Engage • Inspire • Learn

Access for all – designing inclusive spaces

Inclusivity in Infrastructure

Temporary measures introduced through Spaces for People are designed to protect public health and facilitate essential journeys for all groups, including those with additional support and mobility needs.

In support of this, Sustrans are working closely with local authorities to ensure that people with disabilities and other affected groups are considered appropriately throughout every project.

Today, we’re joined by Ali MacDonald, Organisational Lead for Healthy and Active Environments, Public Health Scotland as well as David Hunter, Independent Consultant at Mobility Access Committe Scotland (MACS) to discuss appropriate accessibility provisions across a variety of contexts in temporary infrastructure design.

Temporary ramps provide a quick, simple and cost-effective solution to the mobility needs of those maneuvering a wheelchair, pram or a walker. Market Square, Fraserburgh. Abermedia/Sustrans

Main Considerations

In terms of specific measures, please consider:

  • Many disabled people are more reliant on their cars and taxis than
    others. Appropriate provision must be made for parking, access etc.
  • Safe space for pedestrians should be separate from cyclists.
  • Pavements should be kept free of obstacles/clutter, including roadworks. signs, bins, encroaching vegetation. These can be a particular hazard for visually impaired people and constrain footways for everyone.
  • Any areas separated off to provide extra walking or cycle space must take into account how disabled people can get on or off the pavement; this is especially important at bus stops.
  • Barriers (for example used to delineate a temporary pavement from a traffic lane) should be detectable by a blind person using a long cane.
  • Attention should be given to making sure enforcement (for example of traffic speed, parking/cycling on pavements) is effective.

Further guidance on how to design inclusive walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure in response to Covid-19 can be found here.

Questions Answered

  • How do we ensure that projects meet the needs of everyone?
  • How can we effectively consider the needs of disabled people without deepening existing health inequalities?
  • What are the accessibility considerations around removing things from the streetscape to create more space?

Note: the examples shown are in no way prescriptive and are for information only. Where specific products are shown in this document, this does not constitute Sustrans’ endorsement of that product.

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Global temporary infrastructure

Countries all over the world have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with creative and effective temporary infrastructure solutions to help protect public health.

What has happened around the world?

From Bogota to Milan, and Winnipeg to Brighton; all around the world, countries have responded to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic through the installation of temporary infrastructure measures in order to promote effective physical distancing and protect public health.

Temporary cycle lanes were installed across Berlin to make it easier for cyclists to complete essential journeys.

In Paris, ‘Corona Cycleways’ link up the city for active travel in order to help facilitate safer travel while also safeguarding against severe congestion as people become more wary use public transport.

Aukland, meanwhile, has removed parking spaces in order to extend the footways of busy streets, utilising basic materials such as planter boxes and colourful paint.

Regardless of geographical location and the measures being adopted, however, once thing is clear – people everywhere are reevaluating how we use shared spaces and the ways we move within them.

How can we learn from this?

In this knowledge sharing session, Infrastructure Officers for Sustrans Sam Valentine, Daniel Jeffs and Poppea Daniel discuss the transformative temporary infrastructure changes taking place outside of Scotland in a bid to inspire Scottish local authorities implementing their own.

Across the various case studies presented, three types of temporary measures are discussed:

  1. Pavement widening
  2. Temporary Cycle lanes
  3. Open Streets

To learn more about what is happening elsewhere in the world to promote safe walking and cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic, click here.

Note: the examples shown are in no way prescriptive and are for information only. Where specific products are shown in this document, this does not constitute Sustrans’ endorsement of that product. This webinar was recorded early June, and was up to date at the time of recording.

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Re-imagining public spaces after Covid-19

How public spaces will operate as lockdown restrictions are eased is key. Here, we look at how we can make the most of public spaces to safeguard community health going forward.

Thinking for the Future

As lockdown restrictions are further eased throughout Scotland, we can begin to look beyond the simple but nonetheless effective space reallocation measures that have already been implemented by local authorities, and instead consider how we can re-imagine the design of our public spaces so as to be more conducive with public health.

In this knowledge sharing session, Infrastructure Officer for Sustrans Dan Jeffs provides a comprehensive oversight of how reallocated spaces in towns and cities can be re-imagined through simple, affordable and inspiring measures.

