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Charlotta Johansson
Karin Caesar

The aim of this project was to identify the difficulties associated with carrying out the operation and maintenance of road safety and accessibility measures and to find possible solutions. The focus has been on design in urban areas, with the emphasis on accessibility measures for vulnerable road users, especially handicapped. The project has included a literature review, interviews with municipal operational and planning staff, expert seminars, and a questionnaire survey among all municipalities in Sweden. These studies show that there is reason to examine detailed design from an operational and maintenance perspective, especially at pedestrian crossings. The difficulty lies in finding a balance between road safety, accessibility and aesthetics, and to carry out maintenance and operation within the budgetary restrictions. The studies unambiguously show that manual operations should be avoided, since work which must be carried out by hand is poorly or not at all performed. What is accessible to all in the summertime is thus not accessible to all during winter conditions. All uses of slabs and brick pavers increase the need for maintenance since they easily become uneven and weeds grow in the joints. The tactile slabs are also difficult to clean, and are worn down in use and thus gradually lose their function. Other design details which are difficult to service is the directional edge guiding a visually impaired person across the street from a pedestrian crossing, and the 0.9-1.0 m wide ramp down to carriageway level to make it easier for the physically disabled to cross a street. It seems to be especially difficult to service the raised edge in the central refuge, and it is therefore a measure which many municipalities have decided to omit. The possibility to use smaller vehicles in snow clearance has been investigated with the conclusion that at the present this is not an option. There is a lower limit to vehicle size, with regard to both capacity and stability. On the other hand, increase of the ramp width up to 1.5 m could solve the problems and the raised edge in the central refuge could be replaced by three rows of domed slabs. In order to retain accessibility and road safety in all conditions, operational issues must be considered in the planning and design stage, and operational routines and methods need to be adapted to the new design details.

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