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Disposition and execution of stairs, ramps and paths of stairs (VSS2003/203)

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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 sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Stairs, ramps and paths of stairs are important elements of nets for pedestrian and cycle traffic. The existing bases of the Swiss standards originate from the 60‘s-years. Aspects of planning and design are completely missing. It is therefore urgent to revise and complete the principles for the disposition and execution of stairs, ramps and paths of stairs.

The new bases are not only to be formulated for pedestrian, but also for cycle traffic, for handicapped people and for other human powered vehicles. The aspect of spatial arrangement and design are to be considered. The requirements concerning traffic security and the security in public areas have to be formulated. The bases and principles are to be corresponding with other standards.


The project is aimed to update the principles for planning, project and execution of stairs, ramps and paths of stairs as basis to revise and complete the appropriate standard of the Swiss Association of Road and Transportation Experts.


Following steps will be done during the project:

  • Literature research and evaluation
  • Collection and evaluation of examples
  • Work planning, execution and Projection-Basics


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


Design principles and recommendations for choice of facility

The design of stairways, ramps and stepped ramps is subject to the following principles:

• Stairways, ramps and stepped ramps should be designed so as to guarantee free access for all potential traffic participants.

• Solutions with only stairways and stepped ramps (i.e. without a continuous ramp) should be limited to situations where spatial, technical or financial constraints preclude the additional provision of a ramp. In such cases, a (stair) lift or alternative route entailing the smallest possible detour should be incorporated into the solution.

• The design should be based on a balanced assessment of both functional and aesthetic criteria. Apart from fulfilling a purely functional role, the facilities also shape the visual impact and amenity of the public realm. 

The selection of facilities to overcome changes in level in the pedestrian or cycle network should be governed by the following principles:

• As a rule, ramps should be used to overcome changes in level between different parts of a facility or an integral location.

• Ramps with a gradient ≤ 6% can be readily negotiated by all user groups.

• Where the construction of a ramp is not feasible, an alternative route entailing the smallest possible detour should be provided for persons with walking disabilities. 

• Solutions entailing long ramps should be supplemented by a stairway (short-cut).

• Straight stairways and stepped ramps offer the safest solution for persons with poor vision or walking disabilities.

• Where straight configurations cannot be accommodated, turning stairways or stepped ramps with a maximum possible radius may be provided.

• Spiral stairways should only be specified in conjunction with public footpaths under exceptional circumstances.    

Other results

The search result should contribute to the establishment of the standard on the use of road data for car navigation road maintenance.The research results are used for ASTRA and cantons as a preliminary analysis for the realization of a GDF- STRADA interface.



Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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