Inclusive mobility – a guide

The UK Government has updated their 2002 Inclusive Mobility guide. The update comes from seeking the views of people with disability, representative groups and practitioners. The principles underpinning the guide remain the same in this 2021 document.

The guidance covers features compatible with creating an inclusive environment. Pedestrians include people using all types of mobility aids that are meant for use on footpaths. The guide is focused on people with disability, but many others benefit too. Parents with small children, people carrying or wheeling heavy shopping, people with a leg in plaster, and many older people.

“The research for the guide included the needs of people with mental health conditions, dementia, age-related and non-visible impairments.”

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The overall aim of the guide is to enable practitioners to create a universally designed public realm, and through that, social inclusion. The document is useful for anyone designing and installing public realm improvements and new infrastructure.

To begin with…

The guide advises practitioners to consider all pedestrians from the outset of the design. This includes any transport or pedestrian infrastructure and planned maintenance. Any conflicts arising between the needs of different disability groups can be resolved by including them in the design process.

“Engagement should continue throughout a project, contribute to the design, and might include user tests and trials.”

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People with non-visible impairments also find uneven surfaces, crossing the road, navigating slopes and ramps difficult. Hence they are less likely to make the journey. These users benefit from pedestrian environments that are simpler, with distinct features and provision of clear information. Being confident in knowing where you are going is an essential part of feeling welcome in the public domain.

Human Factors

The introduction to the guide covers basic human requirements for ease of movement. This includes generous allocations of circulation space for people using mobility devices, or pushing baby strollers. Taking a universal design approach will generally suit most people. However, some people need specific designs. A deafblind person needs to know when they have the green walk sign and assistive technology comes into play here.

The guide is mainly concerned with people with mobility, vision, hearing, dexterity and reaching, and cognitive conditions. It discusses these in detail so that practitioners can grasp the full range of human diversity.

Footways, pedestrian crossings, changes in level, tactile paving, car parking, bus and tram stops, taxi ranks and transport buildings are all covered. The section on the use of digital transport is important as many information services are either web or kiosk based.

The title of the guide is, Inclusive Mobility: A Guide to Best Practice on Access to Pedestrian and Transport Infrastructure. The guide also reminds practitioners that they have legal obligations to comply with any disability discrimination legislation and related standards.

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