London’s Accessible Pedestrian Crossings: What Does The Law Say?

London’s Accessible Pedestrian Crossings: What Does The Law Say?

London’s Accessible Pedestrian Crossings: What Does the Law Say?

 

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself as a pedestrian facing a horde of cars pressed into the streets of London. How to know if it is safe to cross?

Every day more than 250,000 visually impaired people cross the streets of London.

What are current regulations, legislation and guidance to make the pedestrian crossings of the capital accessible?

Let’s have a look at current regulations in force. You will then be able to assess whether your crosswalks are up to standard and take the necessary steps to comply with them.

 

The Highways Act 1980 

The highway authority has the duty under the Highways Act 1980 to keep the streets and pavements clear of obstacles and clutter to allow every pedestrian to walk along them safely.

The Equality Act

The new Equality Act 2010 (former Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – DDA) provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and avoid any discrimination caused by physical features. The Act also requires local authorities to provide information that is accessible for everyone.

Inclusive mobility

In 2005 the Department of Transport published “Inclusive mobility – a guide to best practice on access to the pedestrian and transport infrastructure”. The aim of this guidance is to provide advice on best practice to assist professionals to meet their responsibilities under the Equality Act. These guidelines do not have any legal status but they provide guidance on best practice in a general sense that relevant organizations can apply to their particular situation. 

These include specifications on:  

⊗ Audible and tactile signals at pelican crossings and controlled junctions

⊗ The Design of Pedestrian Crossings 

⊗ Tactile Paving Surfaces

The main purpose of these guidelines is to set road designs for people with physical impairment to the highest possible standards that can benefit to everyone.

 

Design of Pedestrian Crossing

The Department of Transport has issued a guideline in 1995 updated in 2005 in a traffitc advisory leaflet advising on the design of general pedestrian facilities at signal-controlled junctions. A full section is dedicated to accessible pedestrian crossings.

According to the Department of Transport, two audible signals and one tactile signal standards are available: the normal standard “bleeper”, the “Bleep and Sweep” signal and the tactile cone.

The standard “bleeper” is the audible solution used when all cars are stopped at a junction. For more complexe crossings, the “bleep and sweep” signal is used. By adapting the output level of each crossing signal, pedestrians can determine which crossing is safe to cross and thus reduce the risk of confusion.

The tactile signal is a small cone fitted underneath of the push button box. The cone rotates when the green man pedestrian signal is lit. To ensure consistency for visually impaired people the tactile unit should be installed on the right hand side of the bottom of the push button unit.

When audible signals are unsafe only tactile devices shall be used. However, the question of security remains debatable. Indeed, several local associations contest this notion of “security”. According to them, all pedestrian crossings should be equipped with an audible signal no matter the design of the junction.

 

Design Standards for Signal Schemes in London

 The Design Standards for Signal Schemes in London are guidelines that list all standards for audible and tactile signals for the City of London. If you are a decision-maker from London this document specifically might interest you.

“Where pedestrian facilities are being provided, audible and/or tactile devices must be provided for the visually impaired in addition to the normal Red and Green Man indication. 

The tactile or audible devices shall always operate at the same time as and be interlocked with the Green Man indication.”

The Design Standards for Signal Schemes in London

The mayor of London says that all pedestrians crossings are accessible, in practice, it is very common to find a crossing only equipped with a cone and not with an audible signal making crossing more difficult and less secure for visually impaired people.

The document updated in 2011 contains all practical information related to the installation of accessibility equipment on pedestrian crossings in London such as:

⊗ location of pushbutton and tactile units 

⊗ red lamp monitoring

⊗ audible signal installation requirements

⊗ ‘all red’ detectors

To enable blind and low-vision pedestrian to safely cross the road, all London’s signal-controlled junctions must be equipped with audible and/or tactile signal unless specific considerations warrant their exclusion. As we know London is a large and old city. The road layouts vary widely because the space and geometry of each junction and crossing are different. Consequently these texts above list general specifications regarding accessible devices location and design but may be subject to changes to achieve safe and unambiguous signalling.

