Project structure : Results and conclusions
The analysis concerning outdoor construction
works focusing on barrier-free
surfaces of walkways was
published on the TÁMOP closing conference held on Buda Campus of the Corvinus
University of Budapest on January 12,
2012. This paper deals with an extension of the previous topic considering
urban design, namely barrier-free street
furniture and vehicle
traffic and parking.
Barrier-free street furniture
Street furniture basically must meet the
following two criteria for barrier-free
1. It should be safely and conveniently
accessible for everybody - including permanently or temporary handicapped people with physical,
mental or sensory (vision, hearing)
disabilities - preferably without any help, (safely and conveniently) , due to the fact that it
must be equipped with signaling elements that are necessary for the movement of
the disabled person- including adequate free space for manouvering.
2. The other important aspect of the
barrier-free design is the proper position of outdoor furniture and street
objects (billboards, benches, etc.) so that pedestrian route or walkway is not reduced or blocked for handicapped
people. Street furniture should be arranged in groups and logically in a
clearly defined path that is easy to follow. It is recommended that street
furniture is grouped in an expanded, wider space along the walkway.
a. Seating surfaces
The determination of the optimal seat level is
based on ergonomic data.According to this, the seating platform should be positioned at 28 to 42 cm from the ground
level with an inclination of 5-20°
towards the back of the seat. One has to consider the possible difficulty
of impaired users facing with when
standing up from these benches. The bench without backrest should have no
slope, and generally the CRL is 42-45 cm.
Considering our study area, we can say that the
accessibility, size and materials used for benches are satisfactory and the obstacle-free accessibility is mostly
The proposed benches are ergonomically adequate
with comfortable design, Sitting height is at 40 cm for both seats with and
without backrest. The given product does not have an inclination backward towards the rear backrest, but the seats
of both versions (with or without
backrest) only provide with a fixed
height of 40 cm.
However, the edges and rims of the firm seat furniture are higher (45 cm) which means it may
cause discomfort for shorter people, since the legs of the short person rest on
the unrounded edge.
Both on Károly boulevard and on Kecskeméti
street in both in parallel or perpendicular directions to the traffic there is
sufficient amount of free space around
the benches for people using wheelchairs even in case of pedestrian traffic. According to our
findings, benches next to the road,
facing towards the traffic are not frequently used. On the Egyetem
square, the benches are scattered In
spite of their custom-design, their quality and condition is not adequate: the
surface of the wooden blocks is already cracked and broken.
On F?vám square there is only one type of
seating is available, the benches are
elongated and curved without back support but satisfy the barrier-free
b. Street lights and visibility
Natural light is the best light source for
visually impaired people. However, it is the characteristic (character) of natural light that its strength varies, in case of twilight or covered skies (grey weather) the
visibility is significantly reduced.
It is therefore very important that the street lighting is appropriate, since
it can significantly help people with disabilities in orientation or finding
A street object is properly visible when its
shape , details and its distance can be detected realistically. Artificial
light may alter our perception The position of the light source is adequate if
it neither blinds people (and) nor it
causes eye-strain, and it does not cast shadow that reduces the visibility of an object.
The oblique placement of the lamp posts on main street has been rejected
during the design process and after some modification and variation the presently used types were
applied. In terms of energy efficiency, the lamps work with LED light,
resulting in a whitish colour at night , instead of the warm, yellowish colour.
At night the brightness of the lights is lower than in the evening, due to power saving measures.
important that at night the artificial light is sufficient for orientation, so
the lighting system requires revision. The small cylinder shaped robust lights provide adequate visibility on Károly boulevard. The chandeliers in the area
of observation are placed next to the surface of the walkways along the side of
the road, in a dedicated strip, without
disturbing the pedestrian traffic.
c. Plant(er) Boxes
Planter boxes are frequently placed along the edges are traffic areas, hence it is
important to know the design rules and principles when placing these items. In order to support the movement and orientation of the blind or
visually impaired people, the main line connecting the curbs should preferably be continuous, visible
and well-detectable. In order to provide high visibility , the minimum height
of the edges should be preferably 7.5 cm and
with a rounded edge. High curbs would prevent the movement of wheelchairs
and stroller coming off surface unintenentially, but they would make manouvering and turning rather difficult.
