How Many Play Components Must Be on an Accessible Route?

Ground-Level Play Components

There are two requirements addressing how many ground-level play components must be on an accessible route:

  • One of Each Type
  • Ground-Level Requirements based on the number of Elevated Play Components

One of Each Type

At least one of each type of ground-level play component that is present in the play area must be on an accessible route.

photo of a play area with composite structure and two spring riders photo of a swing set
To meet the requirement, for example, in the case of a play area including a composite play structure, two spring riders (left) and a swing set (right), an accessible route must connect to at least one spring rider and one swing for one of each type of ground-level play experiences that is present in the play area.

Ground Level Requirements Based on Elevated Play Components

The number and variety of ground-level play components required to be on an accessible route is also determined by the number of elevated components provided in the play area.  The intent of this requirement is to provide a variety of experiences for individuals who choose to remain with their mobility devices, or choose not to transfer to elevated play components.

Table 240.2.1.2
Number of elevated play components providedMinimum number of ground-level play components required to be on accessible routeMinimum number of different types of ground-level play components required to be on accessible route
1 Not applicable Not applicable
2 to 4 1 1
5 to 7 2 2
8 to 10 3 3
11 to 13 4 3
14 to 16 5 3
17 to 19 6 3
20 to 22 7 4
23 to 25 8 4
More than 25 8 plus 1 for each additional 3 over 25, or fraction thereof 5

If ramps provide access to at least 50 percent of the elevated play components – which must include at least three different play types – then additional ground-level components are not required.  An example:  the composite structure of a play area has four elevated play components (bubble panel, slide, steering wheel, and tic-tac-toe panel).  According to the table, a minimum of one ground level play component must be provided, and a minimum of one different type.  The spring rider or swing can be used to meet the “one of each type” requirement and can also be used to meet the minimum number determined by Table 240.2.1.2.  The number of ground-level components determined by “one of each type” can also fulfill the minimum ground level requirement that is indicated by the elevated play components table.

Elevated Play Components

At least 50 percent of the elevated play components must be on an accessible route.  An “elevated play component” is a play component reached from above or below grade, and is part of a composite play structure.

photo of a composite structure with over 20 elevated components Play areas with 20 or more elevated components must use ramps to connect a minimum of 25 percent of those components.  A transfer system or ramps may connect the other elevated play components required on an accessible route.
photo of composite structure with less than 20 elevated components Play areas with less than 20 elevated play components may use a transfer system instead of ramps to connect at least 50 percent of the elevated components.

Step-by-Step Guide

The following step-by-step guide has been provided to assist in evaluating a play area for meeting the minimum requirements of these guidelines.  The guide has been arranged in four steps and provides spaces to fill in numeric values of play components for evaluating a specific play area design.

flowchart described in narrativeSTEP 1 Assess your play area design
This step identifies the number and different types of ground level play components provided in a play area design.  The number of elevated play components is also identified.

STEP 2 Determine what is needed
In some cases, the accessibility guidelines will require additional play components to be provided to meet the minimum requirements.  Step 2 begins identifying what is needed by reading Table 240.2.1.2.  Table 240.2.1.2 establishes a minimum level of ground level play components required to be on an accessible route, based on the number of elevated play components provided.

STEP 3 Compare which is greater
Step 3 compares your results in identifying the number and different types of ground level play components with those required by Table 240.2.1.2.  The greater number is considered to be the minimum number of ground level play components required to be on an accessible route.

STEP 4 Assess how to get there
Step 4 examines the number of elevated play components provided, beginning with the number established in step 1.  Once the number of elevated play components provided is identified, step 4 defines the type of route to be provided to connect to these elevated play components.  Where 20 or more elevated play components are provided, ramps must connect to a minimum of 25% of the elevated play components.  Ramp or transfer systems must connect to the remaining 25%.  If 19 or fewer elevated play components are provided, transfer systems must connect to a minimum of 50% of the elevated play components.

This step-by-step guide is applied using the proposed play area design.

plan view of play area described in the example that includes a spring rider, swing set, banister bars, overhead curved ladder, triple slide, interatctive panel, and transfer system.STEP 1  Number of ground level play components:  3

  • 1 spring rider
  • 2 swings

Number of different types of ground level play components provided:  2

  • spring rider
  • swing

STEP 2  Determining what is needed based on Table 240.2.1.2:

Table 240.2.1.2
Number of elevated play components providedMinimum number of ground-level play components required to be on accessible routeMinimum number of different types of ground-level play components required to be on accessible route
1 Not applicable Not applicable
2 to 4 1 1
5 to 7 2 2

STEP 3  Determining the greater number:  2

In this case, 2 types were provided.  Table 240.2.1.2 requires a minimum of 1.

STEP 4  Assessing how to get there:

Number of elevated = 4 (1 triple slide, 1 interactive panel, 1 overhead curved ladder, 1 banister bars)
50% = 2
Transfer access required to 2 elevated play components as a minimum