Impacts on Small Governmental Jurisdictions

The impacts of the proposed guidelines on small governmental jurisdictions with a population of less than 50,000 are discussed below. This information is required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. §603).

Reasons for issuing proposed accessibility guidelines

The Access Board's current accessibility guidelines, the 2004 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, were developed primarily for buildings and facilities on sites. Some of the requirements in the 2004 ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines can be readily applied to pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, but other requirements need to be adapted for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way. 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.

Objectives of, and legal basis for, proposed accessibility guidelines

The Access Board is required to issue accessibility guidelines by the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. §12204) and Section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. §792) to ensure that newly constructed and altered facilities are readily accessible to and usable by pedestrians with disabilities.

Small governmental jurisdictions affected by proposed accessibility guidelines

The number of small governmental jurisdictions with a population less than 50,000 affected by the proposed guidelines is shown in the table below.

Government Jurisdictions Population Less than 50,000
Source:  US Census Bureau 2002 Census of Governments available at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/gc021x1.pdf.
County 2,178
Municipal 18,824
Town or Township 16,371
Total 37,375

Almost 70 percent of municipal governments (13,038) and more than 75 percent of towns and townships (12,331) have a population of less than 2,500. Many of these small governmental jurisdictions are located in rural areas, which generally do not construct pedestrian transportation networks (e.g., sidewalks, pedestrian street crossings, and pedestrian signals).

Compliance requirements

The proposed accessibility guidelines address the design, construction, and alteration of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, including sidewalks, pedestrian street crossings, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings, pedestrian signals, street furniture (i.e., drinking fountains, public toilet facilities, tables, counters, and benches), pedestrian signs, transit stops and transit shelters for buses and light rail vehicles, on-street parking that is marked or metered, and passenger loading zones. The Section-by-Section Analysis of the preamble describes the proposed accessibility guidelines. Compliance with the proposed accessibility guidelines is not mandatory until they are adopted, without or without additions and modifications, as accessibility standards by other federal agencies. There are no reporting or recordkeeping requirements.

Other federal rules

The Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, and General Services Administration are responsible for issuing accessibility standards that are consistent with the accessibility guidelines issued by the Access Board and are expected to conduct rulemaking to adopt the proposed guidelines, with or without additions and modifications, as accessibility standards in regulations implementing Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (28 CFR part 36 and 49 CFR part 37), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (49 CFR part 27), and the Architectural Barriers Act (41 CFR part 102). Additional information on these laws and regulations is provided under the Statutory and Regulatory Background in the preamble to the proposed guidelines.

Significant alternatives which minimize any significant economic impacts on small entities

The regulatory assessment analyzes the following four requirements in the proposed guidelines that will have more than minimal impacts on state and local transportation departments:

  • Detectable warning surfaces required on newly constructed and altered curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings (see R208.1 and R305). Detectable warning surfaces consist of small truncated domes that are detectable underfoot. Where curb ramps or blended transitions are provided at pedestrian street crossings, detectable warning surfaces indicate the boundary between a pedestrian route and a vehicular route for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision in place of the missing curb.
  • Accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons required when pedestrian signals newly installed or replaced at signalized intersections (see R209). Accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons communicate the information about the WALK and DON'T WALK intervals at signalized intersections in non-visual formats (i.e., audible tones and vibrotactile surfaces) to pedestrians who are blind or have low vision.
  • Maximum cross slope of 2 percent required on pedestrian access routes, including within pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control. Cross slope is the slope perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel. Cross slope impedes travel by pedestrians who use wheeled mobility devices since energy must be expended to counteract the perpendicular force of the cross slope. The 2 percent maximum cross slope required on pedestrian access routes has more than minimal impacts on the construction of new tabled intersections in hilly urban areas that contain pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control where vehicles slow or stop before proceeding through the intersection.
  • Pedestrian activated signals at roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings. A roundabout is a circular intersection with yield control at entry, which permits a vehicle on the circulatory roadway to proceed, and with deflection of the approaching vehicle counter-clockwise around a central island. Pedestrian activated signals are required at roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings to facilitate crossing by pedestrians who are blind or have low vision. Small governmental jurisdictions with a population less than 50,000 are not likely to construct roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings and will not be affected by this requirement.

There are no significant alternatives that will minimize any significant impacts of these requirements 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.