On the study area we
could find planter cassettes and low plant containers also known as planteners.
The low edge plants serve as edge, also as a tape- placed at the right position, separate between
car traffic and pedestrians. The mobile planteners are usually scattered all
over the area. Since it is possible to move them freely, their current position
does not interfere with pedestrian traffic, if moved this needs to be
maintained. However, one has to know that these items should not be placed on the
tactile lanes, or in tight spaces, where wheel-chairs or strollers can get
It is an important to
note that no planter boxes, tree- branches can block the traffic, so the proper
height and space for barrier-free movement should be provided by all means.
d. Building accessories
(Subparts of buildings) (ATM, mobile terraces, etc.)
Urban environment ? such
as the center of Budapest ? is typically a public space which is formed by the planes determined by
the facades of adjacent buildings and it
sets the boundaries for landscape designers. Along the band formed by the edges , it is a common problem
that due to the existing objects? (are in) unfavorable position (location) (and)
it is impossible to correct errors by a new design, and often the existing
elements and the new ones cannot be connected properly. Other possible conflict
can occur when additional mobile furniture, advertising signs, cantilevered elements are added to a functionally
compact environment because there is no guarantee of logical spatial
arrangement of the previous and new elements created by two- or more different
In case of recently
renovated open spaces in Budapest downtown, we can observe that the designers tried
to create a framework for connections between buildings and the surrounding public space. Furthermore, in front of the
buildings the pedestrian walkway is not
restricted by street furniture or by any other obstacles. At the building doors
the necessary maneuvering space is provided, the slantings of the roads are
coherent with the standards, hence they are appropriate. The bumps and protruding façade elements such as busy
pre-stairs are connected by walking
stones of textured pavement, the
K-shaped special stone (?K-stone?) can be used
to join buildings with main leading lines for visually impaired
people. There can be found numerous public
institutions and other service units within the area of observation. The elevation of old buildings at the entrances of
usually is one or two steps high, i.e.
there is a 10-30 cm height difference which
cannot be always smoothed by slanting surfaces, it has to adapt to the level of
the road and tramway, the degree of unevenness is so large that it is
impossible to eliminate the step and
this phenomenon is very common outside the limits of the design area. However
in case of some service units at the
entrances, it can be observed that the step leading to the department store or a public building could be eliminated by a sophisticated cladding
system that is found between Deák square
and Astoria, and on Kecskemét street.
The surfaces of communications found on buildings and other components (e.g. windows, ATM, mail
boxes, pick up windows of restaurants, window
shades) sometimes use a cantilevers so
they can pose obstacles or barriers for wheelchairs. The objects being placed
more than 40 cm
above the street level, are usually undetectable for visually impaired people
so it maybe hazardous. Therefore, according
to the requirements that the
cantilevered elements should be surrounded by "tactile and very different walkway pavement which is at least 0.10 m high and 0.60 m wide, around hinges
or elevated objects so that it could be detected by feet".
Nevertheless, no such
marking pavement was found in our area of observation in case of high and obstructing
The solution of the
problem above- unfortunately- is not the responsibility of the designer, as
these blocking elements are not permanent parts of the buildings, they may change in time, disappear or reappear with the season.
The operator of these elevated objects must ensure that the regulations are
complied with, the authorities are responsible for the control. The position of
cantilevered elements (as well as the area that is affected by swinging doors
of a public area public area) may be designated by altering the surface
texture of the road in a consistent way - or with some installed railings in front of
the high obstructive elements, that can be perceived from 40 cm above. The outdoor area
of an ATM is hardly accessible for people in wheelchairs, as the walls of
buildings prevent them from accessing and approaching it, convenient interfaces
are located too high for people sitting in wheelchairs. Nevertheless, this
problem was solved by most banks located
in this area. They could provide a barrier-free access into the
building, where people sitting in wheelchairs could access the teller machine.
We should also mention
the terraces of catering units and mobile street objects such as billboards around
shops and restaurants. AT the renewal of public areas it was important to
increase the pedestrian zones form rather spacious squares and place sidewalks.
