Mapping review of accessible pedestrian infrastructures for individuals with physical disabilities

Background: Due to the ageing population and higher prevalence of individuals living with physical disabilities, there is a critical need for inclusive practices when designing accessible pedestrian infrastructures for ensuring social participation and equal opportunities.

Purpose: Summarize the physical characteristics of current pedestrian infrastructure design for individuals with physical disabilities (IPD – motor, visual and hearing) found in the scientific literature and assess its quality.

Materials and methods: A mapping review of the existing literature on pedestrian infrastructures specifically built for individuals with physical disabilities identifying measurable physical characteristics for their design was done using online databases (Urban Studies Abstracts, Geobase, PubMed, and Cairn and secondary research). Information about accessibility (physical characteristics) of existing pedestrian infrastructures was extracted. The quality of the evidence was assessed using the Guidelines for critical review form – Quantitative studies and Qualitative studies version 2.0 (SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA).

Results: Of the 1131 articles identified, forty-one articles examined access to bus stops, curb ramps, lighting, pedestrian crossings, ramps, shared spaces, sidewalks and steps. Six articles reported on more than one physical disability. Quality scores were generally low (quantitative: 2–11/15 and qualitative: 1–22/23). Recommended design features differed for the same infrastructure.

Conclusions: While there were a fair number of articles (n = 41) documenting accessible design features of pedestrian infrastructures, the quality of the evidence was low. The review identified knowledge gaps. Although specific design solutions exist, they have not yet been tested among individuals with various or multiple types of physical disabilities to ensure access to pedestrian infrastructures by all.Implications for Rehabilitation

Pedestrian infrastructures still pose problems to mobility, limiting social participation and quality of life outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities (motor, visual and hearing).

The results of this mapping review show that few articles are concerned with the accessibility of pedestrian infrastructures for more than one type physical disability, which might lead to recommendations that are inadequate for individuals with differing disabilities, few recommendations have been compared, most studies have been performed in environments not representative of northern countries and their quality score was generally low.

Health professionals and State Parties have a complementary expertise that should be put to use in the determination and implementation of best design solutions to ensure the respect of the needs of individuals with physical disabilities.

This review can thus help them have an idea of what has already been done to identify what needs to be achieved to fill the gap of knowledge required to insure access for individuals with motor, visual as well as hearing disabilities.

Rehabilitation profesionals should take part in the assessment of the proposed solutions as well as the development of new designs to fill knowledge gaps.

Pedestrian infrastructures still pose problems to mobility, limiting social participation and quality of life outcomes for individuals with physical disabilities (motor, visual and hearing).

The results of this mapping review show that few articles are concerned with the accessibility of pedestrian infrastructures for more than one type physical disability, which might lead to recommendations that are inadequate for individuals with differing disabilities, few recommendations have been compared, most studies have been performed in environments not representative of northern countries and their quality score was generally low.

Health professionals and State Parties have a complementary expertise that should be put to use in the determination and implementation of best design solutions to ensure the respect of the needs of individuals with physical disabilities.

This review can thus help them have an idea of what has already been done to identify what needs to be achieved to fill the gap of knowledge required to insure access for individuals with motor, visual as well as hearing disabilities.

Rehabilitation profesionals should take part in the assessment of the proposed solutions as well as the development of new designs to fill knowledge gaps.