Executive Summary

June 2011

This report assesses the potential costs and benefits of proposed accessibility guidelines issued by the Access Board for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way. The report also analyzes the potential impacts of the proposed guidelines on small governmental jurisdictions with populations less than 50,000.

The Access Board is responsible for developing accessibility guidelines for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities to ensure that the facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The Access Board's guidelines play an important part in the implementation of three laws that require newly constructed and altered facilities to be accessible to individuals with disabilities: the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Architectural Barriers Act. These laws require other federal agencies to issue regulations which include accessibility standards for the design, construction, and alteration of facilities that are consistent with the Access Board's guidelines. The regulations issued by the other federal agencies adopt, with or without additions and modifications, the Access Board's guidelines as accessibility standards and establish the effective dates for compliance with the accessibility standards.

In the Americans with Disabilities Act, Congress directed the Access Board to issue accessibility guidelines to eliminate the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers experienced by individuals with disabilities. The Access Board's current accessibility guidelines were developed primarily for building and facilities on sites. The proposed guidelines are developed specifically for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, and address conditions and constraints that exist in the public right-of-way. The guidelines ensure that sidewalks, pedestrian street crossings, pedestrian signals, and other facilities for pedestrian circulation and use constructed or altered in the public right-of-way by state and local governmental units are readily accessible to and usable by pedestrians with disabilities. For ease of reference, these state and local governmental units are referred to as "state and local transportation departments" in this report but may go by different names (e.g., public works departments, or highway or streets departments) in their respective jurisdictions.

All state transportation departments and most local transportation departments maintain design manuals and standard drawings for improvements in the public right-of-way. The local transportation department design manuals and standard drawings are generally consistent with their state transportation department design manuals and standard drawings. State and local transportation departments use publications issued by the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in their design manuals and standard drawings, including the "Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets" (2004) (commonly referred to as the "AASHTO Green Book") and the "Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities" (2004) which incorporate accessibility in the design of sidewalks and pedestrian street crossings. The Federal Highway Administration as part of its stewardship and oversight responsibilities has also worked with state transportation departments to incorporate accessibility in their design manuals and standards drawings. The Federal Highway Administration has issued guidance that the 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 of the Rehabilitation Act are to be used to the extent feasible for the design of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way until new accessibility standards are adopted for these facilities.
In the absence of the proposed guidelines, the regulatory assessment assumes that state and local transportation departments will use the 2010 Standards in the Department of Justice regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ( "DOJ 2010 Standards") to the extent feasible when designing, constructing, or altering pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, consistent with the guidance issued by the Federal Highway Administration, as well as other applicable standards and industry practices. An analysis of the proposed guidelines compared to the DOJ 2010 Standards, other applicable standards, and industry practices is included in the appendix to the regulatory assessment. The analysis identified four requirements in the proposed guidelines that will have more than minimal impacts on state and local transportation departments. The factors used to identify whether the requirements in the proposed guidelines will have more than minimal impacts are discussed in this report under the Baseline. The four requirements in the proposed guidelines that will have more than minimal impacts on state and local transportation departments are summarized in the table below, along with a description of the governmental units affected by proposed requirements and questions in the preamble to the proposed guidelines that seek additional information on the governmental units affected.

Requirements in Proposed Guidelines That Will Have More Than Minimal Impacts on State and Local Transportation Departments

Requirement: Detectable warning surfaces required on newly constructed and altered curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings (R208.1 and R305)
Will affect state and local transportation departments that do not currently provide detectable warning surfaces on curb ramps

Governmental Units Affected: All state transportation departments currently specify detectable warning surfaces on curb ramps in their standard drawings; most local transportation departments maintain standard drawings that are consistent with standard drawings maintained by their state transportation departments

Questions 4, 5, and 6 in preamble seek information on state and local transportation departments that do not currently provide detectable warning surfaces on curb ramps

Requirement: Accessible pedestrian signals and pushbuttons required when pedestrian signals newly installed or replaced at signalized intersections (R209)

