Chapter 1


R101 Purpose

R101.1 General. This document contains scoping and technical requirements for accessibility to facilities for pedestrian circulation and use located in the public right-of-way. Advisory notes are for informational purposes only. These requirements are to be applied during the design, construction, additions to, and alterations of facilities in the public right-of-way to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies.

Advisory R101.1 General. Access requirements are also addressed in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), FHWA/US DOT, 2003 ( MUTCD is a reference standard in this guideline.

Key transportation industry guidance documents also address accessibility in the public right-of-way and can provide useful information on design and construction. They include ‘Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities’, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, July 2004 ( and ‘Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access’, FHWA/US DOT September 2001 (

R101.2 Effect on Existing Facilities. This document does not address existing facilities unless they are included in the scope of an alteration undertaken at the discretion of a covered entity. The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Transportation have issued and enforce separate regulations for existing facilities subject to their requirements for program accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Advisory R101.2 Effect on Existing Facilities. The U.S. Department of Justice ADA regulations require that the usability of accessible features be maintained (28 CFR §35.133 and §36.211).

Federal agencies and entities receiving federal funds may also have an obligation for program accessibility under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. For example, state departments of transportation that receive Federal-aid Highway funds must comply with program accessibility requirements issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation at 49 CFR part 27.

R102 Equivalent Facilitation
Nothing in these requirements prevents the use of designs, products, or technologies as alternatives to those prescribed, provided they result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability.

R103 Conventions

R103.1 Dimensions. Dimensions that are not stated as "maximum" or "minimum" are absolute.

R103.1.1 Construction and Manufacturing Tolerances. All dimensions are subject to conventional industry tolerances except where the requirement is stated as a range with specific minimum and maximum end points.

Advisory R103.1.1 Construction and Manufacturing Tolerances. Conventional industry tolerances recognized by this provision include those for field conditions and those that may be a necessary consequence of a particular manufacturing process. Recognized tolerances are not intended to apply to design work.

Information on specific tolerances may be available from industry or trade organizations, code groups and building officials, and published references.

R103.2 Calculation of Percentages. Where the required number of elements or facilities to be provided is determined by calculations of ratios or percentages and remainders or fractions result, the next greater whole number of such elements or facilities shall be provided. Where the determination of the required size or dimension of an element or facility involves ratios or percentages, rounding down for values less than one half shall be permitted.

R103.3 Figures. Unless specifically stated otherwise, figures are provided for informational purposes only.

R103.4 Units of Measurement. Measurements are presented in this document in both metric and U.S. customary units and were developed independently within each system. The relationship between the metric and U.S. customary values is neither an exact (soft) conversion nor a completely rationalized (hard) conversion. The metric values are those that would have been used had the requirements been presented exclusively in metric units; the U.S. customary values are those that would have been used had the requirements been presented exclusively in U.S. customary units. Therefore, the user is advised to work entirely in one system and not attempt to convert directly between the two.

R104 Referenced Guidelines and Standards

R104.1 General. The guidelines and standards listed in R104.2 are incorporated by reference in this document and are part of the requirements to the prescribed extent of each such reference. The Director of the Federal Register has approved these guidelines and standards for incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of the referenced guidelines and standards may be inspected at the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004; at the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, 1425 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC; at the Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Room 10424, Washington DC; or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to:

R104.2 Referenced Guidelines and Standards. The specific edition of the guidelines and standards listed below are referenced in this document. Where differences occur between this document and the reference, this document applies.

R104.2.1 MUTCD. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD), 2003 edition. Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained on-line from the Federal Highway Administration at (see R205 and R302.4).

R104.2.2 ANSI/BHMA. Copies of the referenced standards may be obtained from the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association, 355 Lexington Avenue, 17th floor, New York, NY 10017 (

ANSI/BHMA A156.10-1999 American National Standard for Power Operated Pedestrian Doors (see R411.3).

ANSI/BHMA A156.19-1997 American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors (see R411.3).

ANSI/BHMA A156.19-2002 American National Standard for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors (see R411.3).

