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People Movement

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5.1.1      Thoroughfare for motorized vehicles

a)      2 wheelers

b)      3 & 4 wheelers, light commercial vehicles

c)      Greater than 4 wheelers, heavy commercial vehicles.


5.1.2      Thoroughfare for non-motorized vehicles

a)      Pedestrians

1.      Width of footpath [also called side-walk]

IRC guidelines1 stipulate that the minimum width of a footpath should not be less than 1.5m. Width should depend on pedestrian traffic, varying between 1.5m at a minimum to a maximum of 4.0m.

However, in addition to providing footpath for pedestrians, it is equally important to see that this complete width is always available throughout the road and is unobstructed. Frequently, we observe that if the footpath is not clear, either because of hawkers, parking, bus-stops etc. So part of providing a quality footpath is to provide different spatial arrangements for these.

Electric Box and tree obstruct the  footpath and make it unusable

Whenever there is a constriction in the footpath, the person in order to skip it will walk on the road. Then, even if a clear stretch of footpath is available, there is a tendency to continue walking on the road. Also, a pole in the middle will halve the space available for the wheelchair, and may make it unusable for the handicapped. Hence, the footpath should be unobstructed throughout. To enable this, street furniture such as electrical poles, lamp posts, trees etc should be placed one edge of the footpath and not arbitrarily somewhere on the footpath. Similarly pole transformers should be at such a height so as to not obstruct pedestrians.

Where absolutely unavoidable, in presence of localized obstructions, the unobstructed width of a footpath should not be less than 1m to allow a wheelchair(815mm) to pass comfortably. Overhangs if any should be at a height greater than 3m from the footpath level.

2.      Kerb Height

A high kerb forces the car park away

The footpath would usually be at a slightly elevated height referred to the paved road. This gives protection to the pedestrians, prevents vehicles from coming over to the footpath and helps better segregation. Kerbs may be provided at the road edge to increase this segregation. The IRC2  recommends kerb heights between 325mm to 200mm on the road side with the footpath elevation of 125mm with respect to the paved road.

However, we find that, this height is more than the clearance of vehicle doors (~250mm). So in the case of parallel parking, it becomes inconvenient to open the passenger side door of the car. This results in the vehicle being parked at a distance from the kerb, thus using valuable road space.

Hence, it is recommended that in case there is provision for parking adjacent to the footpath, the additional kerb barrier be done away with. That is, the footpath is maintained at an elevation of 125mm with respect to the paved road, and no additional kerb is placed.

3.      Access ramp or Dipped Kerbs

Footpaths need to be frequently broken for cross-roads, car parking ramps and other reasons.  Usually it is observed that in such a case, the footpath is stopped abruptly. This makes it inconvenient for pedestrians and becomes impossible for the wheelchair bound to get on to the footpath. Hence a gradual gradient must be given, which should not exceed 1:9.6 Care should be taken to make it non-slip.

4.   Identity maintained

Whenever the footpath is broken for certain distance, because of cross-roads, intersections, car parking ramps and others, the identity of the footpath should be maintained. This means, as far as the pedestrians are concerned, the footpath would continue in a similar form on the paved road. Thus, that part of the road is of the similar texture of the footpath. This would make it easier for pedestrians as they clearly know what area to walk on, and for the vehicle drivers would to be extra cautious as they drive on that area.

Figure on the left shows how the footpath gives up its identity for an off lane. On the right one can see how the identity of the footpath is maintained, infact enhanced even more.

5.   Crossfall

The IRC guideline2 here stipulates that the crossfall should be within the range of 2.5% to 3%. If it is too flat, it is difficult to drain, whereas if it is too steep, it would get dangerous to walk on.


6, Surface quality

They should have an even, firm, well-drained surface which is non-slip in both wet and dry weather. Joints should be closed and flush to prevent small wheels, walking sticks and canes from becoming trapped.

Covers and gratings in particular should be flush with the surface, nonslip, and have no openings greater than 13mm wide6. It is preferable to avoid the use of gratings or 'slot' type drainage within pedestrian areas and at pedestrian crossing points because they can trap small wheels and canes. However, if this is not possible, then gully covers and drainage slots should be positioned as far as possible from and at right angles to the main pedestrian flow lines.

The surface color should contrast with that of the surroundings, and especially that of the road used for vehicular traffic.


7.Longitudinal gradients

For pedestrians and especially for wheelchair bound, sudden or irregular gradient changes should be avoided, with gradients kept to 1:20 or less wherever possible.  Wherever this is not possible, a maximum gradient should never exceed 1:12.6



8. Markings to aid blind people

While this is highly desirable, good quality footpath which maintain 1 to 7 above should be first achieved. Then one needs to begin working on making these disabled friendly.

No IRC guidelines on this aspect are available. However, there are a number of other national standards5,6 which have detailed guidelines for these.

9. Verge and  barrier

Verges or nature strips, in addition to beautifying the road, are useful to accommodate electric poles, lighting columns. In addition, they ensure proper vehicle placement and development of full carriageway capacity (IRC2).  They also improve segregation between footpath and the paved road. Wherever space is available, verges with minimum of 1m width should be given.

Wherever appropriate, pedestrian guard-rails can be given (IRC1). One must be aware that it would not be beneficial to provide parallel parking where guard rails are present as one would need to park at a distance to be able to open the vehicle door. Hence, angular parking must be provided wherever parking is provided next to a guard rail.

Guard –rail helps the control and regulation of pedestrian traffic.  However, if quality footpaths are not provided, pedestrians are likely to use the paved road and will be further dissuaded from using the footpath even in quality streches.

Guard-rail designs are given in IRC3



b)      Bicyclists


5.1.3      Street intersections, turns and  pedestrian crossings

a)      3 intersection streets

b)      4 intersection streets

c)      Multi intersection streets

d)      Roundabouts

e)      Single turns from and into the street

f)        U-turns

g)      Standalone pedestrian crossings comment guidelines

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