Governmental Units Affected: Will affect state and local transportation departments that do not currently provide accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons when pedestrian signals are newly installed or replaced at signalized intersections

Some state and local transportation departments currently provide accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons when pedestrian signals are newly installed or replaced at signalized intersections; TEA-21 (23 U.S.C. 217 (g)) directed that audible traffic signals be included in transportation plans and projects where appropriate

Question 9 in preamble seeks information on state and local transportation departments that currently provide accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons when pedestrian signals are newly installed or replaced at signalized intersections

Requirement: Maximum cross slope of 2 percent required on pedestrian access routes, including within pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control (R204.3 and R302.6)

Governmental Units Affected: Will affect state and local transportation departments that construct new tabled intersections in hilly urban areas which contain pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control

Question 14 in preamble seeks information on the current design policies and practices of state and local transportation departments with respect to tabling newly constructed intersections in hilly urban areas, particularly with respect to extending the tabling to pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control

Requirement: Pedestrian activated signals required at roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian crossings (R206 and R306.3.2)

Governmental Units Affected: Will affect state and local transportation departments that construct new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings

The Access Board entered into an interagency agreement with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) to gather data and prepare cost estimates for the regulatory assessment. The cost estimates prepared by the Volpe Center are summarized in the table below, along with questions in the preamble to the proposed guidelines that seek additional information to refine the cost estimates.

Estimated Total Annual Costs for Requirements That Will Have More Than Minimal Impacts on State and Local Transportation Departments

Requirement:
Detectable warning surfaces required on newly constructed and altered curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings (R208.1 and R305)

Additional Costs Per Element or Facility Due to Requirement:
$48 to $240 for detectable warning materials for typical curb ramp

Question 8 in preamble seeks additional information on costs for detectable warning materials and installation of the materials on typical curb ramp

Number of Elements or Facilities Constructed or Altered on Annual Basis:
No information available

Question 7 in preamble seeks information on number of curb ramps that are constructed or altered on an annual basis in the public right-of-way

Total Annual Costs for Requirement:
No estimate provided

Total annual costs will depend on number of state and local transportation departments that do not currently provide detectable warning surfaces on curb ramps, and number of curb ramps that they construct or alter on an annual basis


Requirement:
Accessible pedestrian signals and pushbuttons required when pedestrian signals newly installed or replaced at signalized intersections (R209)

Additional Costs Per Element or Facility Due to Requirement:
$3,600 per signalized intersection

Question 10 in preamble seeks additional information on costs for providing accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons at signalized intersections

Number of Elements or Facilities Constructed or Altered on Annual Basis:
Pedestrian signals newly installed or replaced at 13,095 signalized intersections on an annual basis

Total Annual Costs for Requirement:
$47 million


Requirement:
Maximum cross slope of 2 percent required on pedestrian access routes, including within pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control (R204.3 and R302.6)

Additional Costs Per Element or Facility Due to Requirement:
$60,000 per tabled intersection

Question 15 in preamble seeks additional information on costs to extend tabling of newly constructed intersections in hilly urban areas to pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control

Number of Elements or Facilities Constructed or Altered on Annual Basis:
No information available

Question 16 in preamble seeks information on number of tabled intersections which contain pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control that are newly constructed in hilly urban areas on an annual basis

Total Annual Costs for Requirement:
No estimate provided

Total annual costs will depend on number of tabled intersections which contain pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control that are newly constructed in hilly urban areas on an annual basis


Requirement:
Pedestrian activated signals required at roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian crossings (R206 and R306.3.2)

Additional Costs Per Element or Facility Due to Requirement:
$90,000 to $230,000 per roundabout

Question 19 in preamble seeks additional information on costs to provide pedestrian activated signals at roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian crossings

Number of Elements or Facilities Constructed or Altered on Annual Basis:
27 new roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings constructed on an annual basis

Total Annual Costs for Requirement:
$2.4 million to
$6.2 million

The Access Board will analyze the information received in response to the questions in the preamble to the proposed guidelines and revise the regulatory assessment when the final guidelines are issued