6.0 Overview

When vision impaired people are about to use lifts (elevators), they may face challenges as the examples below:

  • Which lift will be the next to arrive?
  • Are the doors automatic or do they need to be opened physically and how is that done?
  • Is the lift going up or down?
  • Where are they currently, i.e. which floor or level are they on?
  • Which side of the lift the doors will open (if there are doors at both ends)?

It is increasingly the case that lifts have audible announcements to inform their users about the aspects above.

Lifts are a good option when they save the effort of navigating around the station, for example when a lift takes passengers from the platform straight to the ticket control area.

Some people also report that they do not feel comfortable in the closed environment of a lift during an emergency.

There may be no reasonable alternative, for example, where step access is very long and is only to be used in emergencies.

6.1 Announcing the location of the call button

When facing a lift vision impaired people will first locate the lift door first and then scan the surrounding area to locate the lift call button. It is recommended to announce the location of the call button in relation to the lift doors. For example:

Turn right and take the lift down to the ticket hall. The call button is to the left of the lift doors at waist height.

6.2 Announcing which button to press when travelling in a lift

If the lift serves more than two levels, the audio instruction should indicate where the buttons are inside the lift and which button to press to get to each level. For example:

When inside, press the button marked minus one for the ticket hall.

Modern lifts have tactile buttons and may also have braille information for the 10% of vision impaired people who use Braille. This is according to various Standards (BS EN 81-70: 2003; BS 8300:2009+A1:2010) and Regulations.


  • Approved Document M: access to and use of buildings, volume 1: dwellings (2015), Department for Communities and Local Government. (last accessed: 2 April 2016)
  • BS EN 81-70:2003, Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts. Particular applications for passenger and goods passenger lifts. Accessibility to lifts for persons including persons with disability, British Standards Institute.
  • BS 8300:2009+A1:2010, Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. Code of practice. British Standard Institute.

6.3 Indicating next move before getting out of a lift

As with Escalators (Section 4.1.4), Stairs (Section 4.1.5) and the Ticket Control (Section 4.1.7), vision impaired people require advance warning for their next move before they get out of the lift. This is in order to maintain a continuous flow of people when the lift doors open and means that vision impaired people will not inadvertently stand in front of the lifts. For example:

Upon leaving the lift, turn left and walk forward to the ticket hall.