Being able to move around cities is a basic requirement for the development of most human activities. Yet daily trips between home and work, study, leisure, and other daily commitments are not always done under the most comfortable conditions, whether it be because of crowded public transportation or unexpected traffic jams. Urban mobility is a hotly debated topic, from informal conversation circles to technical and scientific seminars. It's hard to find someone who doesn't have an opinion on the subject or some miraculous solution to the problems in their city or region. In fact, we have already posted several articles addressing this issue on this site, from utopian proposals to questions related to the daily lives of most of the population.
Universal Access: The Latest Architecture and News
Of all the steps a city can take to make itself more pedestrian-friendly, developing a integral system of signage is both a quick and easy improvement that makes a world of difference--as shown by initiatives like Legible London, New York's WalkNYC, or Rio on Foot, in Río de Janeiro.
The population’s aging phenomenon is occurring worldwide. We say phenomenon because all population pyramids are reversing, which means birth rates are steadily decreasing over the years, and at the same time, life expectancy has been increasing. Thus, the elderly population is growing at a faster rate than children.
According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), in 2017 there were more than 30 million people over the age of 60 in Brazil (14.6% of the population). To understand this growing demographic, let's take a look at other countries' statistics. Mexico's total population is about 28 million, the size of Australia's and New Zealand's combined population. We are talking about a demographic the size of a country.
We already know that the ramp, aside from its different design possibilities, allows—without forgetting the notion of promenade architecturale—its users to overcome physical barriers in the urban and architectural context.
Although it basically consists of a continuous surface with a particular angle of slope, it is necessary to point out the many constructive specifications, which of course may vary due based on the standards of different governing bodies. The following clarifications are intended to assist and determine the appropriate dimensions for comfortable and efficient ramps for all, based on the concept of universal accessibility.
To what extent can the slope of a ramp be modified? How can we determine its width and the space needed for maneuvering? What considerations exist regarding the handrails? Here we review some calculations and design examples for different ramps, below.