Practical design installations can be not only visually appealing but also serve as positive reinforcements of where space is prioritised in the street. Essex, London (Avenue of Art Initiative)

The Case for Change

In all likelihood, there will be an extended period of time within which physical distancing guidelines are prescribed by UK government. This, however, needs to be compatible with people’s legitimate needs to move around in order for society to function.

Ensuring people are able to safely access their places of work, receive essential healthcare, exercise in parks, shop for groceries, and get their children to school are all crucial components of how we design temporary infrastructure and utilise space going forward.

In addition to this, and in a broader more holistic sense, how we move around our local areas has a big impact on our wellbeing. Walking, cycling or wheeling in fresh air is not only positive for physical health, but also helps people feel connected in times of increased isolation.

As such, adapting infrastructure to be more visually appealing and meaningful to communities is also an invaluable untaking.

“Streets need to be adapted to play a broader role in people’s general wellbeing, by offering a social, cultural and community experience”

Dan Jeffs, Infrastructure Officer, Sustrans
Art and infrastructure design can complement one another in a multitude of ways in order to effect positive behaviour change in our streets. London (Better Bankside)

How this can help

  • Making spaces function better – to assist physical distancing
  • Helping to moderate driver – safeguarding cyclists and pedestrian using reallocated carriageway space
  • Creating multi-sensory environments – to support people’s well-being by creating pleasant and attractive spaces for people to socialise and feel connected
  • Designs for everyone – to appeal to a broader range of user groups, defined by age, ability and purpose
  • Encouraging people to be/stay active – whether through walking, cycling, wheeling or playing
  • Building cultural/community connections – to communicate a shared sense of place and community 
  • Giving people a greater sense of ownership – likely to reduce upkeep and maintenance
  • Set out an exciting vision – to be inspired and inspire others
  • Gauging public response – to assess the climate for broader range of permanent interventions
  • Re-invigorating high streets and commercial areas – to safely allow people to shop, rest and socialise within these spaces

Note: the examples shown are in no way prescriptive and are for information only. Where specific products are shown in this document, this does not constitute Sustrans’ endorsement of that product.

Engage • Inspire • Learn SfP

Sustrans’ Spaces for People offer

Sustrans officers provide an overview of the support package available to partners through Spaces for People, from newly published design guidance to quick wins using Commonplace.

What we can do

Continuing with our online discussion and workshops sessions, this week Principal Engineer with Sustrans Paul Cronin guides you through the support we are able to offer local authorities and statutory bodies in relation to the Spaces for People programme.

As a quick overview, below are the key areas we are able to assist with:

  • Identification of network planning and engagement priorities
  • Design of concept and detailed general arrangements
  • Procurement and contract management to support implementation
  • Communication feedback and the interpretation of monitoring data

Different Sustrans officers delve into the specifics of what this support looks like. A brief summary of this is provided below.

Design guidance

Over the past few months, Sustrans have been working in collaboration with engineering and design consultancy Atkins in order to provide our partners with a comprehensive roadmap of temporary infrastructure designs that will support public health through Covid-19.

Sustrans Senior Urban Designer René Lindsay talks through the guidance as it relates to walking and wheeling, cycling routes, traffic management and signage options.

This graphic illustrates how different temporary interventions vary in suitability depending on their implementation period. Atkins.

You can keep up to date with the latest published guidance on our dedicated Design Guidance Showcase page.

Network planning and mapping in Edinburgh

Infrastructure Coordinators for Sustrans Alasdair Anderson and Angus Calder provide key insights into the provisions City of Edinburgh Council have set forward as part of their Spaces for People programme.

This focusses on improvements designed to enhanced the city’s existing bus network, providing physically distanced access to shopping streets and essential services, as well a widespread modal shift towards active travel through improved segregation on arterial routes.

To assist with this, Sustrans have mapped pavements widths throughout the city using ArcGIS and Python software in order to help determine the most effective locations for temporary interventions to be implemented.

“Edinburgh have taken a genuinely really ambitious, city-wide, strategic approach”.

Angus Calder, Infrastrucutre Coordinator, Sustrans

Commonplace tips

A number of local authorities are using Commonplace for their Spaces for People projects in order to gather public feedback on proposed interventions as well as encourage participation in designs.

