is evaluated at 120-130 cm.

Fig. 32

5. Public toilets

See paragraph 6.3. Toilets

6. Water pumps

The Water, Engineering and Development Center of Loughborough University has lead a
useful study in the field of use and access to water and sanitation. Detailed information are
available on the site

5.5. Curb ramps

Planning principle

To overcome smoothly changes in level between the sidewalks and the road surface at
pedestrian crossings and in front of building entrances.


Curb ramp (fig. 33): ramp to overcome the edge of a raised path near the road


1. Location

Curbs ramps are used wherever there is a difference in level on pedestrian paths or between
sidewalks and road surface at pedestrian crossings, near parking areas and bus stations, in
front of building entrances, …

Fig. 33

To avoid confusing pedestrians with low vision, curb ramps should be positioned out of the
accessible pathway (min. width 90 cm).

Curb ramps should be located away from places where water accumulates.

At pedestrian crossings, a curb ramp has to be provided at both side of the crossings.

2. Width

The minimum width of curb ramp is 90 cm between the 2-flared sides. The recommended
width is 120 cm.

3. Slope

The maximum slope of a curb ramp should be 8 % and the maximum slope of the flared side
12 %.

Fig. 34

4. Surface and color

A guide strip in contrasting color should be constructed to guide pedestrians with low vision
to the location of the curb ramps (fig. 35).

Curb ramps, including flares, should have a rough texture

or ground pattern to make them detectable and slip-

The surface color should be distinct and should contrast

with the surrounding surfaces to guide pedestrians with low
vision (fig. 35).

Best practice

The curb ramp could become easily unusable if the drivers

park their cars in front of it. The drivers are not always
conscious of the use of curb ramps and how a car park in
front of it could hamper a person (mainly wheelchair users)
while moving around the city. It is important to increase
the awareness in this field and also to avoid those situation
by an effective policy.

Fig. 35

5.6. Pedestrian Crossings

Planning principle

To facilitate the safe and independent crossing of pedestrians, especially those with reduced


Pedestrian crossing: marked place in a road where traffic must stop to allow people to walk


1. Location

Pedestrian crossings should be predicted in all the crossroads and at least at every 500 m.

Fig. 36

2. Pedestrian bridges

Provision of pedestrian bridges on both

side of the pedestrian crossings is necessary
to cover ditches.

Connection of pedestrian on both side must

be even.

The minimum width of pedestrian bridges along the sidewalks has to be equal with the width
of pedestrian crossings.

3. Guide Strips

Guide strips should be provided to indicate the position of pedestrian crossings.

4. Safety

Pedestrians should have priority to the road traffic on pedestrian crossings.

It is important to force the drivers to reduce their speed. This can be achieved in different

• Traffic islands to reduce the length of the crossing for pedestrians and the width of the
road crossed (fig. 37).

Fig. 37

• The road

surface at pedestrian crossings can be raised to the same level as the pathway (fig. 38).

Fig. 38

• Speed control measures: speed humps or chicanes just before the pedestrian crossings

5. Surface and color

The road surface should be firm, well-drained, non-slip and even.

The pedestrian crossings have to be clearly distinguishable by pedestrians and drivers, they
could be marked by zebra of color contrasting with the road color.

Recommended guidelines

The use of traffic control signals at pedestrian crossings is highly recommended for a safe
crossing (fig. 39).

Low-traffic crossings can be controlled by a pedestrian push-button easy to operate and

placed between 90 and 120 cm off the ground.

Pedestrian traffic lights should be provided with a clearly audible signals for the benefits of
pedestrians with sight impairment.

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

Fig. 39

5.7. Parking

Planning principle

To provide accessible parking facilities as close as possible to the point of destination.


Parking: area of ground for parking cars


1. Location

Accessible parking spaces should be located not more than 50 m from accessible building

2. Dimensions

The minimum width of an accessible parking space is 3.60 m (fig. 40).

Fig. 40

An access aisle 1.20 m wide can be located between two ordinary parking spaces (fig. 41).

Fig. 41

3. Parking curb

If a difference of level exists between the accessible parking area spaces and the accessible
pathway, a curb ramp should be provided (fig. 42). Please, refer to paragraph 5.5.

If there is no difference in level between parking area and pathway, a textured surface at least
60 cm wide is needed to separate the pathway from the vehicular area to avoid hazards for
people with vision impairments. Another solution could be the use of bollards (fig. 43).

Fig. 42 & 43

4. Surface

The surface of a parking facility should be uniform and smooth.

5. Signs

Accessible parking areas should be marked by the international

Fig. 44 symbol of accessibility as a signpost. Moreover, it is recommended to
paint the symbol on the ground surface of the parking space.