However, even in case of enlarged sidewalks, the space outside is still not
enough to put tables and chairs in front of restaurants and pubs The pedestrian
walking area is usually restricted by the terraces, thus making difficult the move
for pedestrians and disturbing the
tranquility of dining guests. Most façades are dangerous for blind people hence
there is no line to follow for them and
they can bump into the furniture placed outside. The safe and convenient public
land use is possible only when terrace
bar is located outside of the main walking zone in a separate, wider place of the street.
However, very often the
pedestrian zone is too narrow and the shade that are mounted to the walls- or buildings do not protect the outer tables from the sun.
In terms of accessibility, however, it is essential that there would be a
minimum of 1.50 m
of unobstructed place next to the building
facades because people with disabilities
are most likely to use that area, hence there should not be any obstacle that would interfere with walking. This
principle should be applied to not only for the terraces, but also for
billboards or signs placed in front of the shops, because they could be
dangerous obstacles and traffic zones would be narrowed by them excessively.
structures, such as scaffoldings, one has
to consider the detect ability in advance, so that it would be possible to avoid
them. If the section is not closed from traffic, a safe zone should be provided
for safe progress. In our country unfortunately, only a little attention is
paid for these during construction work.
e. waste bins
From all the waste bins found in the observation area can
be stated that their opening is conveniently
placed at the height of 90 to 106
cm, so they are convenient to use both from standing or
sitting in a wheelchair. The waste bins
are regularly and frequently placed next to the sidewalk, or near junctions,
stops, parking lots. According to the traffic volume, a sufficient number of
waste bins have been installed, with regular trash collection and in organized
environment. They are placed on fixed columns or pollers and are easy to access,
their openings face to the sidewalk. In
some places - especially at pedestrian crossings - a problem is that they may
cross the walkways. The waste collectors provide possibilities for selective collection and dog dropping bins
provide the chance for keeping the city cleaner, more livable, more
On the new main street
of Pest, the grey, metallic containers to collect dog waste have a columnar shape with a slope positioned in a bit irregular way, hence they are rotated in a way that the diagonal of their horizontal
cross section- is parallel to the
walking direction instead of the lateral edge, which would be a natural
direction. The waste bin for dog droppings leans toward the sidewalk forming
sharp, acute angle with the ground. It
also has a protective roof against the
rain. Due to the slanting and rain protection roof, the opening of the waste
bin is very narrow and awkward, making the waste collection nearly impossible.
This is opening would not be sufficient even for a normal waste collection , but for the selective dropping collection ? is
practically insufficient. Due to slope,
it is very difficult to detect for visually impaired pedestrians and because
its even edges are sharp and are not
rounded it may be dangerous to use for
One can find new and
stylish, dark gray painted metal waste
bins with columnar shape on Károly boulevard between Astoria and Deak ter.
These are a bit smaller and less robust
bins than the similar objects placed on the main street of Pest, their opening
is not slanted so in spite having a smaller size, it is relatively easy to access. They are equipped
with fixed metal roof for rain protection.
On the segment of Kiskörút between F?vám square and Astoria - considering waste bins, one can find dark gray, cylindrical bins without any roof (see Figure 11). Due to
the round shape, it is relatively safe to use except from the poller, which has sharp edges and corners. On the study area all
the pedestrian crossings are equipped
with signs to guide traffic and several
pedestrian crossings it can observed that waste containers are set on them in
a hardly perceptible way so it may cause
tripping or collision. The majority of the bins, however, is properly placed.
All the waste bins in our area of observation are can handle cigarette stubs
properly. On the new waste bin models in case of a rectangular model, there is
a metal place on the top to extinguish the cigarettes , while on the
cylindrical type there is an outer metal ring that serves for the very same
purpose. On the old types of waste bins,
there is a metal box attached on the mid part of the bin to extinguish the
cigarettes. Unfortunately it is rather common that the cigarette stubs are
left on the top without proper disposal.
On the entire study area
one can still find those old-style, vivid
green waste bins that can be fixed to transport boards, or pole-mounted to railings that have been here prior to the downtown
It is neccessary to use
traffic bollards on streets in order to protect the pedestrian zone from
parking cars that would occupy every possible place. Bollards and pollers play
a protective role specially in those places- for example in bus stops and
pedestrian crossings- where special borders or other suitable objects cannot be
placed to keep off the vehicles from the
area reserved for pedestrians. It is difficult to detect traffic bollards,
especially in crowded bus stops and intersections where there are many people
waiting, then they all start at the same
time at a green light or when the bus comes blocking the visibilty of the pollers
because they are covered by the crowd. In addition to this problem, the bike
lane is placed next to zone of traffic bollards. Therefore it is important to
put a special care at their design to
minimize the risks : e.g. using rounded
corners and edges with good visibility besides aesthetic aspects which are required
in a historic environment.
