Accessibility on Campus

The Vancouver Campus Plan aims to create a barrier-free, accessible, learning environment at UBC that is respectful and equal among all people regardless of their physical, sensory or cognitive abilities, backgrounds or experience. The Campus Plan also includes a policy in support of improving accessibility to older facilities and outdoor spaces on campus.

UBC’s Vancouver campus presents a number of challenges for people with disabilities:

  • long distances between buildings over a large campus
  • complicated network of formal and informal pedestrian routes
  • rising slopes (e.g. a significant slope from West Mall to Main Mall)
  • limited accessible parking and vehicle access in the campus core
  • inconsistent access to the main entrances of buildings, particularly older buildings

To improve on campus accessibility, UBC has incorporated a set of ‘Universal Design Principles’ into how we design the Vancouver campus (Vancouver Campus Plan). This internationally endorsed approach includes working to reduce segregation of users (e.g. separate entrance for users with physical disabilities), making design simple and intuitive to use, providing easy-to-understand information on buildings and in public areas, and making sure accessible features require a low level of physical effort. UBC applies these in the planning and design of new buildings, renovations and retrofits to existing buildings, and to public outdoor spaces.

Examples of Improved Accessibility on Campus

Through land use changes, improvements to pathways and connections, and facility design and renovations, UBC has been taking the necessary steps towards creating a barrier free campus environment.

Here are some examples of how accessibility has been improved:

  • improved access to the main entrance of the Leonard S. Klinck building (shown above)
  • Installation of a ramp at the Old Administration Building and at Buchanan Courtyard (pavilion entrance and off of Main Mall)
  • curb let downs at crosswalks
  • grouping high-use buildings near transit and allowing mixed uses of buildings in the campus core, such as the new Student Union Building and Ponderosa Commons, to reduce travel distances