Best practice

It is always difficult to avoid that parking space, reserved for persons with disability, are not
used by other drivers. It is important to increase the awareness of the civil society in that field.
Moreover, a good policy with a system of penalty for this kind of offences is highly
recommended to discourage the drivers.

6. Architectural Design Consideration

Buildings concerned by this chapter :

Public Buildings
Private buildings offering services to the public
Common parts of collective apartment buildings

6.1. Ramps

6.2. Entrances

6.3. Corridors

6.4. Elevators and platform lifts

6.5. Stairs

6.6. Doors

6.7. Signage

6.8. Toilets

6.9. Operating mechanisms and fixed features

6.1. Ramps

Planning principle

To provide ramps wherever stairs or changes in level obstruct the free passage of pedestrians,
mainly wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility.


1. Location

The ramp should be located in the continuation of the accessible pathway leading to the

Wherever stairs are also provided to reach the entrance, ideally, the ramp should be adjacent
to the stairs.

2. Slope

The maximum recommended slope of ramps is 5 %. Steeper slopes may be allowed

depending on the length to be covered (see the table below).

Fig. 45 Maximum Max. length Maximum rise

4 % (1:25) - –
5 % (1:20) 10 m 50 cm
8 % (1:12) 2m 16 cm
12 % (1:8) 0.5 m 6 cm

Ramps should have no transverse slope.

3. Configuration

Ramps can have different configurations: straight run, with 90° turn or with switch back at
180° turn.

4. Landing areas

Ramps should be provided with landing areas (flat surface) for resting, maneuvering and
avoiding excessive speed (fig. 46).

Landings should be provided every 10 m, at every change of direction and at the top and the
bottom of the ramp.

The minimum length of the landing area is 1.40 m and the min. width has to be equal to the
width of the ramp.

Fig. 46

5. Width

The minimum width of the ramp should be 90 cm and

preferably 120 cm.

In overcrowded place, a width of 160 cm at least is


A border to drive out the wheel is recommended (detail B

on the figure 47).

Fig. 47

6. Handrails

Handrails on both side of the ramps are always recommended for ramps and obligatory when
the difference in level is more than 40 cm to avoid risks of fall.

The shape and dimension of the handrails should be selected for ease of grip (fig. 82). Its
transversal dimension has to be around 4 cm.

Double handrails at different height are recommended (fig. 49): one at a height of 70 cm from
the ground level for the use of the children and wheelchair users, one at a height of 90 cm for
the use of other users.

The handrails should be extended at the top and at the bottom of the ramp on a distance of at
least 30 cm (fig. 49).

The handrails color should be contrasted.

Fig. 48 Fig. 49

7. Surface

The ramp surface should be hard and non-slip.

8. Tactile marking

A tactile marking with contrasted colors should be placed at the top and the bottom of the
ramp to alert people with vision impairments. The width of the marking has to be at least

9. Drainage

Adequate drainage of water should be provided to avoid the accumulation of water.

6.2. Entrances

Planning principle

To provide accessible and easy-to-find building entrances.


1. Location

Entrances to buildings should be placed in a logical relationship within the routes that serve
them and be easily distinguishable from the façade (contrasted color).

Entrances should be connected with an accessible pathway to accessible indoor or outdoor

parking areas.

Clear signs indicating the entrance should be provided from the main gate of the compound.

2. Space allowance

In order to allow the maneuver of the door, sufficient space should be provided on both sides
of the door. The area of maneuver should be flat and firm.

The space needed depends on (fig. 50):

- the approach : frontal or lateral
- the push or pull side of the door

Lateral Approach

Frontal Approach
Fig. 50

It is recommended to provide a landing area (out of clearances of doors) of 1.40 x 1.40 m in
front of the entrance to allow operating doors.

Minimum movement space should be provided towards the latch side not less than 50 cm on
the pull side and 30 cm on the push side for easy access of wheelchairs to the door handle.

3. Width

The minimum clear opening width is 90 cm (fig. 51). Any type of door, hinged, folded or
sliding should have a minimum clear opening of 90 cm when fully open, excluding the frame
or any other such projection (fig. 52).

Fig. 51

Fig. 52

For double-leaf door, at least, one leaf should have a minimum clear width of 80 cm (fig. 53).

Fig. 53

4. Thresholds

Thresholds should be removed wherever possible. A maximum change in level of 2 Cm is

permissible if clearly visible and beveled with a slope lesser than 1:3 (fig. 54) or with

Fig. 54

5. Door equipment

Door handles should be selected for ease of grip for people with poor manual dexterity (fig.
55). Door handles should be mounted between 90 cm and 120 cm from the floor level and
must enable the user to operate it by a single hand.

