6 Accessibility Audit System

6 Accessibility Audit System

6.1 Introduction

6.1.1 Implementation and Background

All trunk road works (including land use development proposals impacting upon the trunk road) are to be subject to an Accessibility Audit. The Good Practice Guide sets out Transport Scotland's requirements for inclusive design and this Accessibility Audit System will ensure that designs are as inclusive as possible and that the designers' obligations under the Equality Act (2010) are met.

Accessibility Audit is separate from Road Safety Audit and Cycle Audit, detailed in HD19/03 (DMRB 5.2.2) and 'Cycling by Design' respectively. Whilst Accessibility Audits may make reference to safety issues, it forms only part of a larger audit process to raise the standard of design.

It shall be the responsibility of the Design Team to make design decisions on the basis of these three different sources of information. This will ensure that safety, cyclist and accessibility issues are balanced within the project.

It should be remembered that disabled people have a wide range of needs that can sometimes conflict. For the purposes of this Guide, the accessibility audit should be carried out with the needs of the following vulnerable users in mind:

  • Disabled people with a range of impairments, both temporary and permanent;
  • People with young children;
  • People carrying heavy shopping;
  • Older people;
  • Children

Checklists are provided in the following sections with prompts for the issues affecting different user groups.

6.1.2 Accessibility Audit Objectives

The objectives of Accessibility Audit are as follows:

  • To ensure that disabled people are involved in the decision making process of all schemes;
  • To make the trunk road network safer and more accessible for all users by the avoidance of barriers to movement along and across trunk roads;
  • To ensure that the current and future needs of disabled users within a scheme are recognised and developed;
  • To ensure that the infrastructure provided is in accordance with current good practice;
  • To ensure that there are no elements of infrastructure within a scheme that will endanger or unnecessarily impede disabled users.

The Accessibility Audit is a means of checking design decisions in a formal and consistent manner throughout the design process. The extent of work required to carry out the Accessibility Audit will depend on the scale, type and complexity of the scheme.

6.1.3 Which Schemes To Audit

All capital investment schemes that impact upon trunk road infrastructure shall be subject to Accessibility Audit. These include:

  • All major and minor improvements;
  • Traffic management schemes;
  • Traffic calming schemes;
  • Structural maintenance schemes;
  • Developments impacting upon the trunk road;
  • Re-determination schemes.

6.2 Accessibility Audit Structure

6.2.1 Structure

The Accessibility Audit System is structured in four parts:

  • Objectives Setting and Context Report;
  • Preliminary Design Audit (Stage 1 Accessibility Audit);
  • Detailed Design Audit (Stage 2 Accessibility Audit);
  • Post-Construction Audit (Stage 3 Accessibility Audit).

Details of the methodology and approvals process for each of these parts are given in Sections 6.4 to 6.6. Programming of these within the overall design process is shown in Figure 39. An overview of each part of the process is as follows:

6.2.2 Objectives Setting and Context Report

The Objectives Setting stage identifies considerations towards accessible infrastructure as part of the scheme. The Objectives Setting stage shall be completed before the commencement of the design process.

The output from this stage shall be a Context Report. The Context Report shall contain a list of accessibility specific Design Objectives for the scheme. These Objectives shall be set to meet the specific local needs of present and future users of the scheme. The Objectives shall be referred to by designers when making decisions throughout the design process.

The scheme will be audited against the Design Objectives during the audit process.

6.2.3 Preliminary and Detailed Design Audit (Stage 1 & 2 Accessibility Audits)

Audits shall be undertaken towards the end of both the preliminary and detailed design stages. The outputs from the Preliminary and Detailed Design audits shall be Stage 1 and Stage 2 Accessibility Audit Reports respectively.

The purpose of the Accessibility Audit is to verify that the design:

  • Meets with the objectives identified in the Audit Context Report;
  • Complies with the good practice standards identified elsewhere in the Good Practice Guide.

Where objectives or standards have not been met, the Audit Report shall detail actions demonstrating how they will be achieved. Where an objective or standard cannot be met due to insurmountable constraints the Audit Report shall document the reasons.

As stated in the introduction, it should be remembered during audit stages that in order to take full account of the needs of disabled people, the Equality Act (2010) allows more favourable treatment of disabled people.

At preliminary design Accessibility Audit stage, these actions shall be carried forward to the detailed design for inclusion. At the detailed design Accessibility Audit stage, actions shall be incorporated in the final design drawings issued for tender.

