Conclusion & Notes

Based on the analysis of the information in this report, the Access Board has made a preliminary determination that the benefits of the proposed guidelines justify the costs. The Access Board has also analyzed the impacts of the proposed guidelines on small governmental jurisdictions and determined that there are no significant alternatives that will minimize any significant impacts on small governmental jurisdictions and achieve the objectives of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Architectural Barriers Act to eliminate the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers in the design and construction of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way.

 

Notes

1 The Access Board consists of 13 members appointed by the President from the public, a majority of which are individuals with disabilities, and the heads of 12 federal agencies or their designees whose positions are Executive Level IV or above. The federal agencies are: The Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; General Services Administration; and United States Postal Service.

2 Other titles of the Americans with Disabilities Act cover employers (Title I), private entities that own, lease, or operate places of public accommodation and commercial facilities (Title III), and telecommunications (Title IV). This report focuses on Title II because pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way are constructed and altered by state and local governments.

3 Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act contains two subtitles. Subtitle A applies to all state and local government programs, services, and activities. Subtitle B contains two parts. Subtitle B, Part I applies to designated public transportation provided by state and local governments by bus, rail, or other conveyance (other than aircraft or intercity or commuter rail) as a general or special service (including charter service) to the general public on a regular and continuing basis. Subpart B, Part II applies to public transportation provided by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and commuter authorities by intercity and commuter rail. The Department of Justice is responsible for issuing regulations to implement Subtitle A of Title II, except for matters within the scope of authority of the Department of Transportation under Parts I and II of Subtitle B of Title II. See 42 U.S.C. 12134. The Department of Transportation is responsible for issuing regulations to implement Parts I and II of Subtitle B of Title II. See 42 U.S.C. 12149 and 12164.

4 Subtitle A of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that the regulations issued by the Department of Justice include accessibility standards that are "consistent with the minimum guidelines and requirements issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board." 42 U.S.C. 12134(c). The accessibility standards issued by the Department of Justice can include additional or modified requirements provided they are consistent with the Access Board's guidelines.

5 In September 2010, the Department of Justice issued regulations with revised accessibility standards for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (DOJ 2010 Standards). See 75 FR 56164 (September 15, 2010). Compliance with the DOJ 2010 Standards is required on or after March 15, 2012. State and local governments are permitted to comply with earlier standards (DOJ 1991 Standards without the elevator exception or UFAS) or the DOJ 2010 Standards between September 15, 2010 and March 14, 2012. Additional information on the applicable standards and their effective dates is available on the Department of Justice website at: http://www.ada.gov/revised_effective_dates-2010.htm. The DOJ 2010 Standards are available on the Department of Justice website at: http://www.ada.gov/2010ADAstandards_index.htm.

6 Parts I and II of Subtitle B of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act require that the regulations issued by the Department of Transportation include accessibility standards that are "consistent with the minimum guidelines and requirements issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board." 42 U.S.C. 12149 (b) and 12163. The accessibility standards issued by the Department of Transportation can include additional or modified requirements provided they are consistent with the Access Board's guidelines.

7 See Department of Transportation "Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations" at: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/bicycle-ped.html.

8 The Architectural Barriers Act also covers facilities constructed, altered, or leased by federal agencies; and facilities constructed or altered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. See 42 U.S.C. 4151 (1), (2), and (4).

9 The accessibility standards issued by the General Services Administration apply to all facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act, except for postal, military, and residential facilities. The United States Postal Service is responsible for issuing accessibility standards for postal facilities; the Department of Defense is responsible for issuing accessibility standards for military facilities; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for issuing accessibility standards for residential facilities. See 42 U.S.C. 4153, 4154, and 4154a.

10 101 Cong. Rec. H4629 and 4630 (July 12, 1990); 101 Cong. Rec. S9695 (July 13, 1990).

