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The Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) rulemaking has concluded. The PROWAG final rule has been published in the Federal Register. Please visit the Access Board’s PROWAG page for the guidelines.

Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines

Chapter 1:  Application and Administration

R101 Purpose and Application

R101.1 Purpose

These guidelines contain scoping and technical requirements to ensure that pedestrian facilities located in the public right-of-way (including a public right-of-way that forms the boundary of a site or that lies within a site bounded by a property line), are readily accessible to and usable by pedestrians with disabilities.

R101.2 Application to ADA-Covered Facilities

These guidelines apply to pedestrian facilities in public rights-of-way to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) (ADA).

R101.3 Application to ABA-Covered Facilities

These guidelines apply to pedestrian facilities in public rights-of-way to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies under the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4151 et seq.) (ABA).

R101.4 Effect on Existing Pedestrian Facilities

These guidelines do not address existing pedestrian facilities unless the pedestrian facilities are altered at the discretion of a covered entity. The Department of Justice has authority over existing facilities that are subject to the requirement for program access under title II of the ADA. Any determination that this document applies to existing facilities subject to the program access requirement is solely within the discretion of the Department of Justice and is effective only to the extent required by regulations issued by the Department of Justice.

R102 Deviations from These Guidelines

R102.1 ADA-Covered Facilities and Equivalent Facilitation

The use of alternative designs, products, or technologies that result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability than the requirements in these guidelines shall be permitted for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way subject to the ADA.

R102.2 ABA-Covered Facilities and Waivers or Modifications

Equivalent facilitation is not permitted for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way subject to the ABA. The ABA authorizes the Administrator of the General Services Administration, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of the Department of Defense, and the United States Postal Service to modify or waive the accessibility standards for buildings and facilities covered by the ABA on a case-by-case basis, upon application made by the head of the department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States concerned and upon a determination that the waiver is clearly necessary. Pursuant to Section 502(b)(1) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 792(b), the Access Board shall ensure that modifications and waivers are based on findings of fact and are not inconsistent with the ABA.

R103 Conventions

R103.1 Conventional Industry Tolerances

All dimensions are subject to conventional industry tolerances except where requirements are stated as a range with specific minimum or maximum endpoints.

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.

R103.3 Units of Measurement

Measurements are stated in U.S. customary units and metric units. The values stated in each system (U.S. customary units and metric units) may not be exact equivalents, and each system shall be used independently of the other. Slopes are expressed in terms of both ratios and percentages. Ratios and percentages may not be exact equivalents, and each shall be used independently of the other.

R104 Definitions

R104.1 Undefined Terms

Terms that are not defined in R104.3 or in regulations issued by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation under the ADA, the four standard setting agencies under the ABA or other federal agencies that adopt these guidelines as accessibility standards shall be given their ordinarily accepted meaning in the sense that the context implies.

R104.2 Interchangeability

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

R104.3 Defined Terms

For the purpose of these guidelines, the following terms have the indicated meaning:

