Parking Lots And Tripping Hazards

Simply by Peter A. Townsend, P.E.
From the December 2020 Concern

Parking lots could be dangerous areas for pedestrians. Cars attracting and out of car parking spaces, two-way visitors in generate lanes and, all often too, drivers using short-cuts through car parking spaces create situations where pedestrian interest is divided, and could end up being drawn from the pavement before them away; making journey and fall accidents even more likely.

Studies show a vertical edge within a walking surface area of less than ¼-inch will do to result in a pedestrian trip and drop.¹ At many amenities, the focus of several pedestrian safety applications for parking lots rarely will go beyond regulating snowfall and ice elimination. While focus on reducing slip and drop incidents will be laudable, the look and maintenance of car parking lots also needs to consider reducing the prospect of the occurrence of vacation and fall incidents. This short article discusses some possible tripping hazards which are within many parking plenty and means of minimizing the chance to pedestrians.

Pedestrian travel across car parking islands which were not designed because walkways ought to be discouraged. Steering wheel stops (inset) generate abrupt vertical adjustments in the pavement surface area, which may not be observed by pedestrians. (Pictures: Rimkus Consulting Group)

Steering wheel Stops. These things create abrupt vertical modifications in the pavement surface area (discover inset photo), which might not be noticed by a pedestrian when their attention can be diverted elsewhere. The prevalence of journey and fall mishaps occurring at steering wheel stops has led to some specifications recommending that the usage of steering wheel stops be prevented in parking a lot. However, wheel stops assist a useful purpose keeping in mind motorists from pulling too much forwards into pedestrian aisles, and, actually, are recommended for used in the 2010 Us citizens with Disabilities Work (ADA) Standards for Obtainable Design.² When used, steering wheel stops ought to be installed since follows to minimize the chance of trip and drop incidents:

  • Contrast in colour to surrounding pavement. Cement wheel stops upon asphalt pavement fulfill this criterion often.
  • Steering wheel stops ought to be centered within the parking space and really should not really be longer than 6-feet, in order never to extend beyond the sides of a parked vehicle properly.
  • The room between wheel stops ought to be at the least 36-inches to allow area for pedestrian traveling.³

Car parking Islands. Like wheel stops, car parking islands assist maintain orderly vehicle car parking and define the edges of generate lanes. In fact, in lots of jurisdictions zoning ordinances need the usage of parking islands to supply green space. Unfortunately, several pedestrians view car parking islands as obstacles to be crossed than travelling them rather. Over time, a trail shall develop over the island, where pedestrians might notice as a “brief cut”. Maintenance staff shall often try to improve the trail with the addition of walkway pavers on the worn path. Pedestrian travel across car parking islands that were not really designed as walkways ought to be discouraged. When it will become apparent that pedestrians are journeying over parking islands, such use ought to be discouraged by planting groundcover or shrubs.

Manhole Covers. Usually the style of a service will necessitate putting manholes within the parking lot. The manhole body seat ought to be set so the addresses are at exactly the same elevation because the surrounding quality. At some true point, however, your car parking lot is required resurfacing, and the manhole addresses which were once at exactly the same elevation because the surrounding pavement are actually below it-often by around several inches. Not merely does this create the pavement round the manhole vunerable to damage from automobile impact, it generates a vertical edge more than which pedestrians may vacation also. In order to avoid this, manhole riser bands should be set up whenever an asphalt overlay is certainly applied to keep up with the elevation parity between pavement and manhole include.

Damaged Asphalt. Often susceptible to distress, asphalt can donate to pedestrian trips. Potholes will be the obvious culprit, but other styles of asphalt degradation can result in pedestrian trips or stumbles also. Included in these are: Localized quality depressions or ruts challenging to find, but that can bring about sudden, unperceived adjustments in the slope of the asphalt. Furthermore, watch for serious “alligator” cracking where the edges of asphalt are usually raised, or bits of asphalt have damaged off.

The interaction of pedestrians with the built environment won’t be perfectly secure and trip and drops in car parking lots will constantly happen. However, an effective design and a upkeep program that targets safety can significantly decrease the amount of these incidents that take place in car parking lots.


¹ Cohen, H.H., and C.The. LaRue. Biomechanical and perceptual-cognitive factors within pedestrian falls. In Y.I. W and noy. Karwowski (Eds.) Handbook of Human Elements in Litigation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press 2005.
² “2010 ADA Specifications for Accessible Style.” Washington, D.C.: Section of Justice, 2010. Internet. October 10 accessed, 2020.
³ ASTM Worldwide, ASTM F 1637-19 Standard Practice for Secure Walking Areas, 2019, ASTM Global, West Conshohocken, PA.

Townsend, P.E. will be director of premises liability and safety investigations with Rimkus Consulting Group, a global forensic engineering firm. He’s got nearly 30-years’ encounter designing secure walkways and during his profession has investigated a huge selection of trip-and-fall or slip-and-drop incidents.

Do you’ve got a comment? Share your ideas in the Comments area below, or deliver an e-mail to the Editor at [email protected]

Want to learn more about facility administration issues?

Verify out all of the recent FM Issue columns from Service Executive magazine.