The City of London Street Accessibility Tool is like an educational access audit report. It shows street designers how street features impact on the different needs of pedestrians. The focus is on people with mobility impairments and wheelchair users, which means everyone wins.
The tool recognises that there are sometimes competing needs: what’s good for one group might not be good for another. Co-design is the best way to find the trade-offs to ensure no-one is excluded. The tool comes in three parts: two Excel spreadsheets and a PDF downloadable from the City of London website.
Two photos from the “Instructions for Use” PDF document.
Doing the analysis
The PDF document begins with a table of different pedestrian types with and without assistive mobility devices. They cover mobility, sensory and neurodiverse conditions. There are three steps for using the tool.
London Wall, a street in London, is used as a case study for the tool. A 500m long section is analysed for accessibility and is split into six sections. Each section has detailed access advice for improvements with photographs overlaid with dimensions and text to illustrate issues.
Down to the detail
The first spreadsheet has detailed dimensions, colours, and placements for elements such as tactiles, street furniture, and kerbs. All the necessary technical detail is here.
What pedestrians said
The second spreadsheet is a route analyser and has a column of photos with user feedback about the issues they see. The feedback sheet highlights the “why” of planning and design. It provides insights for planners and designers in a way that that is missed in 2D drawings.
The direct quotes from people with disability provide the necessary insights for planners and designers. However, those responsible doing the actual construction should also have this information. All the access planning and designing gets lost if the “why” isn’t understood by all involved.
Here are two quotes from the spreadsheet on route comments:
I feel quite wary. This is an unmarked crossing as far as I can see, I can’t see any wait signs. Somebody has stopped for me I can see a cyclist, I’m now onto some more tactile paving, this is the sort of crossing I am totally unfamiliar with.
Person using a white cane
This is all fine but the paving stones are a little even so I’d be looking down and watching my speed so I don’t knock into one.
Person using a wheelchair
The City of London Street Accessibility Tool (CoLSAT) was developed by Ross Atkin Associates and Urban Movement for the City of London Corporation.