East Renfrewshire Council received support from Sustrans in utilising Commonplace to maximise public participation in the design of temporary interventions.

Using the East Renfrewshire Commonplace as a case study, Community Engagement Officer for Sustrans Tremaine Bilham demonstrates how best to secure quick wins and maximise the opportunities available when using the engagement tool.

Union Street, Dundee

Using the plans to close Union Street in Dundee to traffic as an example, Infrastructure Officer for Sustrans Injoanna Lai outlines the potential temporary interventions that could be put in place in similar layouts to support public health and active travel.

Union Street in Dundee is set to be closed to traffic in order to allow greater physical distancing for pedestrians and cyclists. Paul Reid/Sustrans.

Research and monitoring support

Martin Laban, Evaluation Manager with our Research and Monitoring Unit (RMU), provides an overview of the types project monitoring support Sustrans are able to offer partners, and the data collection strategies employed therein.

In particular, take a look at how our Space to Move platform has provided a rich and live dataset on the temporary measures being implemented throughout the UK so far and how the public has responded to this.

Questions answered

  • What support is Sustrans able to offer local authorities through its Spaces for People programme?
  • What does our design guidance say? How can our design guidance help partners implement the most effective temporary interventions?
  • How can local authorities make the best use of Commonplace?
  • What support can our Research and Monitoring Unit offer.

Stay Updated

New knowledge sharing sessions such as this one will be published on our Showcase website each week.

Learn more about the Spaces for People programme on our dedicated Showcase page.

Why not keep up to date with the latest Spaces for People programme developments by signing up to our Spaces for People newsletter?

Note: the examples shown are in no way prescriptive and are for information only. Where specific products are shown in this document, this does not constitute Sustrans’ endorsement of that product.

Engage • Inspire • Learn SfP

Edinburgh’s response to Covid-19

Phil Noble and Chris McGarvey from City of Edinburgh Council discuss creating temporary infrastructure in response to Covid-19.

Knowledge Sharing

As part of the roll-out of our new temporary infrastructure programme, Spaces for People, Sustrans Scotland is hosting a series of online discussions and workshops in collaboration with local authorities.

These sessions will share best tips and guidance on how local authorities can respond to Covid-19 effectively through facilitating safe and accessible active travel routes for life after lockdown.

Spaces for People offers funding and support to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel for essential trips and exercise during Covid-19. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Sustrans Scotland.

Silverknowes Road in Edinburgh was one of the first road closures to be made in Scotland in response to Covid-19 in order to allow space for people to exercise safely. Colin Hattersley/Sustrans

Thinking on your feet

As lockdown restrictions ease, maintaining physical distancing will need to address a greater number of permitted activities.

In our first session, Phil Noble and Chris McGarvey from City of Edinburgh Council discuss their approach to these tackling these issues and on how they are providing temporary infrastructure in response to Covid-19.

“We’re looking at a city wide programme which will be trying to give people greater choice, particularly to cycle”.

Phil Noble, Active Travel Team Leader, City of Edinburgh Council
A once busy throughfare in the heart of Edinburgh, Waverley Bridge is now almost entirely empty. Streets such as this one are set to undergo changes in order to promote physical distancing. Neil Hanna/Sustrans

City of Edinburgh Council applied for Spaces for People funding shortly after the programme was announced.

In total, they have received £5 million for temporary infrastructure projects.

“There hasn’t been a decision to implement this beyond the emergency, but I think we can learn a lot of lessons from the things that we do. It might even help change people’s opinions, they might really enjoy wider footways and the benefits that cycle lanes provide”.

Chris McGarvey, Senior Transport Team Leader, City of Edinburgh Council

With work well underway in various parts of Edinburgh, it is hoped that the proposals will make the essential journeys of key workers easier and safer over the coming months.

Questions answered

  • How are City of Edinburgh Council prioritising which streets/neighbourhoods should be addressed?
  • How do City of Edinburgh Council plan to implement temporary changes in an agile and quick way, and what have they learnt so far from those they’ve implemented to date?
  • What temporary measures are they considering and why?

Stay Updated

More knowledge sharing discussions such as this one will be posted in the weeks to come.

Learn more about the Spaces for People programme on our dedicated Showcase page.

Why not keep up to date with the latest Spaces for People programme developments by signing up to our Spaces for People newsletter?