Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Accessible Means of Egress Icon on wall mounted exit sign. Green exit sign showing a person using a wheelchair and running man moving to the left quickly through a doorway

Accessible Means of Egress Icon

The ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ was developed in late 2013 and forms the principal pictorial element of The Accessible Exit Sign Project.

The introduction of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ onto exit signage changes the current discriminatory approach to exit signs in buildings and present a fully inclusive design.[1]

However, there are important issues to consider when using these images:

  1. The design of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ is a new universal design concept and at the time of writing is not referenced within any technical standard or building code; and
  2. Emergency exit signage using the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ may be considered as part of the overall exit signage solution for any public facility (which could include a building, open space, transportation hub, airplane, train or ship).
  3. Dependant on local code requirements, the use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ may require approval from the relevant authority to permit the adoption of this new form of signage, confirmation will therefore be required from local authorities;
  4. Use of the ‘Accessible Means of Egress Icon’ could replace existing building code exit sign requirements under a ‘performance-based’ solution (see Part 8 of this White Paper). Alternatively, it could be used to complement local requirements, and enhance the minimum prescriptive requirements; and
  5. A performance-based assessment, using fire engineering principles may be required to support the use of the designs presented in The Accessible Exit Sign Project. This is discussed in the accompanying ‘Performance Assessment’ to this White Paper.

[1] GAATES Global Accessibility News, The Accessible Exit Sign Project, http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/12/09/the-accessible-exit-sign-project/, viewed 26 August 2015

Buildings need exit and emergency signs to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. An Accessible Exit Sign Project Initiative.

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