 

For more information about London’s policy on accessible pedestrian crossings, check out our last article!

 

Source documents:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3695/inclusive-mobility.pdf

http://programmeofficers.co.uk/Preston/CoreDocuments/LCC175.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/330214/ltn-2-95_pedestrian-crossings.pdf

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/design-standards-signal-schemes.pdf

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Where pedestrian facilities are being provided, audible and/or tactile devices must be provided for the visually impaired in addition to the normal Red and Green Man indication. 

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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5 must-have apps for deaf and hard of hearing people in 2020

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By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

MaaS: A Solution for Tomorrow’s Mobility

MaaS: A Solution for Tomorrow’s Mobility

MaaS: a Solution for Tomorrow’s Mobility

 

Because mobility is not just about getting from point A to point B. It is way more than that. It is also about taking into account a whole series of factors such as the duration of the journey, the price, the quality of the service, the environmental impact and safety.

In a changing world where new mobility actors are constantly upsetting our cities’ balance, emerging digital alternatives such as Mobility as a Service i.e MaaS offer an innovative mobility experience for smart cities of the future.

Focus on a key concept of the Smart City that promises to transform our journeys of tomorrow.

What is MaaS?

MaaS stands for Mobility as a Service and is an application that seamlessly combines all existing transportation options, from travel planning to payment. MaaS smartly manages the transportation needs of users through the provision of real-time information combined with custom-made services.

MaaS was born in Finland where it already plays a key role in national transport policy. The concept is widely recognized around the world as a breakthrough innovation, one that will change the way everyone travels through digitization and the combination of the best mobility solutions.

MaaS is more than just a transport information platform. It’s a smart way to reach a destination.

MaaS: What impacts on cities and end users?

For public decision makers, MaaS represents a major challenge in controlling the mobility chain, data analysis and creating strong partnerships between various stakeholders.

Indeed, public authorities and private actors of MaaS must perfectly control the entire mobility chain to facilitate access to different modes of transport in a fluid and equal manner. To do so, it is necessary to encourage the design of multimodal urban centers.

Data analysis provides valuable information to transport operators and cities to adjust their network and services. The indirect objective is thus to better meet the needs of travelers and environmental purposes.

In order to set up such a tailor-made service, public authorities have the responsibility to create trustworthy partnerships between the different transport operators by offering contractual frameworks encouraging cooperation.

For users, MaaS is a answer to the myriad of mobility options in urban areas. From personal vehicles, shared mobility, vehicles with drivers to public transport, it can be difficult to make the right choice. Not to mention that the best trip is perhaps intermodal and combines several modes of transport a single journey.

The main advantages of this solution for users are:

  • reliability: MaaS provides correct information in real time and a high level of service,
  • simplicity: a single application allowing easy access to information,
  • flexibility: MaaS adapts to the preferences of each user taking into account their personal situation (ex: a sensory disability),
  • impartiality: the service displays all the possible options to best serve the needs of end users.

What will MaaS of the future look like?

The digitization of mobility is underway, followed by a constant increase in the number of services. New mobility offers will continue to develop (autonomous, electric, shared vehicles etc.) and customers’ expectations to evolve. Mobility services will merge more and more to form true intermodal continuity in the mobility chain. Therefore, the traveler’s choice will rely more on the price and the performance than on the mode itself.

MaaS of tomorrow will help all users make the right choice based on their personal preferences, the weather, and their physical and mental abilities. In the world of tomorrow, MaaS will be a true indoor/outdoor smart mobility assistant that will erase the barriers of disability by offering a 100% tailor-made mobility.

In short

It is becoming increasingly clear that we are at the beginning of a new era of mobility based on the digitalization of our modes of travel. 

Mobility as a Service is the key to change traveling behaviors towards more sustainable, more inclusive and more affordable mobility, given everyone’s disability.

MaaS seems to have a bright future. But is the Nordic mobility model easily applicable to other countries? Will all carriers agree to share their data with operators? What are the possible associations with existing ticketing services? Many challenges still need to be addressed …

To go further: Mobility Apps for Blind People or how Technology Can Replace Special Assistance at the Airport

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In the world of tomorrow, MaaS will be a true indoor/outdoor smart mobility assistant that will erase the barriers of disability by offering a 100% tailor-made mobility.

