2.1.6 Depressed Curbs

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The Requirements in this Section apply to:
Government of Ontario, Legislative Assembly, and Designated Public Sector Organizations Private / Not-for-Profit Sector Organizations
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These requirements for depressed curbs, also known as drop curbs, will improve safety and usability of sidewalks and walkways for all pedestrians, particularly people with disabilities.

A depressed curb is a continuous length of curb along a pedestrian route that is lowered to the level of an adjacent roadway. Such curbs may be located at vehicle loading/unloading areas or at intersections.

Well-designed depressed curbs will make it easier for people using wheeled mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers and scooters to move from the sidewalk to street level, while also providing appropriate warning of the transition for people with visual disabilities.


The requirements of this Section apply to newly constructed or redeveloped depressed curbs on exterior paths of travel in public spaces.

Requirements for the Design of Depressed Curbs

Running slope
No steeper than 1:20 (5%).
Align with the direction of travel.
Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs)
  • Location:
    • At the bottom end of depressed curbs that are flush with the roadway at pedestrian crossings.
    • Set back 150 mm - 200 mm back from the curb edge.
  • Size: At least 610 mm in depth
  • Profile: Tactile elements raised above the adjacent ground surface.
  • Tonal Contrast: High tonal contrast to differentiate the TWSI from the adjacent ground surface.

Better Practice Considerations

Clear width of walkway at the top:
Consider providing at least 1,500 mm to better-accommodate the turning radius of scooters and larger wheelchairs.
Tactile walking surface indicators (TWSIs)
Consider truncateddome type tactile walking surface indicators as indicated in CSA B651-12 - Accessible design for the built environment. Refer to Appendix F - CSA Standards for Tactile Warning Surface Indicators. Truncated-dome TWSIs are widely recognized as a ‘stop’ signal to pedestrians. Other TWSI configurations may not be as effective in providing the ‘stop’ message.
Tonal contrast
To enhance the definition of the TWSIs, consider a difference of at least 70% between the light reflectance value (LRV) of the TWSI surface and the ground/ floor surface. Refer to Figure for further details on measuring LRV. Also consider the effect that wet conditions may have on peoples’ ability to determine colour contrast.
Orientation at pedestrian crossings
Consider making depressed curbs align with the curb ramp or depressed curb on the opposite side of the roadway.


Illustrated Technical Guide to the Design of Public Spaces