Barrier Free

The UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is being observed on December 3 to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers and to realize full and equal participation of persons with disabilities with a theme “Break Barriers, Open Doors for an Inclusive Society and Development for All”.

Around one billion people in the world live with some form of disability. Persons with disabilities face physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully and effectively in the society.  Barrier-free environment is one which enables people with disabilities to move about safely and freely and use all facilities within the built environment, roads, parks, gardens and other places.  The goal of barrier-free design is to provide an environment that supports independent functioning of individuals so that they can participate in all activities without assistance.

There is a popular belief that a ramp and an elevator/lift is all that is needed to make a built space barrier-free. But barrier-free has many other aspects ranging from door and passage widths to flooring surface, from counter heights to door handles and railings and from signage to auditory signal. Barrier-free design should be incorporated to access disabled persons.