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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5 must-have apps for deaf and hard of hearing people in 2020

5 must-have apps for deaf and hard of hearing people in 2020

5 Must-Have Apps for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People in 2020  Technological breakthroughs can do miracles. For the 466 million people worldwide having disabling hearing loss (WHO), smartphones have become an essential tool to facilitate social interaction due to...

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on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

12 tips to welcome a deaf or hard of hearing person

12 tips to welcome a deaf or hard of hearing person

12 Tips to Welcome a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person

 

You don’t know sign language and you sometimes welcome deaf or hard of hearing people? Don’t panic!

For fear of doing wrong, we often just keep quiet. However, there are tips to facilitate verbal communication with deaf people. So, in an attempt to reestablish this dialogue this article will provide you with tips to make everyone comfortable. 

The objective is to help hearing people working in the public and private sector by making them aware of simple ways to facilitate communication with deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

What are the right things to do? How to adapt your environment and your body language? Here are 12 tips to help facilitate verbal exchanges daily.

  1. Ensure good lighting and absence of backlighting especially behind the reception desk                                                          good lightening to welcome a deaf person
  2. If possible make dubbing of audio messages available by a visual display with text but also images and pictograms   audio dubbing deaf people
  3. Use amplification systems or a induction loop system to improve hearing quality for people wearing hearing aids  hearing induction loop system deaf people
  4. Provide paper or a smartphone to write or draw if necessary      writing to welcome deaf people    
  5. Provide suitable visual aids: signage, written documents, diagrams, visual guides in American Sign Language etc.     accessible signage
  6. Speak directly to the person even if he or she is accompanied     speak with a death person
  7. No need to scream or raise your voice. It distorts the articulation no need to scream with a deaf person
  8. Stand in front of the deaf or hard-of-hearing person. Stand in the light but not against the light so that he or she can see your lips when speaking how to talk to a deaf person
  9. Express yourself clearly and distinctly by marking downtime (without exaggerating) to see if the person understands      welcome a deaf person
  10. Use a common vocabulary avoiding word play and expressions use easy vocabulary with deaf people
  11. Reformulate if necessary by using synonyms reformulate deaf people
  12. Check the message’s understanding: beware of misunderstandings! avoid misunderstanding with deaf people

Hearing-impaired people have very different profiles. The choice of communication varies from one person to another and their environment. These simple and easy-to-implement tips will allow you to interact with every visitor or client, taking into account hearing impairment in all its diversity.

To understand more about this invisible impairment, the article 8 Clichés About Deaf People will help you toss aside prejudices to welcome deaf people in the best possible way.

Feel free to share these tips around you to make all your staff aware of good communicative attitudes.

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No need to scream or raise your voice. It distorts the articulation

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Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

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5 must-have apps for deaf and hard of hearing people in 2020

5 must-have apps for deaf and hard of hearing people in 2020

5 Must-Have Apps for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People in 2020  Technological breakthroughs can do miracles. For the 466 million people worldwide having disabling hearing loss (WHO), smartphones have become an essential tool to facilitate social interaction due to...

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on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.

London’s Policy for Accessible Pedestrian Crossings

London’s Policy for Accessible Pedestrian Crossings

London’s Policy for Accessible Pedestrian Crossings

 

The first traffic light appeared in London 150 years ago. Now Transport for London (TfL) has implemented more than 6,000 of these devices across the capital. Why? Simply because the London road network is often under tremendous strain. Despite the extensive network of public transportation, many Londoners still choose to drive a private vehicle to get around the city. To this traffic can be added cabs, trucks, cyclists, buses, coaches and all kinds of new urban means of transport like electric scooters. 

Considering that in 2017, 20,4% of road deaths in London were pedestrians and that 76% of collision happen at junctions, how do the 250,000 blind people living in the capital cope with road crossing?

