X01.1 Applicability of this Section.
X01.3 Existing Public Rights-of-Way.
X01.1 Applicability of this Section.
This report recommends scoping and technical requirements for accessibility
within public rights-of-way by individuals with disabilities. These
requirements are intended to be applied during the project development,
design, construction and alteration of elements in the public
right-of-way to the extent required by regulations issued by
Federal agencies under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Advisory: The recommended standards in this
report reflect the hierarchical concept of a "path within a path."
Some provisions in these recommendations apply to the entire public
sidewalk, while other provisions apply only to the pedestrian
access route. Within the pedestrian access route is an
"inviolate" reduced vibration zone. The
scoping provisions for each standard lay out where it is to be applied.
X01.1.1 Equivalent Facilitation. Nothing in
this report is intended to prevent the use of designs or technologies as
alternatives to those prescribed in this report provided they result in
substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability.
The provisions of proposed ADAAG Section 106.1, Section 106.2, Section
106.3, Section 106.4 apply to this section.
X01.2.2 Defined terms
- Acceptance Angle:
- the maximum range of transmission, measured with respect to 90 degrees in all directions, within
which remote infrared audible sign systems remain operational, as measured at the transmitter.
- Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS):
- A device that communicates information about pedestrian
signal timing in non-visual format, through the use of audible tones (or verbal messages) and vibrating surfaces.
- Actuated Control:
- operation of a traffic signal controller unit in which some or all signal phases are operated on the basis of actuation. Pedestrian
actuation is typically by push button
- initiation of a change in traffic signal phase through
the operation of any type of detector.
- Alternate Circulation Path:
- a detour or temporary route provided
as a substitute for the pedestrian access route.
- Assistive Listening Device:
- a device to help persons with hearing
disabilities listen to audible information.
- Audible Beacon:
- a permanently fixed source emitting sound for directional orientation.
- an obstruction to deter the passage of
persons or vehicles.
- Central Island:
- raised area around which traffic circulates at a roundabout.
- Changeable Message Sign or Variable Message Sign
- an electronic sign with the flexibility to display various
messages to provide information to pedestrians.
- Channelizing Island:
- curbed or painted area outside the vehicular
path provided to control and direct traffic movement into the proper lane
for its direction. May also serve as a refuge island for pedestrians.
- two or more similar pedestrian-related elements located in close proximity in the public
- (See Visual Contrast.)
- Counter Slope:
- any slope opposing the running grade of a portion of the pedestrian
access route; in particular, the cross slope of the road or gutter pan at
the base of a curb ramp or flush landing.
- Cross Slope:
- the slope or grade
of a surface perpendicular to the running grade.
- that part of a roadway where motorists
are required to yield to pedestrians
crossing, as defined by state and local regulations, whether marked or
- Curb Line:
- a line that represents the extension of the face of the curb and marks the transition between the public
sidewalk and the gutter or roadway at a curb ramp or flush landing.
- Curb Ramp:
- a short section of the pedestrian access route, with a running grade
greater than 1:20, that joins the street elevation to the public sidewalk elevation, through a cut in the curb face. (Formerly
called "perpendicular curb ramp," related subject found at Transition Ramp.)
- Detectable Warning:
- a standardized surface feature
built in or applied to walking surfaces or other elements to warn people who
are blind or visually impaired of specified hazards.
- a device used for determining the presence or passage of
vehicles or pedestrians. May be an active
system that requires a pedestrian to push a button, or a passive system that
automatically detects vehicles or pedestrians by such means as video,
microwave, infrared, or embedded loops.
- a private vehicular way giving access from a public right-of-way to adjacent property.
- Eggshell Finish:
- extent of gloss within a range of
from 11 to 19 degree gloss on a 60 degree gloss meter. Eggshell is a
function of reflectivity, not of color or contrast.
- Field of View:
- the maximum angle of transmission, measured from 90 degrees in all directions, within which
remote infrared audible sign systems remain operational, as measured at the receiver.
- a fixed element in the public
right-of-way that is not intended for public use and does not
require clear ground space for approach or use, such as a street light pole,
fire hydrant or signal controller cabinet. (Related subject at Street
- the sloping part of a public
sidewalk adjacent to a curb ramp
that provides a transition between the running grade
of the curb ramp and the public sidewalk level.
- when two portions of public sidewalk
and/or roadway join, without vertical separation or lip.