A pedestrian facility or element in the public right-of-way that complies with these guidelines.
Accessible Pedestrian Signal
A device that communicates information about pedestrian signal timing in non-visual formats such as audible tones or speech messages, and vibrating surfaces.
Alteration or altered
A change to or an addition of a pedestrian facility in an existing, developed public right-of-way that affects or could affect pedestrian access, circulation, or usability.
Blended Transition
A wraparound connection at a corner, or a flush connection where there is no curb to cut through, other than a curb ramp.
Block Perimeter
The near side of the streets surrounding a block. For example, on a square block bounded by Main Street to the south, Pine Street to the north, 1st Street to the east, and 2nd Street to the west, the block perimeter includes the north side of Main Street, the south side of Pine Street, the west side of 1st Street, and the east side of 2nd Street.
Boarding Platform
A platform raised above standard curb height used for transit vehicle boarding and alighting.
Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.
That part of a roadway that is located at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the pedestrian circulation paths on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway, and in the absence of a pedestrian circulation path on one side of the roadway, the part of a roadway included within the extension of the lateral lines of the pedestrian circulation path at right angles to the center line;
or at any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated as a pedestrian crossing by pavement marking lines on the surface.
Crosswalks at intersections may be marked or unmarked.
Cross Slope
The slope that is perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel.
A raised feature along the side of a street that delineates the edge of the roadway or pedestrian circulation path.
Curb Line
A line at the face of the curb that marks the transition between the curb and the gutter or street.
Curb Ramp
A sloped connection that is cut through or built up to a curb. Curb ramps may be perpendicular or parallel to the curb or to the street they serve or be a combination thereof.
Detectable Warning Surface
A standardized surface feature built in or applied to pedestrian circulation paths and other pedestrian facilities to warn of hazards.
Containing buildings, pedestrian facilities, roadways, utilities, or elements.
An architectural or mechanical component of a building, pedestrian facility, space, site, or public right-of-way.
See Running slope.
Grade Break
The line where two surface planes with different running slopes meet.
A general term denoting a public way for purposes of vehicular travel, including the entire area within the public right-of-way.
The area between two roadways of a divided highway measured from edge of traveled way to edge of traveled way. The median excludes turn lanes. The median width might be different between intersections, interchanges, and at opposite approaches of the same intersection.
Operable Part
A component of an element used to insert or withdraw objects, or to activate, deactivate, or adjust the element, or to interact with the element.
Parallel Curb Ramp
A curb ramp with a running slope that is parallel to the curb or street it serves.
Passenger Loading Zone
An area that is specifically designed or designated for loading and unloading passengers, but that does not primarily serve vehicles on a fixed or scheduled route.
A person on foot, travelling by wheelchair or other mobility device, on skates, or on a skateboard.
Pedestrian Access Route
An accessible, continuous, and unobstructed path of travel for use by pedestrians with disabilities within a pedestrian circulation path.
Pedestrian Activated Warning Devices
Devices that are installed in conjunction with a warning sign and are activated to alert vehicle operators to the presence of a pedestrian, such as rectangular rapid flashing beacons.
Pedestrian Change Interval
An interval during which the flashing upraised hand (symbolizing “don’t walk”) signal indication is displayed.
Pedestrian Circulation Path
A prepared exterior or interior surface provided for pedestrian use in the public right-of-way.
Pedestrian Facility
A structure, route, or space for pedestrian circulation or use located in the public right-of-way.
Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon
A special type of hybrid beacon used to warn and control traffic at an unsignalized location to assist pedestrians in crossing a street at a marked crosswalk.
Pedestrian Refuge Island
A defined area 72 inches (1828 mm) long minimum in the direction of pedestrian travel located between traffic lanes for pedestrian refuge within a median, splitter island, or channelizing island.
Pedestrian Signal Head
A device containing the walking person symbol (symbolizing “walk”) and the upraised hand symbol (symbolizing “don’t walk”), that is installed to direct pedestrian traffic at a crosswalk.
Perpendicular Curb Ramp
A curb ramp with a running slope that is perpendicular to the curb or the street it serves.
Public Right-of-Way
Public land acquired for or dedicated to transportation purposes, or other land where there is a legally established right for use by the public for transportation purposes.
Push Button
A button to activate a device or signal timing for pedestrians, bicyclists, or others crossing a roadway.
Push Button Locator Tone
A repeating sound that informs approaching pedestrians that a push button exists to actuate pedestrian timing or receive additional information and that enables pedestrians who are blind or have low vision to locate the push button.
Qualified Historic Building or Facility
A building or 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.
A sloped walking surface with a running slope steeper than 1:20 (5.0%) that accomplishes a change in level and is not part of a pedestrian circulation path that follows the roadway grade. A curb ramp is not a ramp.
That portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel and parking lanes, but exclusive of the sidewalk, berm, or shoulder.
A circular intersection with yield control at entry, which permits a vehicle on a circular roadway to proceed, and with deflection of the approaching vehicle counterclockwise around a central island.
Running Slope
The slope that is parallel to the direction of pedestrian travel.
Shared Use Path
A multi-use path designed primarily for use by bicyclists, pedestrians, and other authorized motorized and non-motorized users, for transportation purposes, and that may also be used for recreation. Shared use paths are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier and are either within the highway or other public right-of-way.
That portion of a highway between the curb line, or the lateral line of a roadway, and the adjacent property line, or on easements of private property, that is paved or improved and intended for use by pedestrians.
Splitter Island
A median island used to separate opposing directions of traffic entering and exiting a roundabout.
A change in elevation comprised of at least one tread and riser. A curb is not a stair.
Standard Curb Height
The typical height of a curb according to local standards for a given road type, but usually between 3 inches (75 mm) and 9 inches (230 mm) high relative to the surface of the roadway or gutter.
See Roadway.
Transit Shelter
A structure provided at a transit stop to provide passengers protection from the weather.
Transit Stop
An area that is designated for passengers to board or alight from buses, rail cars, and other transportation vehicles that operate on a fixed route or scheduled route, including bus stops and boarding platforms.
This definition does not include intercity rail except where a stop is located in the public right-of-way.
Transitional Segment
The portion of a pedestrian circulation path that connects adjacent surfaces with different slopes or dimensions to provide a smooth transition.
Traveled Way
The portion of the roadway for the movement of vehicles, exclusive of the shoulder, berm, sidewalk, and parking lane.
A method of communicating information by touch using a vibrating surface.
Walk Interval
An interval during which the walking person (symbolizing “walk”) signal indication is displayed.

Technical Assistance

Contact the Access Board for assistance on these guidelines