6.2.4 Post-Construction Audit (Stage 3 Accessibility Audit)

The Post-Construction Accessibility Audit shall be undertaken when the scheme is substantially complete and prior to opening for public use. The output from the Post-Construction Audit shall be the Stage 3 Post-Construction Audit Report.

The purpose of the Post-Construction Audit is to:

  • Verify that the built scheme meets with the scheme objectives;
  • Identify any additional measures which would contribute to safe; comfortable and efficient passage of disabled people through the scheme;
  • Ensure that no barriers to accessibility have been inadvertently introduced by the project.

The Construction Audit Report shall detail actions demonstrating how they will achieve Design Objectives or contribute to the safe, comfortable and efficient passage of disabled people. In the latter case, these may be due to issues that may not have been apparent or foreseeable at the design stage.

If deemed appropriate by the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor, these actions may be instructed for implementation during the defects correction period of the contract.

Figure 39: Accessibility Audit in wider design process

Figure 39 Accessibility Audit in wider design process

6.3 Roles and Responsibilities

6.3.1 Transport Scotland Project Sponsor

The Transport Scotland Project Sponsor is the person within Transport Scotland responsible for ensuring the progression of a scheme design in accordance with Transport Scotland's policies and procedures.

The responsibilities of the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor are to:

  • Specify the terms of reference of the Accessibility Audit and define when in the design process Accessibility Audits will be required;
  • Provide the Design Team Leader with all pertinent background information in relation to the scheme context and objective setting. (e.g. Equality Impact Assessments, Tests of Reasonableness results, previous STAG assessment reports, traffic counts, accident statistics etc.);
  • Approve the Design Team Accessibility Auditor proposed by the Design Team Leader;
  • Review the final copy of the Accessibility Audit reports from the Design Team;
  • Authorise any deviation from good practice where the Accessibility Audit identifies that standards or objectives cannot be met due to insurmountable constraints;
  • Approve Audit Reports and issue instruction to proceed to the next stage of design;
  • Consider and instruct any additional works identified in the post-construction audit.

6.3.2 Design Team Leader

The Design Team Leader is the person within the Design Team responsible for managing the scheme design.

The responsibilities of the Design Team Leader are to:

  • Propose a Design Team Accessibility Auditor to the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor;
  • Formally appoint the Design Team Accessibility Auditor following Transport Scotland approval;
  • Ensure that the Objective Setting and Accessibility Audit stages are included within the design programme;
  • Ensure that the Audit Context Report is understood by all design team members and that its objectives are recognised during development of the design;
  • Check and approve Accessibility Audit Reports and submit to the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor;
  • Liaise with the Transport Scotland Sponsor and seek approval for the Audit Reports;
  • Ensure that the agreed actions within the Audit Reports are incorporated within the design;
  • Consider all options and make an informed design decision should any conflicts arise from the accessibility, safety and cycle audits.

6.3.3 Design Team Accessibility Auditor

The Design Team Accessibility Auditor is the person within the Design Team responsible for undertaking the Accessibility Audit process in accordance with the procedures detailed in this Guide.

The Design Team Accessibility Auditor must have experience of (i) designing for the needs of disabled people and (ii) the effects of design proposals on all users. It is important that the Accessibility Auditor is aware of the impact of the physical features of an environment on people with different disabilities and that the audit is conducted with a balanced viewpoint, recognising that conflicts will often arise between the needs of different types of disabilities. The auditor may also be the Design Team Access Champion. The role of the Access Champion is detailed further in Section 3.3 of this Guide.

The Design Team Leader must propose the Design Team Accessibility Auditor to the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor for approval, detailing qualifications and experience relevant to the role. The Design Team Accessibility Auditor and the Design Team Leader can be the same person.

The core competencies required of the Design Team Accessibility Auditor are:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the principles of inclusive design;
  • Experience of working with groups of disabled people;
  • Knowledge and understanding of current good practice standards and equality legislation;
  • Experience of applying good practice standards in design and carrying out accessibility audits of road schemes.

The responsibilities of the Design Team Accessibility Auditor are:

  • To collate, analyse and understand background data, including consultation with representative local groups, on the needs of all users affected by the scheme proposals;
  • To agree the Design Objectives through preparation of the Audit Context Report;
  • At the points during the design process agreed with the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor, audit the design against the Design Objectives and good practice design;
  • Produce Accessibility Audit reports detailing the finding of the audits and actions for inclusion in the design;
  • Advise members of the design team on accessibility related matters during the design process, with specific reference to the Design Objectives and data defined in the Context Report.