11 The 2004 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines are codified in 36 CFR part 1191and consist of six appendices:

  • Appendix A is the Table of Contents to the guidelines;
  • Appendix B contains ADA Chapters 1 and 2, which include application and scoping requirements for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Appendix C contains ABA Chapters 1 and 2, which include application and scoping requirements for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act;
  • Appendix D contains Chapters 3 through 10, which include common technical requirements for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Architectural Barriers Act;
  • Appendix E contains the index of terms and list of figures included in the guidelines; and
  • Appendix F contains additions and modifications to the guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation.

The DOJ 2010 Standards and the Department of Transportation standards for transportation facilities used in the provision of transportation services covered by the transportation parts of Title II of the ADA and facilities covered by Section 504 adopt Appendices B and D, with additions and modifications. The General Services Administration standards for facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act adopt Appendices C and D, without additions and modifications.

12 The term "site" is defined in the 1991 ADAAG (see 3.5) and 2004 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines (see 106.5 and F106.5) as a "parcel of land bounded by a property line or a designated portion of a public right-of-way."

13 The reports on the research sponsored by the Access Board and technical assistance materials on accessible design of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way are available on the Access Board website at:
http://www.access-board.gov/prowac/index.htm.

14 The following organizations were members of the advisory committee: AARP, America Walks, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Council of the Blind, American Institute of Architects, American Public Transit Association, American Public Works Association, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Bicycle Federation of America, Californians for Disability Rights, Canadian Standards Association (Technical Committee on Barrier-Free Design), City of Birmingham (Department of Planning, Engineering and Permits), Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Federal Highway Administration, Hawaii Commission on Persons with Disabilities, Hawaii Department of Transportation, Institute of Traffic Engineers, Los Angeles Department of Public Works (Bureau of Street Services), Massachusetts Architectural Access Board, Municipality of Anchorage, National Center for Bicycling and Walking, National Council on Independent Living, National Federation of the Blind, New York State Department of Transportation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Portland Office of Transportation, San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability, State of Alaska, TASH, Texas Department of Transportation, and The Seeing Eye.

15 The advisory committee report is available on the Access Board website at: http://www.access-board.gov/prowac/commrept/index.htm.

16 The 2002 and 2005 draft guidelines and comments submitted on the 2002 draft guidelines are available on the Access Board website at: http://www.access-board.gov/prowac/commrept/index.htm.

17 See Volpe Center, "Cost Analysis of Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines" (November 29, 2010). The document is available in the rulemaking docket (ATBCB-2011-0004) at: http://www.regulations.gov.

18 A pedestrian circulation path is a prepared exterior or interior surface provided for pedestrian travel in the public right-of-way (see R105.5).

19 The 2004 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines require accessible routes on sites to connect to site arrival points, including public streets and sidewalks (see 206.2.1 and F206.2.1).

20 The proposed guidelines do not address existing facilities that are not altered. The Department of Justice regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act contain requirements for state and local governments regarding program accessibility and existing facilities. See 28 CFR 35.150. The Department of Transportation regulations implementing Section 504 also contain requirements for recipients of federal financial assistance from the Department on compliance planning. See 49 CFR 27.11 (c). When the Department of Justice and Department of Transportation conduct rulemaking to include accessibility standards for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way in regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504, they will address the application of the accessibility standards to existing facilities that are not altered.

21 Private entities that design, construct, or alter places of public accommodation or commercial facilities on sites are required to comply with accessibility standards included in regulations issued by the Department of Justice to implement Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. See 28 CFR 36.401 through 36.406. State or local laws may require sites with frontage on the public right-of-way or frontage that will revert to the public right-of-way to make frontage improvements in accordance with state or local standards which contain accessibility requirements that are similar to the proposed guidelines.

22 The US Census Bureau criteria for classification of urban and rural areas are available on the web at: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/ua/ua_2k.html.

23 Links to the design manuals and standard drawings maintained by state transportation departments are available on the Federal Highway Administration website at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/statemanuals.cfm and http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/statestandards.cfm.

24 The AASHTO "Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets" and "Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities" incorporate accessibility in the design of sidewalks, including minimum clear width, passing spaces, grade, cross slope, protruding objects, and surface treatments; curb ramps, including detectable warning surfaces; pedestrian overpasses and underpasses; and transit stops and transit shelters.