- Flush Landing:
- a landing on the public
sidewalk side of a sidewalk/street
transition, or where a median or island
is cut through, that is flush with and at the same level as the roadway;
often also the lower landing of a transition ramp.
- the rate of ascent or descent of a surface
with respect to a level plane, expressed as a percent; the change in
elevation per unit of horizontal length.
- Grade Break:
- an abrupt difference between the grade
of two adjacent surfaces.
- traffic barrier used to shield errant vehicles from
potentially hazardous areas.
- a fixed continuous element at a
specified height provided for pedestrian
use where there is a change of elevation, such as ramps, stairs and landings
- Hearing Carry Over (HCO):
- a telecommunication relay service that
enables a person with a speech disability to relay a typed telephone message
through a text telephone (TTY), and to hear responses directly from the
- Improved Surface:
- an area that, by the addition of
materials or its treatment, provides a firm, stable and immovable base for pedestrian
movement. Examples of such materials include asphaltic concrete paving,
portland cement concrete, stone, ceramics, wood, metal, fiberglass, or other
generally firm, stable material. Surfaces that have only firmly packed
earth, gravel base, gravel, vegetation, wood chips, shells, or other
malleable material are not considered, for the purpose of this definition,
to be improved surfaces.
- a defined area between traffic lanes
for control of vehicular movements or for pedestrian
refuge. Within an intersection area, a median is considered to be an island.
- a level area with a cross
slope of less than 1:48 in any direction in a public
sidewalk, adjoining a transition ramp,
curb ramp, ramp or sidewalk/street
transition, used for maneuvering and waiting.
- Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI):
- a pedestrian WALK phase that begins before the green interval serving parallel traffic, rather than at the same time.
- a change of level occurring at the meeting point of two elements in the public right-of-way, such
as at the boundary between a driveway apron and the roadway.
- Locator Tone:
- a repeating sound that informs
approaching pedestrians that they are
required to push a button to actuate pedestrian timing and that enables
pedestrians who are visually impaired to locate the push
- Maneuvering Space:
- an area within the crosswalk
at the foot of a curb ramp that is provided
for users of mobility devices to align properly with the curb ramp.
- Median Refuge:
- an area within an island or median that is intended for pedestrians
to wait safely for an opportunity to continue crossing.
- Mid-block Crosswalk:
- A crosswalk
that is not at an intersection.
- Neighborhood Traffic Circle:
- an intersection treatment in which a small, usually circular, raised island
is placed in an intersection, about which traffic circulates. The
intersection is typically controlled by a YIELD sign on all approaches.
Typically the crosswalks at the intersection
remain unchanged. Sometimes called an intersection island.
- Paging Message:
- a message on a CMS that
"pages up" from the bottom rather than moving from side to side.
- Passenger Loading Zone:
- an area immediately adjacent to, but
offset from the vehicular way, whether marked or unmarked, that is used for
the unloading and loading of passengers from a vehicle.
- a person traveling the public
right-of-way by means of a wheelchair, electric scooter, legs,
crutches or other walking devices or mobility aids.
- Pedestrian Access Route (PAR):
- a corridor of accessible travel through the public right-of-way
that has, among other properties, a specified minimum width and cross
- Pedestrian Clearance Interval:
- that phase of a traffic signal cycle in which pedestrians
in the crosswalk may continue to cross but
pedestrians on the curb should wait for the next cycle, typically indicated
by a flashing illumination of a red hand symbol or the words DON'T WALK.
- Pedestrian Crossing Interval:
- the combined phases of a traffic
signal cycle provided for a pedestrian
crossing in a crosswalk, after leaving the
top of a curb ramp or flush
landing, to travel to the far side of the vehicular way or to a
median, usually consisting of the walk interval plus the pedestrian
- Pedestrian Overpass:
- a grade-separated structure that carries pedestrian traffic over a
road, railroad, waterway or other feature
- Pedestrian Signal Indication:
- the illuminated WALK/DON'T WALK
message (or walking person/hand symbols) that communicate the pedestrian
phase of a traffic signal, and their audible equivalents.
- Pedestrian Underpass:
- a grade-separated
structure that carries pedestrian traffic
under a road or railroad or other feature.
- Pretimed Control:
- a condition at a traffic signal where the
lengths of the red, yellow and green intervals are predetermined.
- Project Area:
- the entire width of the public
right-of-way throughout the length upon which work is proposed
or undertaken. Project area may consist of a single route or multiple
- Public Right-of-way:
- land, property, or interest
therein, usually in a corridor, acquired for or devoted to transportation
purposes and subject to the control of a public agency.