Fig. 55

Two-way swing doors must be equipped

with glazing in order to have a clear
vision panel between 80 and 150 cm
from the floor level (fig. 56).

Completely glazed doors should be

avoided to prevent hazards for people
with visual impairments.

Ring buttons should be at a maximum

height of 130 cm.
Fig. 56

6. Vestibule

In case of a vestibule, a minimum space of 120 cm should be provided over and above the
width of the preceding doors between the two doors in series.

Fig. 57

7. Colors

The doors, frames and doors equipment should have contrasted colors with the surrounding
areas in order to facilitate their location for people with low vision.

Recommended guidelines

If possible, automatic doors (swing or sliding) has to be preferred to manually operated doors.

Revolving doors and turnstiles should always be avoided.

6.3. Corridors

Planning principle

To provide wide corridors without difference in level and obstructions to facilitate the passage
of all users and the maneuvering of wheelchair users.


1. Width

Wide corridors are useful for wheelchair users but also for service equipment and people
carrying cumbersome parcels.

The minimum unobstructed width of a low-traffic corridor is 90 cm (fig. 58). But as this width
doesn’t allow the maneuvering of wheelchair users through lateral doors, a continuous width
of 120°cm is highly recommended for all corridors.

The minimum unobstructed width of a public corridor is 150 cm (fig. 59) and the
recommended width is 180 cm.

Fig. 59

Fig. 58

2. Space allowance for maneuvering

For 90° turn, a width of 90 cm is sufficient if the

minimum length of corridor available after the
corner and any maneuver is at least 120 cm.
(fig. 60)

Fig. 60

For 180° turn, the minimum width is 110
cm but 120 cm is highly recommended to
allow the comfortable maneuver.
(fig. 61)

The minimum depth of the area for turn

is 125 cm and preferably 140 cm.

The corridor width should allow

maneuverability through the doors
located along its length (please, refer to
6.2. Doors)

At the end of a corridor, a free

unobstructed area of 1.5 x 1.5 m is
necessary to allow the maneuver of
wheelchair users (fig. 64).
Fig. 61

3. Obstructions

Obstacles such as drinking fountains, dustbins, phone booths, … should be placed outside of
the circulation path of 90 cm minimum width. Exceptionally, a width of 80 cm could be
allowed on a length of 60 cm maximum (fig. 62). All this equipment should be placed at the
same side of the corridor, to ensure a continuous path with the edge of the wall as guide strip
for people with sight impairment. This obstacles have to be detectable on the floor level.

Fig. 62

Overhanging signs should be mounted at least at 2 m from the floor level (fig. 63).

Fig. 63

4. Surfaces and colors

Steps and abrupt changes in levels should not be envisaged in corridors. Changes in level
have to be passed through ramps (please, refer to 6.1. Ramps).

The floor surface has to be firm, non-slipping and even. Carpets should be avoided.

The floor color has to be contrasted with the wall color for people with sight impairments.

Recommended guidelines

A continuous tactile marking of 60 cm width in the corridor is helpful for blind persons.

In long corridor, to allow a complete turn for wheelchair users, a minimum width of 150 cm is
recommended for the corridor. Another possibility is to provide regular wider areas along the
corridor for maneuvering.

Fig. 64

6.4. Elevators and platform lifts

Preliminary remark

For sure, elevator is the easiest way to provide accessibility to the different levels in a
building and it is not possible to ignore the use of elevator whenever we have to speak about
accessibility in a building with different levels.

But it is necessary to mention that in the phase of diagnosis in the field of accessibility for
Afghanistan, one main difficulty has been regularly mentioned, the difficulty to envisage the
installation of an elevator inside a building in the current situation for different reasons:
- Lack of regularity for the electricity power,
- Cost and abilities for maintenance,
- Availability of spare parts.

In this context, there is an important need to think about the best solution we can find. This
sub-chapter will present the result of the reflection. But as soon as the situation will change,
the use of elevators will have to be considered as essential. We will present the criteria related
to the elevators just after this preliminary remark.

1. Adaptable buildings

In the design of buildings with different levels, we have to think that, in the future, it has to be
easy to add an elevator: we can speak about adaptable buildings.

Essential design elements such as wider corridors and doors, accessible toilets are included as
integral features on the conception of the building, while provisions are made to allow
elevator to be added in the future.

To qualify as "adaptable," it must be possible to install an elevator in the future without

changing the inherent structure or materials of the building.

2. Buildings with one or two levels

As much as possible, all the facilities that have to be used by the public will be provided on
the ground floor level.

