Clear Pathways

Ensure paths and pavements are clear and accessible for all

Clear pathways are an essential component of ensuring that streets, pavements, path‘s (whether in the urban environment or countryside) are kept accessible for disabled people, older people, parents with prams, buggies and small children, etcetera.

Street design and clear pathways are a key responsibility of Local Authorities, who design and maintain all of the non-trunk road network and (equating to 93% of all Scottish roads), walking, wheeling and cycling ways and footpaths.

Following a national shared spaces conference in April 2017, Transport Scotland, Scottish Government and the Department for Transport have collaboratively taken forward a programme of work to engage with stakeholders in order to inform the approach to developing guidance on inclusive design

Part of this work involved commissioning a research piece on Inclusive Design in Town Centres and Busy Street areas. The research was commissioned from WSP Consultants in July 2019 and was required to gather evidence and recommendations on methods and approaches to help deliver inclusive design environments within town centres and busy street areas. The research has established a set of key principles that support the delivery of inclusive engagement and inclusive physical design measures.

This guidance is aimed at street design in town centres and busy streets. These are streets which serve a civic or public service function, such as shopping streets or areas where one or more public service is accessed, and that have a proportionately higher level of vehicle traffic than other areas within the neighbourhood or settlement. Busy streets are also more likely to be serviced by public transport.

Traffic flows have been avoided as a means of determining a busy street area, as what is considered ‘busy’ within a rural environment will differ significantly in terms of vehicle use from an urban environment.  We know that disabled people have difficulties accessing busy streets and this is why the design of streets are so important for accessibility.

The guidance has two main sections. The first part sets out the principles in plain English for members of the public who are interested in street design, but who may not have technical knowledge. The annex sets out details on technical design elements, with links to relevant legislation and other street design guidance. 

Key Actions for 2021 – 2022

In order to fulfil this objective Transport Scotland will:

  • Re-convene our working group to focus on inclusive engagement for street design looking at the high level principles of: why the need for engagement, when engagement needs to commence (concept stage), what do we need to ensure engagement is inclusive, how we engage communities and where engagement takes place.
  • We will continue to work alongside our stakeholder working group which includes representatives from Guide Dogs, RNIB, MACS, SCOTS and Disability Equality Scotland to complete part two of the guidance focussing on physical design.
  • The Guidance on Town Centres and Busy Street Areas will undertake the necessary public consultation together with relevant Impact Assessments.
  • We are continuing to consult with Local Authorities to develop both the secondary legislation required to allow them to enforce the National pavement parking prohibition as well as the Parking Standards Guidance which will underpin the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.  Additionally we will need to consult with the public on some areas contained within secondary legislation and Local Authorities will need around 12 months to undertake an assessment to consider whether they wish to exempt, subject to certain criteria, any areas of pavement from the prohibition.
  • As such, the majority of the secondary legislation is likely to be in place by 2022.  Some aspects however, such as the appeals process for those who wish to appeal a ticket issued for pavement parking, may not be in place until 2023.