6.4 Objectives Setting Stage and Context Report

6.4.1 Background

The Objectives Setting stage shall identify requirements to meet all users' needs as part of the scheme design (or development impacting upon the trunk road). These requirements shall be formalised through the development of Design Objectives. The Objectives and the background information to support them shall be summarised in a Context Report.

The Context Report shall be used by the design team as a reference document during design. The Design Team Accessibility Auditor shall audit the design against the Design Objectives within the Context Report and the Good Practice Guide.

6.4.2 Procedure

The Objectives Setting stage and preparation of the Context Report shall be undertaken by the Design Team Accessibility Auditor.

The first task in the Objective Setting stage is the collection of pertinent data to properly assess the needs of current and potential users that may be affected by the scheme. Where previous work has been undertaken or data gathered, this shall be supplied to the Design Team Leader by the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor.

Data that should be considered will include traffic flows, accident statistics and current and future trip generators and attractors. In addition to this factual data, a review of policy at a local, regional and national level which has an impact on the scheme should be considered.

The views of stakeholders must be sought, including representative user groups. In completing an Accessibility Audit it is important that all relevant disability groups, including local Access Panels, are contacted and involved in the Audit process from the outset. The Context Report should set out a process for identifying all relevant disability groups and a procedure for the continued involved of these groups throughout the audit process.

Using this information to identify potential problems for users, the Design Team Accessibility Auditor shall formulate a series of objectives for the scheme. It is important to note that the objectives should be focused towards overcoming the problems and not delivering a particular solution. It is the responsibility of the design team to determine what the most appropriate solution may be, in the context of the wider design constraints.

Earlier work may include a Test of Reasonableness assessment, and an Equality Impact Assessment, STAG appraisal or environmental assessment. In certain cases, these documents may already include high level scheme objectives. However, the purpose of the Accessibility Audit Objective Setting Stage is to refine any previous work into specific design objectives, to ensure that the objectives cover the specific day-to-day needs of all users of the scheme. The objectives within the context report should be focused on the detail of the scheme.

A list of prompts and key issues for consideration in the Objective Setting process is shown in Table 2. This list should not be considered as exhaustive and the Audit should also consider any other local factors, which may have an impact on the scheme.

A proposal map showing the existing and proposed facilities in the area influenced by the scheme is a useful means of summarising the data in the Accessibility Audit Context Report. This can provide a useful at-a-glance summary of the issues which may assist in ensuring the objectives are properly addressed.

6.4.3 Outputs and Approvals

The completed Context Report shall be checked by the Design Team Leader. Once the Design Team Leader is content that the Objective Setting Process and Context Reporting have been completed satisfactorily, he or she shall countersign the report and forward to the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor for approval.

Thereafter, the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor will coordinate any amendments to the Context Report or project deemed necessary to comply with the policies or procedures of Transport Scotland.

The project should not normally progress to preliminary design until such time as the Context Report has been prepared and approved. The final approved Accessibility Audit Context Report shall be made available to the Design Team as a reference document for design by the Design Team Leader.

Table 2: Accessibility audit context report prompts and considerations

Context report prompts and considerations

Project Information

Project Title

Route

Accessibility Auditor

TS Route Manager and/or Project Sponsor

Design Organisation

Local Authority

Developer

Scheme Description

General scheme description

Stakeholder Involvement

Access Panels

Schools

Community Groups

Local Authority

Public Transport Operators

Project Objectives

Description of wider project objectives

Existing Site Characteristics

Topography

Traffic flows

Crossing widths

Navigability and orientation

Distance between trip attractors and generators

Directness of routes

Lighting and tonal contrast

Street furniture location

Patterns of servicing

Footway surface quality

Trip Generators / Attractors

Residential areas

Employment areas

Retail areas

Education facilities

GP surgeries & hospitals

Sports & leisure

Community centres

Opportunities

Rationalisation of street furniture/signage

Reduction in crossing widths

Reduction in distances travelled

Reduction in requirement to ascend/descend gradients

Incorporation of controlled crossing facilities

Segregation of pedestrians from vehicles

Constraints

Steep gradients

Wide carriageway crossings

Limited width/pinch points

High vehicle flows and/or high vehicle speeds

Sharing of space with other users (e.g. cyclists)

Wide open spaces with little orientation/waymarking

Output

The context report should include:

Details of the existing and proposed facilities

Details of key trip generators, attractors and desire lines

Summary of user and stakeholder needs

Summary of constraints and opportunities within the study area

Design objectives to be audited against

 

6.5 Stage 1 & 2 Preliminary and Detailed Design Accessibility Audits

6.5.1 Background

Formal Accessibility Audits shall be undertaken at agreed stages in the design process. Most projects will require Accessibility Audits close to the completion of the Preliminary and Detailed design stages respectively. For smaller projects, the two stages may be combined and there may be just one audit. The Transport Scotland Project Sponsor shall define the stages at which audits will be required.