A sensitization of the personnel working inside the building has to be done in order to provide
personnel assistance to wheelchair users in case there is a need to reach the other levels.

In case of working places, it is necessary to envisage some accessible office and working
stations on the ground floor to welcome persons with disabilities in the staff.

3. Buildings with more than two levels

As much as possible, all the facilities that have to be used by the public will be provided on
the ground floor and the low-leveled floors.

A sensitization of the personnel working inside the building has to be done in order to provide
personnel assistance to wheelchair users in case there is a need to reach the other levels.

The installation of a platform lift (fig. 65) could be simpler than the installation of an elevator.
A feasibility study for the installation of mobile lift to lead into the low-leveled floor has to be

Fig. 65

4. Buildings where it is essential to provide access to the different levels

For buildings like main hospitals, it will be essential to provide access to the different levels.

In this case, accessibility could be provided by a ramp (fig. 66).

Fig. 66

The use of elevator has also to be reconsidered, as this kind of buildings will be conceived
with self-autonomy for electricity.

Planning principle

To provide well-dimensioned elevators in order to provide access to the different levels to all
users mainly wheelchair users.


1. Access to elevator

On each level, the elevator should be served by landings

large enough for wheelchair users to turn to reverse into
or out of the lift (fig. 67).

The call button will be located at a maximum height of

130 cm from the floor level and a minimum distance of
40 cm from the adjacent wall if the elevator is situated
near a corner.

The automatic door-reopening device is activated if an

object passes through an horizontal line situated at
12.5°cm and an horizontal line situated at 75°cm from the
floor level (fig. 68).

The button indicating the up direction should be on top.

The elevator should serve all floors normally reached by

the public. Fig. 67

Fig. 68

It is necessary to provide visual and tactile indication of floor level adjacent to call buttons
and opposite to lift doors.

2. Doors of the elevator

The minimum door opening width is 80 cm and

preferably 90 cm.

It is necessary to provide sufficient opening time

interval for persons with reduced mobility.

The maximum tolerance admitted for stop precision is

2 cm.

3. Internal dimensions

The minimum internal dimensions of the car are 1.1 x

1.3 m (fig. 69).

In high-frequented buildings, the minimum internal

dimensions recommended are 1.3 x 2 m

Fig. 69
4. Control panel

The control panel inside the elevator car (fig. 70) should be located at a height between 90 cm
and 135 cm from the floor. Numbers are embossed to be identifiable by touch and with
contrasted colors. All control buttons shall be also in Braille.

Fig. 70

5. Audiovisual signals

The elevator should signal arrival to each floor by means of a bell and a light to alert sightless
and hearing-impaired passengers simultaneously.

6. Recommended equipment

The inside of the elevator car should have handrails on three side mounted 80 to 85 cm from
the floor.

With an elevator car of 1.1 x 1.3 m, a wheelchair user is not able to maneuver in the car and
often he has to go backwards in order to quit the car. In this purpose, it is recommended to put
a mirror in the elevator car.

The use of contrasted colors is recommended for all the elevator equipment for people with
visual impairment.

7. Platform lifts

A platform lift (fig. 72)can provide access to existing

buildings where it would be difficult to install a ramp
or an elevator.

A vertical movement platform lift may be installed

adjacent to the stairs for maximum 2.5 m level changes
(fig. 71).

For level changes superior to 1.2 m, the lift should be

placed in a closed structured with doors at the different
accessible levels.

The minimum width of the lift is 90 cm and the

minimum length is 120 cm.

Fig. 71

Fig. 72

6.5. Stairs

Guiding principle

To provide safe and well-dimensioned staircases for the comfort of people with reduced

Preliminary remark

A good conception of stairs will facilitate their use for old people, walking aids users, people
with reduced mobility. For some of them, it is easier to use stairs than a long ramp.

But: Stairs could never replace a ramp or an elevator, as stairs are not accessible for all the


1. Width

The minimum width of stairs is 90 cm for one-way traffic. For high-frequented buildings, the
minimum width is 140 cm.

2. Landing areas
Fig. 73
Intermediate flat landing areas should be provided when
the difference in level is more than 2.5 m (fig. 73).
Landing area
3. Treads and risers

On any flight of stairs, all steps shall have uniform riser

heights and uniform tread widths.

Open risers and projecting nosings should be avoided to

minimize the risk of stumbling (fig. 74).

Fig. 74

The maximum riser dimension is 18 cm and the minimum tread dimension is 28 cm (fig. 75).

