The CNIB Foundation is unaware of any guidelines or standards which specify how rainbow crossings should be designed.
A study on the subject under taken by the Transportation Association of Canada, (TAC), found that little research had been undertaken regarding accessibility and the impacts on pedestrians living with sight loss.
The report does, however, align well with CNIB’s guidelines in that borders must be present and that these must provide a high level of contrast with any decorative road treatments. Given the relatively short life cycle of decorative road paints, TAC’s research aligns well with CNIB guidelines in that regular maintenance should be undertaken.
In the absence of any detailed studies, the following guidelines will help to ensure that pedestrians with sight loss can continue to independently navigate the built environment.
- Crosswalk borders should be white twin parallel lines which are colour contrasted to the adjacent pavement
- To avoid disorientation, ensure that the rainbow stripes run parallel to the path of travel and extend from curb to curb. Ensure that a non-slip durable paint is used and,
- Ensure that the crosswalk is maintained regularly, As paint may not survive seasonal changes or road salt and the colours may fade making these crosswalks unnecessarily harder to locate for a pedestrian with sight loss.