The purpose of the Accessibility Audits is to verify that the design meets with the scheme objectives and good practice defined within the Good Practice Guide. The Context Report shall be referred to when undertaking and reporting on the audit.

6.5.2 Procedure

The Preliminary (Stage 1) and Detailed Design (Stage 2) Accessibility Audits shall be undertaken by the Design Team Accessibility Auditor.

The Design Team Accessibility Auditor shall be issued with a set of scheme drawings by the Design Team Leader. The drawings should reflect the final Preliminary or Detailed design as closely as possible and should be issued towards the end of the design process.

The Design Team Accessibility Auditor should visit the site as part of the Accessibility Audit. During the Accessibility Audit, the Design Team Accessibility Auditor is required to audit the scheme using a design principle based approach. This should ensure that the needs of all disabled people are assessed and balanced. A list of prompts and key issues for consideration in relation to each different design principle is shown in Table 3. This list should not be considered as exhaustive and the Audit shall consider any local factors, including issues raised by local Access Panels, which may have an impact on the scheme.

The audit shall be undertaken taking account of the scheme objectives defined in the Context Report. At the Detailed Design Accessibility Audit, the Audit shall also review the design against the actions defined at the Preliminary Design Accessibility Audit.

6.5.3 Output and Approvals

Each Accessibility Audit undertaken shall be documented in an Accessibility Audit Report.

The Accessibility Audit Report shall:

  • Summarise the background of the project and the findings of the Context Report;
  • Summarise the items raised at the Preliminary Design Accessibility Audit (Detailed Design Accessibility Audits only);
  • List the scheme objectives and make comment on how adequately they have been addressed;
  • List issues with the current design in terms of meeting objectives and good practice and detail actions to address them.

The completed Audit Report shall be checked by the Design Team Leader. Once the Design Team Leader is content that the Audit has been completed satisfactorily, he or she shall countersign the report and forward to the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor for approval.

Thereafter, the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor will coordinate any amendments to the Audit Report or project deemed necessary to comply with the policies or procedures of Transport Scotland.

The project should not normally progress to the next design stage until such time as the Audit Report has been approved.

The findings of the Accessibility Audit shall be communicated to the Design Team to allow changes to be made to the design as appropriate.

Table 3: Stage 1 and 2 accessibility audit prompts and considerations

Stage 1 and Stage 2 prompts and considerations

General Information

Project Information

Project Title

Route

Accessibility Auditor

TS Route Manager and/or Project Sponsor

Design Organisation

Local Authority

Developer

Scheme Description

General scheme description

Stakeholder Involvement

Access Panels

Schools

Community Groups

Local Authority

Public Transport Operators

Project Objectives

Assessment of design against the project objectives

Have representations of user groups being taken into consideration in the design?

Design Features

Orientation

Obvious, clear, logical layout

Grid pattern design preferred

Straight paths where possible

Centre lines clear of obstructions

Definition of road/footway consistently clear

Definition of public/private areas

Visual markers/landmarks

Signage

  • contrast
  • sign position not causing an obstruction
  • use of symbols
  • use of colour

Visual clues at crossings

Visibility

Optimise horizontal and vertical displacement balance

Provide choice of route (steps and ramp options)

Provision of parking close to trip generators/attractors

Sufficient number of accessible parking bays

Layout of accessible parking bays

Unobstructed access to/from accessible parking bays

Wheelchair turning circles considered in design

Adequate width of footway

Obstructions:

  • Temporary (parking/servicing etc)
  • Permanent (sign poles, lighting columns etc)

Avoiding Hazards

Permanent overhangs - signs, furniture etc

Street furniture:

  • positioning
  • grouping together
  • are all items necessary?