Fig. 75

4. Nosing and tactile marking

Nosing should be avoided, but if inevitable, it should follow the following specifications:
(fig. 76)
- The undersides of the nosing shall not be abrupt.
- Risers shall be sloped or the underside of the nosing shall have an angle not
less than 60° from the horizontal.
- Nosing shall project not more than 4 cm.

The nose of the steps should be flush or rounded and with

contrasted color. Sharp edges and protruding nosings should
not be used for treads.

Fig. 76

Textural marking strip should be provided at the top and bottom of stairs and at intermediate
landings (fig. 73 & 77).

Fig. 77

For people with sight impairment, the nose of steps should be with contrasted colors and
preferably different textures (fig. 78).

Fig. 78

5. Configuration

Circular stairs and stepped landings should be avoided (fig. 79).

Fig. 79

6. Handrails

Handrails must be installed on both sides of the stairs and should be extended at least 30 cm
before the first step and beyond the last step of the stairs (fig. 80).

Fig. 80

Handrails must be installed at an approximate height of 90 cm and could be doubled by a

second handrail at an approximate height of 70 cm for children and small size users (fig. 81).

Fig. 81

Handrails should be continuous, even at landings, without any break for the use of people
with sight impairment.

Handrails should be provided with rounded form for better grip with a cross section around
4°cm diameter (fig. 82).

Fig. 82

If wall mounted, handrails should have a clear space of minimum 4 cm from the wall.

Handrails should be with contrasting color.

6.6. Internal doors

Guiding principle

To facilitate the passage of all people and especially the wheelchair users through doors.


All the design criteria that apply to entrances (please, refer to paragraph 6.2.) apply also to
internal doors except that for interior doors, a minimum opening clear width of 80 cm can be

The most common error that one can note for interior doors is the absence of provision of
sufficient space to operate the door (related to the type of approach and the fact that one must
push or pull the door as explained in § 6.2.)

Operational devices on doors (fig. 83)

Signage beside on each door to indicate the function of the room, with indication in Braille
also should be provided.

Doors could be provided with a 30 cm high kick plate at the lower part to protect the door
from wheelchair footrests.

For spring mounted doors, an extra pull handle of 30 cm length could be provided at a
distance between 20 and 30 cm from the hinge side and at a height of around 100 cm from the
floor level to facilitate closing.

All operational devices must have contrasted colors with their surroundings and the doors
should be color contrasted with the wall.

Fig. 83

6.7. Signage

Planning principle

To facilitate the orientation inside buildings for all users and especially for those with hearing
and/or speaking impairments and users with reduced mobility.


1. Sign types

There are four main functional typologies into which signage could be classified:
- Information signs: maps, explanation for use of different equipments, …
- Directional signs: direct the user to a destination with arrow marks aiding text,
- Identification (or Location) signs: installed at specific individual destinations,
indicate the location of a room, service, desk, …
- Warning signs: installed for the safety of users (either warning or prohibitory
signs), for example, fire exit signs.

2. General considerations

Signage systems should be clear, consistent and in all the common languages of the region.

In general, signs should not be placed behind glass panels because of possible reflection and
thus poor readability.

Language should be clear, unambiguous and simple.

Abbreviations have to be avoided, as they can be easily misinterpreted.

Symbols should be used wherever possible. They are useful for visually impaired people and
people with learning difficulties. A good pictorial symbol depends on simplicity, legibility
and good recognition / familiar factor.

3. Location

Signage should be placed at nodal positions, openly and prominently. They should be simple
in syntax and must be well lit in ambient low light conditions.

It should not obstruct any movement path and, if suspended, should have minimum clear
headroom of 2 m from the finished floor.

If the signage is floor-based and freestanding, then there should be a detectable barrier at the
floor level for the white cane users.

Signage leading to two destinations should be kept on separate lines for easier legibility.

4. Signage requirement

Signs related to barrier-free access are required at the following locations (fig. 84):

- An exterior sign should be located at the main accessible entrance.

- In the case of multiple access points, each access point should indicate the
shortest route to the accessible entrance.

- Location and directional signs should be provided for elevators, fire exits,
accessible facilities like toilets, … on each floor

- Location and directional signs for major services like reception, public
telephone, … Accessible spaces and facilities should be identified by the
international symbol of accessibility

- The accessible route should be marked to avoid confusion

Fig. 84

5. Character height

Characters and numbers on signs shall be sized according to the viewing distance from which
they are to be read (fig. 85). The smallest letter type should never be less than 15 mm.

Fig. 85

6. Raised and Braille characters and pictograms

The letters and signs should preferably be raised at least 1 mm from the background, to enable
sightless people to read the information using the tips of their fingers. The height of raised
character should be between 15 mm and 50 mm. Pictograms shall be accompanied by the
equivalent verbal description placed direct below the pictogram. As much as possible, the
signs will be translated in Braille.

