Getting out and about easily contributes to our wellbeing, health and productivity. And well designed transport facilities, interchanges and connections add value to public places. The Office of the Victorian Government Architect is promoting good design for transport as a public benefit. When it comes to pubic transport, it needs to be safe, accessible and easy to use. Good design can also transform and influence how people feel and behave in public settings.
The Office of the Victorian Government Architect has a Good Design + Transport guide that covers heritage, legislation, good design principles, and key steps.
While the key steps don’t mention disability access specifically, the Government procurement processes require a universal design approach. The key steps for design include collaboration and community engagement as well as land use and urban connections. Community input at the early stages is listed as a good design strategy.
The other important advice is to review designs in the early stages and throughout the design process. This aligns with universal design principles and results in fewer costly mistakes.
Good Design Principles
Good Design + Transport lists good design principles as functional, enduring, sustainable and enjoyable. These principles provide guidance and a framework.
- Safe, legible – understandable, feels safe and secure, with good visual links and strong passive surveillance. The built form is clear and way-finding is carefully considered as part of the project.
- Seamless – a cohesive and linked network which is easy to understand and navigate. It integrates different transport modes, providing direct connections and easy transitions.
- Universally inclusive – main access routes are obvious and accessible to all members of the community.
- Walkable – support pathways and useable public space which prioritises pedestrian connections and links into local streets.
Relevant across life-spans of many generations and representative of its time and of high quality.
- Durable – easy to maintain and will age gracefully.
Promote positive environmental, social, cultural and economic values.
- Engaging – reflect and respond to diverse community values and encourage positive interaction.
- Socially responsive – support community land aspirations of a place connecting nearby facilities, incorporating shops, art, recreation spaces.
- Site responsive – respond to specific local conditions inclusive of built form, landscape, topography and orientation.
- Valuing heritage – respond to history, memory, understanding of and continuity with the past.
Create a desire to experience the journey rather than just pass through.
- Delightful – authentic, sensitive and intelligent in design of form, space, proportion, craft and detail.
Victoria also has an Accessible Public Transport Action Plan which designers should also reference in their designs. It supports their Absolutely Everyone state disability plan.
Editor’s comment: Note in the picture above the stripes caused by the sun coming in the behind the many upright struts. These stripes cause confusion for people who have difficulties with visual perception. That includes people with dementia who don’t know where to step, and people who see this as “visual noise”.