The main materials used
for pollers on public areas are the dark gray metal and natural stone. In
general, the new main street where the road pavement is on the same level as
the pedestrian walkway the pollers have been consistently applied to protect the pedestrian zone, and effective
traffic reduction has been carried out to increase safety and convenience of pedestrians. The section
of small boulevard (Kiskörút) between Astoria
and F?vám square is also accompanied by
a continuous colonnade of pollers next to
the pedestrian zone, even in the full width of pedestrian crossings, which- due
the above-mentioned reasons- can be
dangerous. Between Astoria and Deak square
pollers were used only where it was
absolutely necessary. Hence, some pedestrian crossings can be approached safely, without any physical
barriers and still avoid motorists parking on the pavement. At some other cases -additional
elements: e.g. street furniture, railings, curved columns for bicycle parking,
plants - will take over the role of bollards.
On the main street of Pest - similar to the style of the new street furniture- dark grey metal
pollers with square cross-section and slanted
design are placed to protect sidewalks. The design concept was to revive the
old country roads where the old stones were sunken and slanted a bit toward sidewalk by using appropriate slanted street furniture. However, during construction, the direction
of pollers was parallel to the traffic direction. In the parking facilities and
intersections pollers cannot be tilted, because it would be insvisible for the
drivers, posing a hazard risk to the
traffic. Therefore, in these places the pollers were rotated by the angle of
These pollers are
slanted inwards, hence crossing the walkways of wheel chairs, in addition to these
they have sharp corners and edges ? causing a real traffic hazard. There are
natural stone blocks in vertical position
on the street to regulate the
traffic, but for safety reasons the sharp edges of stone blocks should have
been reduced by applying a slanting
cross section at the sides. On Egyetem
square, there are glass cubes of artwork called "Wandering spots" which also serve as a traffic guidance.
On the section of Károly
boulevard between Astoria and F?vám square there are dark gray metal pollers
with edges. However, a similar bollard with round shape would be a better
option. On this section unfortunately, the sidewalks are not as wide as between
Astoria and Deák Square, so in this part of the city the pollers make the
sidewalk less than 150 cm
wide. This situation is mainly true for areas with doorways and car parking places.
The section on F?vám square and between
Astoria and Deak square one can
find pollers made of natural stones. The architectural design can be expressed
by angular geometry and the sharp, cristal
character. These stone pollers ? as it was mentioned before- pose a traffic
hazard due to the sharp edges.
Between Astoria and Deak
square however, the pollers of 'K'-shaped lime stone prisms have a slanting
cross sections at the edges- minimizing risks of the traffic hazards. It can be seen that on this part of the city a
careful design was applied to make city
traffic barrier-free and safe.
g. Indicator lights / traffic
In order to provide a more
detailed analysis, two types of street objects should be considered separately.
The traffic lights,due
to their light-emitting nature can provide information only for those
who have normal vision, or whose eye sight is only partially damaged. The
traffic lights found in our study area
can be found at locations (e.g.
intersections) where the different modes of transport (vehicle, bicycle,
pedestrian / wheelchair / baby-car traffic) would collide without them, so
their mainly serve as traffic regulators
and awareness indicators. They thus are being used for safety and
The color and light type
choice of light sources in finding the optimal strengths, it is important to
take into account effects of contrasts, so it must be ensured that the light
source is sufficiently striking and visible, its color stands out from the
surrounding blocks. The Kálvin square and on the renovated Kecskeméti street, and on the Károly boulevard all the traffic lights meet both of the above requirements,
such as height and proper direction, making them easy to perceive. In many cases, an
acoustic signal can be used with light to facilitate orientation of the
visually impaired. On the study area at certain pedestrian crossings (e.g.