7. Finish and contrast

The characters and background shall be matte or other non-glare finish. Characters and
symbols should contrast with their background.

The color combinations red/green and yellow/blue should not be used in order to avoid
confusing color-blind persons

8. Room signs

Signs shall be installed on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door. Where there is no
wall space to the latch side of the door, signs shall be placed on the nearest adjacent wall. The
height shall be 150 cm from the finished floor to centerline of the sign.

The room nameplate in Braille should be incorporated into the signage at an approximate
height of 130 cm from the floor level.

Please, refer also to § 5.3. for signage

6.8. Toilets

Planning principle

To provide sufficient accessible space inside toilets rooms, with all fixtures and fittings being
within easy reach.


1. Transfer (fig. 87)

The ease of transferring from a wheelchair to a toilet seat depends on the approach. There are
four different approaches:
- the parallel or axial approach, which is the easiest,
- the diagonal approach, which is difficult,
- the perpendicular approach, which is also difficult,
- the frontal approach, which is the most difficult.

Fig. 86

Fig. 87

If the type of approach (axial, diagonal or perpendicular – fig 86) has no big influence on the
size of the room, we can see on the above figure that the type of approach has an influence on
the arrangement of the fixed features in the room. As the parallel approach is the easiest for
many wheelchair users, we should organize the fixed features in a way to allow this approach
in any public building.

2. Dimensions

A toilet cubicle designed for wheelchair user should be of internal dimensions not less than
1.50 x 1.50 m with a clear space not less than 80 cm wide and 130 cm length next to the water
closet (fig. 88).

Fig. 88

Door has to open outwards unless sufficient

space is provided within the toilet (fig. 89).

Fig. 89

With a cubicle of 1.5 x 1.5 m, the wheelchair

user can’t maneuver inside the toilet cubicle.
For this reason, he has to enter backward in the
toilet cubicle. A space of maneuver has to be
provided outside of the toilet adjacent to the
door to allow the wheelchair user to maneuver
in order to enter backward in the toilet after the
opening of the door. The needed free space is a
circle of 1.5 m diameter (fig. 90).

Fig. 90

The distance between the toilet axe and the adjacent wall has to
be between 45 and 50 cm (fig. 91).

To facilitate the transfer, the height of the seat has to be as

more as possible equal to the height of the wheelchair seat,
between 45 and 50 cm (fig. 92 & 93).

Grab bars should be mounted on the sidewall adjacent to the

toilet and on the wall behind the seat, at a height between 80
and 90 cm (fig. 92 & 93). Fig. 91

Fig. 92

Fig. 93

The toilet must have a lever-type flush control fixed towards the wheelchair transfer side to
facilitate flushing after transfer.

The distance of the tap/toilet roll-dispenser from the front edge of the seat has to be less than
30°cm. The height of it from the top edge of the seat has to be between 25 and 50 cm.

3. Washbasin

For wheelchair users:

The top edge of the washbasin must be between 80 and 85 cm from the finished floor level
(fig. 94 & 95).

The washbasin should be mounted such that the distance between the centerline of the fixture
and the adjacent wall is at least 45 cm (fig. 95).

There should be a minimum free knee space of 75 cm width, 20 cm depth and 75 cm height
with an additional toe space of at least 75 cm width, 23 cm depth and 23 cm height from the
finished floor as shown in the following picture (fig. 94 & 95).

The minimum clear floor space in front of the washbasin has to be of 75 cm width and 120
cm depth, of which a maximum of 48 cm in depth may be under the washbasin.

Fig. 94 Fig. 95

The hot water and drainpipe within the knee space or toe space must be properly insulated.

Only lever-type faucets should be used (fig. 96).

Fig. 96

Towel, soap dispensers, hand dryers and waste bins must be positioned such that the parts and
control operation are between 90 and 130 cm from the finished floor level.

For walking aids users or standing person with reduced mobility:

The top edge of the washbasin is around 95 cm from the finished floor level. A grab bar
adjacent at a height of 95 cm is highly recommended (fig. 97).

Fig. 97

4. Urinals (fig. 98)

They should be of the wall hung type with the rim

not more than 43 cm from the floor and a clear
floor space of 75 cm width x 120 cm depth without
steps in front of it.

Privacy should not extend beyond the urinal unless

they are at least 75 cm apart from each other.

They should be grab-bars on either side extending

from 90 cm to 150 cm above the finished floor
level and with a minimum distance of 12 cm
between the bar and the wall.

