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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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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.