- Public Sidewalk:
- that portion of a public
right-of-way between the curb line or lateral line of a roadway
and the adjacent property line that has an improved surface and is intended
primarily for use by pedestrians.
- Push button:
detector, switching input device provided for pedestrians to actuate
operation of a traffic signal.
- a barrier located near the open sides of
elevated walking surfaces to minimize the possibility of an accidental fall
from the walking surface to the lower level.
- a walking surface, other than a curb
ramp or a transition ramp, which
has a running grade greater than 1:20, built
in compliance with proposed ADAAG Section 405 to provide pedestrian
access to a building or portion of public sidewalk
that is on a different level than the rest of the public sidewalk. Does not
include public sidewalks that follow the running grade of the adjacent
roadway, even if the running grade exceeds 1:20.
- Reduced Vibration Zone:
- a part of the pedestrian
access route that is as free as possible of surface impediments.
- Remote Infrared Audible Signs (RIAS):
- technology that allows a
blind traveler to hear voice messages relayed by infrared signal from a
transmitter, such as at a pedestrian signal, a public building or a private
commercial enterprise, to a personal receiver.
- Right/Left Turn Slip Lane:
- a dedicated lane without stop or yield
control provided at an intersection for the free flow of vehicles turning
right or left.
- a distinctive circular roadway with the following
three critical characteristics: 1) a requirement to yield at entry which
gives a vehicle on the circular roadway the right-of-way; 2) a deflection of
the approaching vehicle around the central island;
and 3) a widening of the approach to match the width of the circular
roadway. Typically has raised splitter islands at the approaches. Usually
used at arterial or collector intersections rather than local streets.
- Running Grade:
- the grade
that is parallel to the direction of travel.
- Scrolling Message:
- a message on a CMS that scrolls
evenly from the right to left rather than moving vertically.
- Shoulder texturing:
- any of a number of warning devices used on the
shoulder pavement to alert inattentive drivers that their vehicle is leaving
the travel lane.
- (See Public Sidewalk.)
- Sidewalk/Street Transition:
- the transition between the public sidewalk and the crosswalk,
accessible parking aisle, accessible loading zone, median refuge, island,
or other location where a pedestrian access route
crosses or enters the roadway or a driveway.
- Signalized Driveway:
- a driveway
that connects to the public way with a signalized intersection.
- having an axis at any angle other than a right angle.
- Splitter Island:
- a raised island placed within a leg of a
roundabout separating entering and exiting traffic.
- Street Furniture:
- fixed elements in the public
right-of-way that are intended for use by the public and that
require clear ground space for approach or use, such as benches, bike racks,
public telephones and parking meters. (Related subject at Fixture.)
- Transition Ramp:
- a short section of the pedestrian
access route, with a running grade
greater than 1:20, that connects the vertical separation of the public
sidewalk in relationship to a roadway or driveway.
Transition ramps are built with the intention of bringing the entire public
sidewalk from the top of curb level down closer to roadway level. (Formerly
called "parallel curb ramp,"
related subject found at Curb Ramp.)
- Variable Message Signs (VMS):
- (See Changeable Message Signs.)
- Visual Contrast:
- light-versus-dark comparison between two surfaces, an object and its immediate surroundings, or, an
object and its perceived background. It is neither an expression of, nor
achieved by, color differences. Visual contrast can be quantified with a
luminance meter that measures the amount of light reflected by each subject
(where zero is total darkness and 100 is theoretical complete light
reflection). It is commonly expressed in percentage as Weber Contrast by the
formula C = (RH - RL) Ö RH X 100, where C represents Weber Contrast, RH
represents the reflectance level of the brighter surface, and RL the
reflectance level of the darker.
- Voice Carry Over (VCO):
- a telecommunication relay service that
enables a person who is hard of hearing, but who wants to use her or his own
voice, to speak directly to the receiving party and to receive responses in
text form through the text telephone (TTY).
- Walk Interval:
- that part of the traffic signal phase in which the pedestrian is to begin
crossing, typically indicated by WALK message or the walking person symbol and its audible equivalent.
- a condition of a surface that is twisted, bent or formed out of a plane.
X01.3 Existing Public Rights-of-Way.
Additions and alterations to existing public rights-of-way shall comply with the provisions of this chapter.