The flush, if manually operated, should be located

between 90 cm and 130 cm from the finished floor
Fig. 98

6.9. Operating mechanisms and fixed features

Planning principle

To provide different operating mechanisms and fixed features for the use of the public in
reachable zone.


Operating mechanisms and fixed features: switches, plugs, bells, call buttons for elevator,
commands of various equipment, mailboxes, door or windows handles, faucets, …


Vertical reach: the operating mechanisms and fixed features must be between 40 cm and
130°cm from the finished floor level (fig. 99).

Fig. 99

Horizontal reach: the minimum distance between the operating mechanism and the adjacent
wall is 40 cm (fig. 100).

Fig. 100

Fig. 100

The forward reach over an obstruction is limited to 50 cm for a wheelchair user (fig. 101).

Fig. 101

The type of mechanisms used has to be chosen in order to minimize the effort to operate it
(fig. 100).

7. Transport

7.1. Land transport

7.2. Bus Stops

7.3. Airports

7.1. Land transport

Planning principle

Buses, taxis and mini-buses should be designed as far as practicable to include facilities that
can accommodate people with disabilities.

New vehicle should comply with accessibility standards to enable all people, including
wheelchair users, to use the service provided.


1. Buses

Accessible busses should have the following features : Fig. 102

Bus doors should:
- be at least 90 cm wide;
- have a low-level step installed;
- have handrail and footlight installed;
- have apparatus such as hydraulic lift (fig. 102)
or pull-out ramp (fig. 104) installed in the
doorway for wheelchair users.

Fig. 103

Fig. 104
Wheelchair space

Space for a wheelchair should be provided in an appropriate

position, without preventing other passengers from getting on
and off (fig. 105). The location of that space should be
indicated inside and outside the bus using the standard symbol
for wheelchair accessibility.

Fig. 105

Alighting buzzer

An appropriate number of alighting buzzers should be provided in positions that are easily
accessible for seated or standing passengers and the push-button of an alighting buzzer should
be clearly visible, installed at 90 to 120 cm from the bus floor level and display the
information in Braille.


Information on the names of all bus stops along should be indicated inside the bus by
displaying text in a suitable position and information on a route. Its final destination should be
displayed outside the bus in large text, especially on the front and side of the bus. This
information should be in a contrasting color and be well illuminated at night.

It is highly recommended to give in advance an audible information on the name of each

station reached.

2. Mini-busses

The specifications are the same as the specifications for doors and wheelchair spaces for

Fig. 106

3. Taxis

Ideally, criteria have to be given for all new taxis in order to be adapted to allow passengers to
get in and out of them remaining seated in their wheelchairs.

Practically, it is possible to impose a percentage number of new taxis accessible. But

whenever, the taxis are owned by private persons, this policy could be difficult to follow.

Best practice

With the current lack of public transportation, the busses are overcrowded. In this situation, it
is more difficult for a person with reduced mobility to pick a bus than for other users. That

means that the people for whom pedestrian displacements are most difficult are also penalized
for the access to public transport.

It is highly recommended to implement a policy that will give priority to the persons with
disability for access to the public transport.

Moreover, sensitization and behavior of drivers is of great importance in the field of

accessibility to transport.

7.2. Bus stops

Planning principle

To provide rest areas accessible to all users with clear information while waiting for the bus.


1. General

At least one accessible route of 90 cm width should be provided from the alighting and
boarding point of the bus stand to the sidewalk (or main accessible pathway) and/or to the
accessible entrance of the building.

Guiding blocks should be provided along the accessible path from the alighting and boarding
point to the sidewalk and /or to the accessible entrance of the building.

2. Location

Bus stop should be located near the accessible entrance.

Whenever there is a difference in level between the drop-off area and the sidewalks, a curb
ramp should be provided.

3. Shelter

A shelter should be provided at the bus stand for protection against rainy and sunny weather

Fig. 107

Seats should be provided at the bus stand for people with reduced mobility. Available free
space near the seats should be provided for wheelchair users. The seats should be positioned
such as not to impede the movement of wheelchair users.

The ground surface under the shelter has to be firm and even.

4. Ramps

Whenever a bus stand is not at the same level with the pathway, two separate ramps are
necessary for alighting and boarding.

5. Information

Clear information on the busses numbers and names of all bus stops should be indicated on
the bus stand area. This information should be in a contrasting color and be well illuminated
at night.

Best practice

The accessibility to the bus is provided by a combination of accessible elements on the bus
stop and on the bus. If the driver doesn’t stop on the right place, the effort done in term of
conception for accessibility will become useless. The sensitization and behavior of drivers
will be of major importance in the field of accessibility to transport.