The city of London has put in place a rather favorable policy for blind pedestrians but there is still room for significant improvement to guarantee safety for all.

Let’s take a look at the daily struggles of blind londoners and the commitments made local authorities to reinforce pedestrian safety.

Crossings and the problems

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has carried out a survey in 2014 of over 500 blind and partially sighted people all over Great Britain including the City of London. This report sets out evidence which demonstrates how unsafe local neighbourhoods and the street environment can be for those with sight loss.

Here are the results of the survey concerning road crossing:

⊗ 55% of blind and partially sighted people said their local roads were unsafe: lack or dysfunction of tactile cones or audible signals, street obstacles like car parked in front of a crossing, lack of refugee islands etc.

⊗ 40% of people without sight loss also said their local roads were unsafe. 

⊗ 74% of blind and partially sighted people said that there was a need for more pedestrian crossings in their area. 

⊗ 67% face the inconvenience of having to take longer journeys in order to cross roads at safe pedestrian crossings.

⊗ Around half of local authorities couldn’t even provide information about the accessibility of the crossings they manage.

For existing pedestrian crossings, the main challenges that blind and low-vision people face are the lack of accessible facilities or their dysfunction. 

Other difficulties come from new developments in areas such as floating bus stops which can make it much harder for blind people to get about. Many can’t avoid using these areas, but 40% are either using the area less or avoiding it altogether.

Also removing crossings, kerbs and tactile paving can have a devastating impact. These are essential landmarks in the city to find one’s bearings. Without them, blind and partially sighted people are left on their own in an increasingly crowded and changing city.

Transport for London has issued a 2017 factsheet synthesizing all casualties in Greater London. The document shows that 6,652 pedestrians were involved in an accident, highlighting the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries, in particular those involving heavy and light goods vehicles.

For fear of dangerous hazards, some blind and partially sighted people rather avoid taking certain routes or even stay at home and suffer isolation as a result.

 “In my area we have floating bus stops. This is where they have introduced cycle lanes that continue straight forward even when a bus is at the stop. So the bus pulls in away from the kerb, and you walk across the cycle lane. I don’t know where they got the idea, but they are becoming very popular in London. I find it a nightmare when I’m on my own. I worry I could easily be hit by a cyclist.”

Mohammed’s experience (London – RNIB

This survey highlights four main problems that need to be taken into account by local authorities:

1. Lack of tactile and/or audible signals or lack of maintenance of such devices

2. Lack of zebra crossings and pelican crossings

3. Restrictive new street developments

4. Lack of staff training to provide information about accessible crossings

Crossing solutions and London’s commitments

London Vision Zero

The City of London has undertaken major changes to enhance road safety with the ultimate goal to eliminate all road hazards from London’s transport network by 2030.

 The Vision Zero action plan, launched in July 2018, is a direct answer to meet to reduce danger caused by vehicle journeys.

The plan focuses on four main areas:

⊗ Safe speeds limiting central London to 20mph limit and reducing speed limits at other locations to address areas of high road danger

⊗ Safe streets: more pleasant and safer junctions including wider footways, less street clutter, more accessible crossings, more visibility at junctions etc.

⊗ Safe vehicles: Bus Safety Standard for the city’s entire bus fleet and freight vehicles.

⊗ Safe behaviours: roads policy and enforcement raising standards for all drivers 

London pedestrian crossing urban facilities

The needs of disabled pedestrians like blind and low-vision people should be considered when designing the layout of crossings. If these are well provided then a better crossing will probably result for all users.

Tactile paving 

To ensure the safety of blind and partially sighted people at these sites it is important to provide tactile paving to the recommended layouts in Disability Unit Circular DUl/91.

Ground change is useful for a person using a long roller cane. For example the blister paving (uniform straight rows) used at a pedestrian crossing tells the user when to stop as the kerb is dropping.

In London there is a small amount of tactile paving used as a marker to flag up where the crossing is. It is called a ramped section Then near the road, there is a full lenght of the crossing equipped with blister paving to work out where the crossing is located. 