Tonal contrast

Lighting:

  • lux levels
  • positioning/coverage
  • colour rendering

Non-visual clues:

  • tactile paving
  • audible warnings

Sufficient footway width:

  • static elements (signs etc)
  • dynamic elements (density of use etc)

Shared surfaces:

  • cyclists
  • vehicles

Crossing facilities suitable:

  • controlled crossings
  • audible signals and tactile cones

Potential temporary hazards:

  • parking on footway
  • cycle parking
  • servicing/refuge facilities
  • vehicle overhang on footway
  • pavement cafés/A-boards
  • maintenance hazards (e.g. planting/foliage overhangs etc)

Gradient / Crossfall

Compliant with Good Practice Guide

Crossing Points

On desire lines

Gradients on approach

Dropped kerbs

Crossing time:

  • minimising road width
  • green time provision

Refuge island:

  • width of island
  • distances between guardrails

Surface quality of road

Gully positioning

Drainage

Lighting

Surface Quality

Drainage

Slip resistance

Manholes/gullies/trip hazards

Maintainability

Pot holes

Overgrowth

Tree root growth

Grass/weeds

Facilities

Bus stops:

  • close to trip generators/attractors
  • clear of parking
  • pedestrian circulatory area clear
  • seating
  • suitable boarding/alighting arrangements

 

6.6 Stage 3 Post-Construction Accessibility Audit

6.6.1 Background

The purpose of the Stage 3 Post-Construction Accessibility Audit is to verify that the built scheme meets with the scheme objectives and has not inadvertently introduced barriers to access. It also aims to identify any additional measures not included within the design which would contribute to safe and efficient passage of all users through the scheme. The Context Report and the reports from the Design Accessibility Audits shall be referred to when undertaking and reporting on the audit.

The Stage 3 Post-Construction Accessibility Audit requires a visit to the site and must be undertaken as the works near completion or are being prepared for opening to the public.

6.6.2 Procedure

The Stage 3 Post-Construction Accessibility Audit shall be undertaken by the Design Team Accessibility Auditor.

The Design Team Accessibility Auditor shall be issued with a set of as built drawings by the Design Team Leader prior to the commencement of the audit.

The Design Team Accessibility Auditor should visit the site as part of the Accessibility Audit. The scheme shall be viewed during both daylight and hours of darkness. The Accessibility Auditor should review in person all aspects of the scheme during the audit. Volunteer representatives of a local Access Panel, other disability groups or the relevant local authority Access Officer, are to be invited to attend the Accessibility Audit.

During the Accessibility Audit, the Design Team Accessibility Auditor is required to audit the scheme on a design principle based approach. A list of prompts and key issues for consideration in relation to each different design principle is shown in Table 4. This list should not be considered as exhaustive and the Audit shall consider any local factors, including issues raised by local Access Panels, which may have an impact on the scheme.

The audit shall be undertaken with reference to the scheme objectives defined in the Context Report. The audit shall also review the design against the actions defined at the Detailed Design Accessibility Audit.

Table 4: Stage 3 accessibility audit prompts and considerations

Stage 3 prompts and considerations

Project Information

Project Title

Route

Accessibility Auditor

TS Route Manager and/or Project Sponsor

Design Organisation

Local Authority

Developer

Scheme Description

Outline of proposed scheme

Stakeholder Involvement

Access Panels

Schools

Community Groups

Local Authority

Public Transport Operators

Project Objectives

Assessment of design against the project objectives
Have representations of user groups being taken into consideration in the design?

Design

Have there been deviations from design?

  • implications
  • remedial measures

Has the surrounding environment changed?

  • generators/attractors (new developments etc)
  • desire lines
  • traffic patterns

Build quality

Observation of users:

  • general circulation of people and vehicles
  • bus boarding/alighting
  • crossing use
  • desire lines
  • parking use/abuse
  • conflicts

Unanticipated consequences:

  • A-boards
  • pavement cafés
  • parking issues
  • servicing issues
  • other temporary obstructions
  • bins

Have the project objectives been met?

 

6.6.3 Output and Approvals

The Post-Construction Accessibility Audit shall be documented in a Stage 3 Post-Construction Accessibility Audit Report.

The Accessibility Audit Report shall:

  • Summarise the background of the project and the findings of the Context Report;
  • Summarise the items raised at the Detailed Design Accessibility Audit;
  • List the scheme objectives and make comment on how adequately they have been addressed;
  • List issues with the current design in terms of meeting objectives and good practice and detail actions to address them.

The completed Audit Report shall be checked by the Design Team Leader. Once the Design Team Leader is content that the Audit has been completed satisfactorily, he or she shall countersign the report and forward to the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor for approval.

Thereafter, the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor will coordinate any amendments to the Audit Report or project deemed necessary to comply with the policies or procedures of Transport Scotland.

The Stage 3 Post-Construction Accessibility Audit report may contain recommendations for additional works. Such recommendations shall be considered and, if deemed appropriate, instructed by the Transport Scotland Project Sponsor.