7.3. Airports

Airports should be considered as a public building and we could refer to chapter 6 –

Architectural Design Consideration.

For airports, we have to insist on the importance of signage due to the number of information
displayed in an airport:

- There should be a tactile layout map of the airport placed right at the entrance.
- There should be clear directional signs indicating all the facilities and the
various platforms.
- The signage must also be displayed in Braille / raised numbers.
- All the audio announcements should be supplemented with visual information
displays for people with hearing impairments.

There are some specific elements also that we could add for the design;


1. Width of doors and corridors

There is an important traffic in airports. For this reason, we have to increase the minimum
width of doors and corridors to 180 cm.

2. Reservation, registration, information and customs counters

At the front of the counters, a clear floor space of at least 90 cm x 130 cm should be available.

There should be at least one counter at a height of 75 to 80 cm from the floor level with clear
knee space underside.

The counters should have pictographic maps indicating all the services offered at the counter
and at least one of the counter staff should be sign language literate.

3. Waiting area

Near seats areas, free spaces have to be available for persons using wheelchairs.

Best practice

Near the entrance, it is also recommended to have a particular reception desk for special care
dedicated to people with reduced mobility or sensitive impairment.

7.4. Bibliography and references

Accessibility for the Disabled -A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment, 1998,
Solidere, UNESCWA, Ministry of Social Affairs, Lebanon

Guidance on the use of tactile paving surfaces, UK Department of transport, available on

the website

Design Manual for a Barrier-Free Built Environment, UNNATI and Handicap

International, India, dec. 2004

Good signs: Improving signs for people with a learning disability, Disability Rights
Commission, available on the website

Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access – Best practice design guide, Federal Highway
Administration, US Dept of Transportation, available on the website

Inclusive mobility, a guide to best practice on access to pedestrian and transport

infrastructure, Nov 2002, available on the website

Designing for accessibility, an essential guide for public buildings, Centre for Accessible
Environments, 1999, England

Une voirie accessible, Certu et la direction des Routes, Nov 2003, France

Planning a barrier-free environment, Offices of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with
disabilities, India

Handicap et Construction, Louis-Pierre Grosbois, 1999, Le Moniteur, France

Design criteria for handicapped, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Building
Housing Research Center, 1989, Iran

Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier free Built Environment for Disabled and
Elderly Persons, Central Public Works Department, Ministry of Urban Affairs and
Employment, 1998, India

Recommandations concernant les surfaces tactiles au sol pour personnes aveugles ou

malvoyantes – Rapport intermédiaire, Certu, 2003,

Reconstruction attentive aux situations de handicap, Prévention des risques et

Construction dans les situations exceptionnelles, Handicap International, mars 2003


Design Manual for a Barrier-Free Built Environment, UNNATI and Handicap

International, India, dec. 2004
Fig. 4 to 7, 9 to 18, 21, 23 to 25, 27, 30 to 33, 48, 49, 51 to 63, 68, 70, 78, 80 to 84, 86, 87, 92,
94 to 98 and 101

Accessibility for the Disabled -A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment, 1998,
Solidere, UNESCWA, Ministry of Social Affairs, Lebanon
Fig. 1, 2, 8, 26, 29, 42, 43, 50, 64, 71, 73, 77 to 79, 85 and 89

Various tools for training, Vida Brasil (in partnership with Handicap International)
Fig. 22, 28, 35, 44, 74, 75 and 107

Accessibility for disabled, nov. 2004, Bam, Veritas, ppt presentation, done for Handicap
Fig. 45, 69, 88, 90, 91, 93 and 99

Une voirie accessible, Certu et la direction des Routes, Nov 2003, France
Fig. 19, 20 and 34

Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access – Best practice design guide, Federal Highway
Administration, US Dept of Transportation
Fig. 37 and 38

Inclusive mobility, a guide to best practice on access to pedestrian and transport

infrastructure, Nov 2002
Fig. 40 and 41

Planning a barrier-free environment, Offices of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with
disabilities, India
Fig. 105

Handicap et Construction, Louis-Pierre Grosbois, 1999, Le Moniteur, France

Fig. 47

Recommandations concernant les surfaces tactiles au sol pour personnes aveugles ou

malvoyantes – Rapport intermédiaire, Certu, 2003
Fig. 39

Reconstruction attentive aux situations de handicap, Prévention des risques et

Construction dans les situations exceptionnelles, Handicap International, mars 2003
Fig. 100

Pictures available on internet

Fig. 36, 65, 72, 101, 103, 104 and 106

Some of those figures has been modified for the purpose of the manual.