Discussion: The committee
recognizes that construction work in the public right-of-way consists largely of
alterations to existing developed environments. Precedent-setting court cases,
existing DOJ and DOT regulations under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and the
Architectural Barriers Act, and the range and complexity of public right-of-way
design and construction variables make it impossible to develop national
standards applicable to all conditions that may be encountered in a local
alterations project. Accordingly, the committee deferred to the requirements for
alterations in the DOJ title II regulation, which states that:
"each facility or part of a facility altered by, on behalf of, or for the
use of a public entity in a manner that affects or could affect the usability of
the facility or part of the facility shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be
altered in such manner that the altered portion of the facility is readily
accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if the alteration was
commenced after January 26,1992."
This requirement should be broadly understood to require
alterations to conform to each provision of the accessibility standard for new
construction wherever that is feasible. Where it is technically infeasible in
alterations to meet a new construction provision, the maximum feasible
accessibility must be provided within the constraints of that particular
While many questions were posed by and to the committee to
clarify the terms "to the maximum extent feasible" and "technical
infeasibility", the committee did not take action to establish a separate
set of standards for alterations, except in a few instances. Notwithstanding the
constraints of time imposed upon the committee, the committee believed that
setting lesser standards for public sidewalk and curb ramp slope, warp and
flatness, running slope, side flares, curb ramp skew, and directionality would
serve only to lower the bar on alterations for those elements and features that
might be made accessible in the course of public sidewalk or roadway alteration.
Case-by-case professional design judgment, informed by an understanding of the
rationale behind access provisions, must be applied to develop the most usable
solution for each specific environment. The committee will rely on anticipated
technical assistance in guidelines to be developed by the Access Board, in
conjunction with any final rule and possible future committee work, to provide
further clarification as to best practices in the industry.
Each addition to an existing public right-of-way
shall comply with the requirements for new construction.
Where existing elements or spaces in the public
right-of-way are altered, each altered element
or space shall comply with the applicable provisions of this chapter.
1. In alterations, where compliance with applicable provisions is
technically infeasible, the alteration shall provide accessibility to
the maximum extent feasible. Any elements or spaces of the public
right-of-way that are being altered and can be made accessible shall be made
accessible within the scope of the alteration.
2. In alterations to public rights-of-way in a
qualified historic district, where the State Historic Preservation Officer
or appropriate advisory group determines that compliance with the
requirements for pedestrian access routes, ramps,
entrances, crosswalks or public
sidewalks would threaten or destroy the historic significance of
the public right-of-way or facility, the alternative alteration provisions
for that element shall be permitted to apply. The purpose of the qualified
historic district or site must be considered before the alterations
provisions for historic properties shall apply and shall be considered on a
historic properties are allowed alternative alteration provisions in the ADA, as
well as current and proposed ADAAG. These provisions allow certain historic
preservation principles to limit the extent to which a historic property is
fully required to comply with the alterations provisions of ADAAG. Title 28 of
the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 35.150(a)(2) says a program shall be
accessible but that this requirement does not "require a public entity to
take any action that would threaten or destroy the historic significance of an
historic property." However, the commentary states that "the special
limitation on program accessibility set forth in paragraph (a)(2) is applicable
only to historic preservation programs, as defined in 35.104." Section
35.104 states, "Historic preservation programs means programs conducted by
a public entity that have preservation of historic properties as a primary
purpose." Therefore, the historic properties provisions apply only to sites
where historic preservation is the primary purpose. It is the intent of the
committee to create an analog for the current and proposed ADAAG provisions to
be applied to the public right-of-way environment. However, the committee wanted
to ensure that the alternative alteration provision under this part was not
broadly construed to apply to all sites or elements within a historic district,
unless the primary purpose of that site or element was historic preservation.
X01.3.3.1 Prohibited Reduction in Access. It
is prohibited to make an alteration that decreases or has the effect of
decreasing the accessibility of a public right-of-way or site arrival
points to buildings or facilities adjacent to the altered portion of the
public right-of-way, below the requirements for new construction at the
time of the alteration.
Discussion: The committee
considered text that would require the provision of a pedestrian access route to
every address served by a blocked public sidewalk. This would ensure that
coincident construction could not eliminate public sidewalks and curb ramps
necessary to maintain access. This was deferred as a maintenance issue under the
'Maintenance of Accessible Features' provision in the DOJ title II regulation
X01.3.3.2 Extent of Application. An
alteration of an existing element, space, or area of a public right-of-way
shall not impose a requirement for accessibility greater than required for
X02 New Construction: Minimum Requirements