F?vám square and Deak Ferenc square) traffic lights with auditory beeps have been
The auditory signal can
be turned on by a
remote device. This method used here in
Budapest follows a uniform method, all the traffic lights with auditory signals are activated with the same remote control
Concerning the audio
tone of traffic lights, the following basic requirements can be formulated
- it should
be loud (it's not audible all day, so as not to interfere with night sleep or
rest, but when you need it, then it should be loud and clear) - this refers to
tone dialing and the information heard
- should be
easy to understand (to be heard and understood at the same time)
- the information should be important and in
The barrier-free design
of road signs has been analyzed in a number of studies. The following
criteria have to be observed :
They have to be available and
safely accessible / may be avoided by everyone. Their position should be
determined by incorporating the fact that the eye level of a person sitting in
a wheelchair is lower- by approx. 50 cm - than that of a
standing person .
be easy to read for everybody, even for visually impaired people (by choosing
the appropriate letter size and contrast)
For the visually
impaired persons information should be coded with Braille characters considering minimum and maximum access height.
These heights for wheelchairs are 40-120, while for standing people is between 90-130 cm.
On the study area all the
signs comply with the requirements set out above.
Traffic and vehicle parking
a. Parking spaces
The OTÉK regulation deals with the development of barrier-free and accessible
parking spaces for handicapped people Accessible parking spaces should be created as
close to the main entrances as possible (up to 50 meters), so it would
be possible to reach it easily and
In any case, 1.5 m
traffic lane should be established next to the parking space near which ramp which is to be
bridged with the parking lot if there is
a height difference and between walkway and
parking space. According to this, the size of the parking lots should be at
least 3.5 x 5. 5 m.
There are several
barrier-free and accessible parking spaces for handicapped created on our study
area. On Vámház boulevard, several handicapped parking spaces were created at the
curb delimited by pollers, or surrounded by tactile pavement.
Parallel to the car
traffic of Kecskeméti street handicapped parking spaces have been designed
to improve accessibility of the environment in the same level. In both cases,
pavement marking and panel calls attention to these parking spaces.
Unfortunately in both cases we
find illegal parking of unlicensed cars on disabled parking spaces creating a
problem for those who would need special parking.
and bus stops
The accessibility of public transport safety is a major factor in
Accessibility.The vast majority
of disabled people can not or will not drive a car, so they can only rely on
the public transport.
The test area proved to be very good example in this respect, since there bus-,
tram- and metro stations which are designed also for the blind or visually impaired people or wheelchair users.
One of the best example is Kálvin square and
its neighbourshood. Tram stops and subway station is located on the
square , which can be approached by the subway line no. 3.The tram tracks are leading the
tactile guide visually impaired people of all stairs and through the underpass,
as well as both can be reached by elevator.Tactile
tracks show the direction to the stairs.
The elevator for wheelchairs and
strollers leading to the subway is not ready yet, because the area
is still under construction work.The tactile pavement is not used on the surface of tram stops.Neither the edge of the platform, nor
the beginning or the end of it is marked , as well as the first and the last
door of the vehicle is not indicated by any
tactile signs, so the visually impaired passengers have no signals how to use the vehicles.
Another example to follow is tram
stops on Károly boulevard, because of their accessibility and for being covered
by contrasting tactile strips to guide disabled
The same is true for bus stops and in addition to these ? pollers are added to secure pedestrians form car traffic.
On Kiskörút boulevard there are enough
places for sitting and waiting space which is covered by rain proof roof.The pavilions covered with glass-roof can be very hot and uncomfortable in the
blazing summer sun.The side
walls of glass at the road should be
placed at eye-level for appropriate detection.
In summary, we can say that the newly
renovated open spaces in downtown of Budapest, it is clearly visible that a
significant effort has been made to pursuit barrier-free accessibility for
The transport, orientation and relaxation facilities usually were placed in separate
bands, not narrowing the pedestrian
traffic areas, making them safe and comfortable for everyone and enabling barrier-free public access.
he proposed color of street furniture is not striking, but different and
detectable from the pavement and
vegetation.In most cases it has
a logical place and position in groups .
The main features, services and travel directions are easy to follow and can be
accessed in a user-friendly way.
The designers of the area instead of historical, more traditional street scene have
turned into a contemporary design that meets the needs of modern people ? including the
handicapped population. It is an enjoyable public space, having created a contemporary urban feeling
with appopriately used street furniture ? still providing barrier ?free