Chapter R1: Application and Administration


R101 Purpose

R101.1 General. This document contains scoping and technical requirements to ensure that facilities for pedestrian circulation and use located in the public right-of-way are readily accessible to and usable by pedestrians with disabilities. Compliance with this document is mandatory when required by regulations issued by federal agencies that include accessibility standards for the design, construction, and alteration of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way.

Advisory R101.1 General. Sections marked as “advisory” contain advisory information related to the preceding section. Advisory sections do not establish mandatory requirements. Some advisory sections reference related mandatory requirements to alert readers about those requirements.

R101.2 Effect on Existing Facilities. This document does not address existing facilities unless the facilities are included within the scope of an alteration undertaken at the discretion of a covered entity.

Advisory R101.2Effect on Existing Facilities. 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 of the Rehabilitation Act also contain requirements for recipients of federal financial assistance from the Department regarding compliance planning. See 49 CFR 27.11 (c).

R102 Equivalent Facilitation.
The use of alternative designs, products, or technologies that result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability than the requirements in this document is permitted.

R103 Conventions

R103.1 Conventional Industry Tolerances. Dimensions are subject to conventional industry tolerances except where dimensions are stated as a range.

Advisory R103.1.1 Conventional Industry Tolerances. Conventional industry tolerances include tolerances for field conditions and tolerances that may be a necessary consequence of a particular manufacturing process. Conventional industry tolerances do not apply to design work.

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 is permitted.

R103.3 Units of Measurement. Measurements are stated in metric and U.S. customary units. The values stated in each system (metric and U.S. customary units) may not be exact equivalents, and each system shall be used independently of the other.

Advisory R103.3 Units of Measurement. Users should work entirely within one system of measurement, either metric or U.S. customary units. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-compliance.

Figure R103 Graphic Convention for Figures

Dimension lines showing International System of Units (in millimeters unless otherwise noted) above the line of US customary units (in inches unless otherwise noted) below.  Small measurements show the dimension with an arrow pointing to the dimension line.  Dimension ranges are shown above the line in inches and below the line in millimeters.  (Min( refers to minimum, and (max( refers to the maximum.  Mathematical symbols indicate (greater than,( “greater than or equal to,” (less than,( and “less than or equal to.”  A dashed line identifies the boundary of clear floor space or maneuvering space.  A line with alternating shot and long dashes with a (c( and (l( at the end indicate the centerline.  A dashed line with longer spaces indicates a permitted element or its extension.  An arrow is to identify the direction of travel or approach.  Gray shading is used to show an element in elevation or plan.  Hatching is used to show the location zone of elements, controls, or features.

R104 Referenced Standards

R104.1 Incorporation by Reference. The specific editions of the 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 the standards for incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of the referenced standards may be inspected at the Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004; or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of the referenced standards at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to:

R104.2 MUTCD.  The portions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD), 2009 Edition, that are incorporated by reference in this document consist of definitions (see R105.2) and standard statements, as defined in section 1A.13 of the MUTCD (see R205, R209, and R306.3).  Guidance, option, and support statements, as defined in section 1A.13 of the MUTCD, shall be used to assist in the interpretation of the standard statements. Where there are differences between this document and the referenced standards, this document applies. The MUTCD is available on the Federal Highway Administration website at Printed copies may be purchased from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 444 N Capitol Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (

Advisory R104.2 MUTCD. MUTCD definitions and standard statements are referenced in the following sections of this document:

  • R105.2 references definitions in section 1A.13 of the MUTCD;
  • R205 references standard statements in sections 6D.01, 6D.02, 6G.05, 6F.63, 6F.68, and 6F.71 of the MUTCD for providing alternate pedestrian access routes when a pedestrian circulation path is temporarily closed;
  • R209 references standard statements in sections 4E.08 through 4E.13 of the MUTCD for accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons; and
  • R306.2 references standard statements in section 4E.06 of the MUTCD for pedestrian signal phase timing.

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 Standards. Terms used in specific sections of the MUTCD that are incorporated by reference in this document shall have the meaning specified in section 1A.13 of the MUTCD (incorporated by reference, see R104.2). In addition, the following terms shall have the meaning specified in section 1A.13 of the MUTCD (incorporated by reference, see R104.2): highway, intersection, island, median, pedestrian, roundabout, sidewalk, splitter island, and street.

R105.3 Undefined Terms. The meaning of terms not specifically defined in R105.5, the referenced standards, or regulations issued by Federal agencies that adopt this document as accessibility 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 document.

Alteration. A change to a facility in the public right-of-way that affects or could affect pedestrian access, circulation, or use. Alterations include, but are not limited to, resurfacing, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, or changes or rearrangement of structural parts or elements of a facility.

Blended Transition. A raised pedestrian street crossing, depressed corner, or similar connection between the pedestrian access route at the level of the sidewalk and the level of the pedestrian street crossing that has a grade of 5 percent or less.

Cross Slope. The grade that is perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel.

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 ramp that cuts through or is built up to the curb. Curb ramps can be perpendicular or parallel, or a combination of parallel and perpendicular ramps.

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 the public right-of-way.

Grade Break. The line where two surface planes with different grades meet.

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

Pedestrian Access Route. A continuous and unobstructed path of travel provided for pedestrians with disabilities within or coinciding with a pedestrian circulation path.

Pedestrian Circulation Path. A prepared exterior or interior surface provided for pedestrian travel in the public right-of-way.

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

Qualified Historic Facility.  A facility that is listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, or designated as historic under an appropriate state or local law.

Running Slope. The grade that is parallel to the direction of pedestrian travel.

Vertical Surface Discontinuities.  Vertical differences in level between two adjacent surfaces.