R104.2.3 ASME. Copies of the referenced standard may be obtained from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Three Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016 (

ASME A17.1-2000 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, including ASME A17.1a-2002 Addenda and ASME A17.1b-2003 Addenda (see R220; R305.5.5).

R105 Definitions

R105.1 General. For the purpose of this document, the terms defined in R105.5 have the indicated meaning.

R105.2 Terms Defined in Referenced Guidelines and Standards. Terms not defined in R105.5 or in regulations issued by Federal agencies, but specifically defined in a referenced guideline or standard, shall have the specified meaning from the referenced guideline or standard unless otherwise stated.

R105.3 Undefined Terms. The meaning of terms not specifically defined in R105.5 or in regulations issued by Federal agencies or in referenced guidelines and standards shall be as defined by collegiate dictionaries in the sense that the context implies.

R105.4 Interchangeability. Words, terms and phrases used in the singular include the plural and those used in the plural include the singular.

R105.5 Defined Terms.

Accessible. Describes a facility in the public right-of-way that complies with this part.

Accessible Pedestrian Signal. A device that communicates information about the WALK phase in audible and vibrotactile formats.

Alteration. A change to a facility in the public right-of-way that affects or could affect access, circulation, or use.

Blended Transition. A connection with a grade of 5 percent or less between the level of the pedestrian walkway and the level of the crosswalk.

Channelization. The separation or regulation of conflicting traffic movements into definite paths of travel by devices such as cones, tubular markers, vertical panels, drums, barricades, temporary raised islands and barriers, to facilitate the orderly movements of traffic, to separate vehicles and pedestrians, and to protect them from construction or hazardous areas.

Channelized Intersection. An at-grade intersection in which traffic is directed into definite paths by islands.

Crosswalk. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.18).

Cross Slope. The grade that is perpendicular to the direction of accessible pedestrian travel. On a sidewalk, shoulder, or blended transition, it is measured perpendicular to the curb line or edge of the street or highway; on a curb ramp, it is measured perpendicular to the running grade.

Curb Line. A line at the face of the curb that marks the transition between the curb and the gutter, street, or highway.

Curb Ramp. A perpendicular or parallel ramp and its landing that cuts through or is built up to the curb.

Detectable Warning. A surface feature of truncated dome material built in or applied to the walking surface to advise of an upcoming change from pedestrian to vehicular way.

Element. An architectural or mechanical component of a building, facility, space, site, or public right-of-way.

Facility. All or any portion of buildings, structures, improvements, elements, and pedestrian or vehicular routes located in a public right-of-way.

Grade Break. The meeting line of two adjacent surface planes of different grade.

Highway. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.32).

Intersection. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.39).

Island. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.40).

Median. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.48).

Operable Part. A component of an element used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the element.

Pedestrian. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.55).

Pedestrian Access Route. A continuous and unobstructed walkway within a pedestrian circulation path that provides accessibility.

Pedestrian Circulation Path. A prepared exterior or interior way of passage provided for pedestrian travel.

Pushbutton Locator Tone. A repeating sound that identifies the pushbutton location and indicates the need to actuate pedestrian timing.

Public Right-of-Way. Public land or property, usually in interconnected corridors, that is acquired for or devoted to transportation purposes.

Roundabout Intersection. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.68).

Running Slope. The grade that is parallel to the direction of travel, expressed as a ratio of rise to run or as a percent.

Sidewalk. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.73).

Splitter Island. A flush or raised island that separates entering and exiting traffic in a roundabout intersection.

Street. (Shall have the meaning in MUTCD Section 1A13.84).

Street Furniture. Sidewalk equipment or furnishings.

Vibrotactile. A vibrating surface, located on the accessible pedestrian signal button, that communicates information through touch.

Walk Interval. That phase of a traffic signal cycle during which the pedestrian is to begin crossing, typically indicated by a WALK message or the walking person symbol and its audible equivalent.

Walkway. The continuous portion of the pedestrian access route that is connected to street crossings by curb ramps or blended transitions.