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Accessibility of traffic area for persons with disabilities (VSS2008/201)

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

With the Disability Discrimination Act, there is a commitment by all builders to ensure access and safety of persons with disabilities in public buildings and installations. Most cantonal laws and regulations today refer to the requirements of the SN 521500 "Buildings for the disabled". This standard from 1988 is actually in revision and the future SIA 500 will only concern building construction. Therefore the requirements for road area regulated in the SN 521500 and supplemented by the knowledge gained since 1988, are now to be integrated into the standards work of the VSS.


The project has following objectives:

  • To prepare concept, which standards of VSS have to be adapted and with which new standards the standards work of the VSS have to be complemented in order to integrate the requirements for an accessible traffic area in the standards work.
  • To identify a basis for standardization:
  • To define criteria, weighting and approach to the evaluation of conflicting user demands to the traffic area.
  • To create draft of the contents of amendments to existing standards and of new standards.

Following steps will be done during the project:

1. Literature survey

To determine the requirements, which for people with disabilities must be met in the transport area, so that access and security for all is assured, as well as various foundations of the existing literature and current standards of VSS are analyzed and evaluated. Assuming proposals are developed to close gaps in the body of standards and integrate the aspects of disabled people in the construction of standards of VSS. The literature review also forms the basis for the elaboration of the content of supplements or newly created standards.

 2 To provide expert discussions:

The discussion with experts and with the relevant expert committees of VSS is to take place at an early stage in the project so that contradictions with existing rules clarified, drafts proposals for adjustments, criteria and weightings for the assessment of different land use requirements can be formulated to the traffic area.



Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss Government: State Secretariat for Education and Research
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)



Initial situation

According to the ‚Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz BehiG’ access and safety for people with disabilities have to be ensured in all public buildings and facilities. So far the subsequent demands on the traffic area have been specified in the standard SN 521 500, which has been replaced by the standard SIA 500 in 2009. However this standard only deals with the building construction and therefore there is a standardization gap for the traffic area. Although the guideline “streets, pathways, squares” of the ‚Schweizerischen Fachstelle für behindertengerechtes Bauen’ fills this gap, it doesn’t have the significance of a standard. Therefore an inclusion of this subject in the VSS standards is required.

Objective and purpose of this work

The objective of this paper is to work out a concept that shows which standards of the VSS have to be adapted and with which new standard the set of standards has to be supplemented to integrate the demands on an obstacle free traffic area into the VSS standards. Furthermore the research report serves as a detailed reference work concerning „Obstacle free traffic areas“ and presents the current state of research on the following topics. This work focuses on compiling the demands of disabled people on an obstacle free traffic area. Of course contradictions between the requirements of disabled people and other uses are possible. However they can’t be clarified generally within the scope of this work, but have to be solved project-related considering the principle of proportionality corresponding to the BehiG.

Planning and fundamentals

Restrictions in the cognition and estimation of the traffic flow, in the ability to respond and the agility of people with disabilities have to be considered in all planning phases. According to the disability there are mobility limitations of traffic participants based on the different characteristics and aids they use and the resulting effects on their mobility behaviour. It is necessary to distinguish between walking disabilities and inability to walk, visual impairment and blindness, hearing impairment and deafness, mental or psychic restraints as well as disabilities due to transports of children, goods, luggage and other things. According to the BehiG pedestrian networks have to be planned and designed continuous and unobstructed, whereby the safety as well as the access and usability is ensur

Technical Implications

The final report serves as an extensive reference work about the topic “obstacle free traffic space”, which compiles the current state of research. The report covers the demands of people with disabilities for the planning, the project development and the implementation of projects. According to the objective of the project the results of the research should serve for the adaptation and completion of the VSS set of standards, in order to make them available as soon as possible for the everyday planning work.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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