The ramped section is fitted with red blister surface at controlled crossings only and with yellow blister at uncontrolled crossings. Both use bright contrasting colors to better understand the nature of the crossing to come and are designed for partially sighted people. It may also be of benefit to sighted pedestrians and may emphasise the presence of a crossing to drivers. Recommendations for the design and use of tactile pavement are also detailed in Circular No. DU 1/91

Offset blister paving and lozenge shaped paving can also respectively be found at train and tram stations both indicating the platform edge. Corduroy paving are long strips of raised paving in rows with rounded edges warning of some hazard ahead like stairs. If there is a path that is half foot traffic and half for bicycles, directional stripes tell you which side is which.

Audible and tactile crossing signals

According to TfL, all of London’s pedestrian crossings are accessible, with tactile paving, audible signals and/or rotating cones on the pushbutton units.

At signal-controlled intersections audible signals or bleepers in the form of a pulsed tone and/or tactile signals are normally used during the green figure or “invitation to cross” period.

At staggered crossing, there is a risk that the signal at one crossing may be heard and mistaken for another and so the standard audible signal must not be used. The alternative is the ‘bleep and sweep’ tone. It has been specially designed to be distinctive. The audio level has been lowered down taking into account the ambient level in order to be heard only near the crossing in use.

If audible signals cannot be used for technical or physical reason (low vision and hearing difficulties) or if the crossing is not equipped, then tactile signals should always be provided. Often unknown by the general public, public cones can be of great use in a lot of different situations. They are activated by an electric motor that drives the cone in a rotating motion felt with the touch of the hand. It is usually implanted under the push button box to be protected from bad weather and dirt. These small cones rotate when the steady green figure is shown.

All the above devices, whether audible or tactile, must conform to TR 0141(5) including the requirements for lamp monitoring. Traffic Advisory Leaflet 4/91(11) gives further information.

Regarding audible and tactile crossing signal maintenance, the Mayor of London has declared in 2009 that all devices are checked, as a minimum, annually to ensure they are in good working order. Any defects identified during the inspection is rectified. All signals are equipped with a self-reporting functionality, however it cannot be applied to tactile cones and/or audible pedestrian crossing signals.

Transport for London relies on pedestrians to report any working defects affecting the good use for the devices.

 

More than half of blind and partially sighted English people find their crosswalks unsafe. And yet, the mayor of London says that all pedestrian crossings are accessible. Is it due to a maintenance problem? Behavior on the part of motorists? Or simply the technology used to make crossings accessible?

One certain thing is that the actual system is noisy and there is a real problem in residential areas where it is often shut down at night. Also the tactile cone is tricky to find and people who most need it often cannot find its location.

The Vision Zero program partly aims to answer this problem, but there is still some way to go to allow the 250,000 blind Londoners and thousands of tourists who come every day to enjoy the effervescence of the capital.

You want to make London a safer and more accessible city? Here is all you need to know about accessible pedestrian signals regulation.

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“In my area we have floating bus stops (…) So the bus pulls in away from the kerb, and you walk across the cycle lane. I don’t know where they got the idea, but they are becoming very popular in London. I find it a nightmare when I’m on my own. I worry I could easily be hit by a cyclist.”

writer

Zoe Gervais

Zoe Gervais

Content Manager

stay updated

Get the latest news about accessibility and the Smart City.

other articles for you

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more articles

5 must-have apps for deaf and hard of hearing people in 2020

5 must-have apps for deaf and hard of hearing people in 2020

5 Must-Have Apps for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People in 2020  Technological breakthroughs can do miracles. For the 466 million people worldwide having disabling hearing loss (WHO), smartphones have become an essential tool to facilitate social interaction due to...

NEVER miss the latest news about the Smart City.

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powered by okeenea

The French leading company

on the accessibility market.

For more than 25 years, we have been developing architectural access solutions for buildings and streets. Everyday, we rethink today’s cities to transform them in smart cities accessible to everyone.

By creating solutions ever more tailored to the needs of people with disabilities, we push the limits, constantly improve the urban life and make the cities more enjoyable for the growing majority.