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Department of Transport and Main Roads

Guiding principles

Father and daughter walking on train platformUniversal Design Principles are the guiding principles to achieve our vision. 

Universal Design Principles

The purpose of the principles is to guide the design of environments, products and communications:

Principle 1: Equitable Use
Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
Principle 4: Perceptible Information
Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use

The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, led by Ronald Mace at North Carolina State University.

Key benefits of Universal Design

  • It’s easier and more cost effective to plan from the start than retrofit.
  • Reputation of organisations applying Universal Design is improved.
  • Accessibility to everyone maximises the number of people who use services, products and infrastructure.
  • Creates welcoming environments and decreases stress levels.


Co-design is a design methodology that actively involves customers and stakeholders in the design process. Designing together ensures that the designs implemented appropriately consider customer and stakeholders’ respective needs.

Critically, co-design is a process to achieve Universal Design.

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Last updated 16 July 2020