25 See Federal Highway Administration, Office of Program Administration, "Pedestrians and Accessible Design" at:http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/pedestrians.cfm. When the guidance was issued, the applicable accessibility standards in the Department of Justice regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Department of Transportation regulations implementing Section 504 adopted the 1991 ADAAG and permitted the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards to be used.

26 See Federal Highway Administration, "Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory" (January 23, 2006) at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/prwaa.htm.

27 See footnote 5 regarding the DOJ 2010 standards and effective dates.

28 The requirements analyzed in Table 1include: drinking fountains, public toilet facilities, tables, counters, passenger loading zones, ramps, stairways, handrails, doors, doorways, gates, operable parts, clear spaces, knee and toe clearance, and reach ranges.

29 The requirements analyzed in Table 2 include: sidewalks and other pedestrian circulation paths, pedestrian street crossings, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, pedestrian at-grade rail crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, protruding objects, transit stops and transit shelters used by buses and light rail vehicles, on-street parking, and escalators. The requirements for transit stops and transit shelters used by buses and light vehicles are compared to the accessibility standards in the Department of Transportation regulations implementing the public transportation parts of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

30 The requirements analyzed in Table 3 include: alternate pedestrian access routes, pedestrian signal phase timing, accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons, pedestrian street crossings at roundabouts, detectable warning surfaces on curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings, detectable warning surfaces on pedestrian at-grade rail crossings not located within a street or highway, pedestrian signs, and benches.

31 Blended transition perform the same function as curb ramps and connect the pedestrian access route at the level of the sidewalk and the level of the pedestrian street crossing, but have a grade of 5 percent or less (see R105.5). Depressed corners and raised pedestrian street crossings are examples of blended transitions.

32 UFAS was issued in 1984 by the General Services Administration and other federal agencies responsible for issuing accessibility standards for facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act. See 49 FR 31528 (August 7, 1984).

33 Links to each state transportation department's standard drawings that specify detectable warning surfaces on curb ramps are available on the Access Board website at: http://www.access-board.gov/prowac/index.htm.

34 The DOJ 1991 Standards require detectable warning surfaces to extend the full width and depth of the curb ramp (see 4.7.7, Appendix E to 28 CFR part 36). The Department of Transportation standards require detectable warning surfaces to extend the full width of the curb ramp (exclusive of flared sides) and either the full depth of the curb ramp or 24 inches deep minimum measured from the back of the curb on the ramp surface (see 406.8, Appendix A to 49 CFR part 37). Guidance issued by the Department of Justice permits the use of the Department of Transportation standards for detectable warning surfaces on curb ramps. See Department of Justice, "ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments, Curb Ramps and Pedestrian Crossings" (May 7, 2006) at: http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/toolkitmain.htm.

35 See Department of Justice, "ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments, Curb Ramps and Pedestrian Crossings" (May 7, 2006) at: http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/toolkitmain.htm; and Federal Highway Administration, "Information on Detectable Warnings" (May 6, 2002) at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/dwm.htm.

36 See MUTCD "Frequently Asked Questions – Part 4 – Highway Traffic Signals" at: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/knowledge/faqs/faq_part4.htm.

37 Pedestrian access routes within pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control where vehicles can proceed through the intersection without slowing or stopping are permitted to have a 5 percent maximum cross slope (see R302.6.1).

38 The Volpe Center used the roundabout database at: http://roundabout.kittelson.com/ to estimate the number of new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings that are constructed on an annual basis. During the five year period between 2005 and 2009, 435 roundabouts were constructed, of which 117 were multi-lane. The data was adjusted for a small number of roundabouts that are listed in the database as having an "unknown" number of lanes and for roundabouts that do have any pedestrian facilities (i.e., sidewalks and pedestrian street crossings).

39 "Americans with Disabilities: 2005" (2008) available on the web at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-117.pdf.