This resource is the 2013 Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. It is not the most current version. As of August 8, 2023, the Final Rule on Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines is available.
All newly constructed facilities, altered portions of existing facilities, and elements added to existing facilities for pedestrian circulation and use located in the public right-of-way shall comply with the requirements in this document.
Advisory R201.1 Scope. The requirements in this document are to be applied to all areas of a facility within the scope of the project. Where multiple features of the same type are provided, such as on-street parking spaces, and a percentage of the features are required to be accessible, only the required number of features must comply with the technical requirements in this document and be connected to a pedestrian access route. Where elements are provided on a site that is a designated portion of a public right-of-way, the elements are required to comply with the applicable requirements in this document instead of the requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines (36 CFR part 1191).
R201.2 Temporary and Permanent Facilities
The requirements in this document shall apply to temporary and permanent facilities in the public right-of-way.
Advisory R201.2 Temporary and Permanent Facilities. Temporary pedestrian circulation paths around work zones and portable public toilets are examples of temporary facilities in the public right-of-way that are covered by the requirements in this document.
R201.3 Buildings and Structures
Buildings and structures in the public right-of-way that are not covered by the requirements in this document shall comply with the applicable requirements in 36 CFR part 1191.
Advisory R201.3 Buildings and Structures. Towers and temporary performance stages and reviewing stands are examples of structures that may be provided in the public right-of-way and are not covered by the requirements in this document. These structures are required to comply with the applicable requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines (36 CFR part 1191).
R202 Alterations and Elements Added to Existing Facilities
Alterations and elements added to existing facilities shall comply with R202. Where elements are altered or added and the pedestrian circulation path to the altered or added elements is not altered, the pedestrian circulation path is not required to comply with R204.
Advisory R202.1 General. Where possible, added elements should be located on an existing pedestrian access route.
R202.2 Added Elements
Where elements are added to existing facilities, the added elements shall comply with the applicable requirements for new construction.
Where existing elements, spaces, or facilities are altered, each altered element, space, or facility within the scope of the project shall comply with the applicable requirements for new construction.
Advisory R202.3 Alterations. The alteration of multiple elements or spaces within a facility may provide a cost-effective opportunity to make the entire facility or a significant portion of the facility accessible.
R202.3.1 Existing Physical Constraints
Where existing physical constraints make it impracticable for altered elements, spaces, or facilities to fully comply with the requirements for new construction, compliance is required to the extent practicable within the scope of the project. Existing physical constraints include, but are not limited to, underlying terrain, right-of-way availability, underground structures, adjacent developed facilities, drainage, or the presence of a notable natural or historic feature.
R202.3.2 Transitional Segments
Transitional segments of pedestrian access routes shall connect to existing unaltered segments of pedestrian circulation paths and shall comply with R302 to the extent practicable.
R202.3.3 Reduction in Access Prohibited
An alteration shall not decrease or have the effect of decreasing the accessibility of a facility or an accessible connection to an adjacent building or site below the requirements for new construction in effect at the time of the alteration.
Advisory R202.3.3 Reduction in Access Prohibited. Sidewalk improvements that correct existing excessive cross slope should be carefully planned to avoid creating excessive slope in curb ramps or adding a step at existing building entrances. Solutions may include:
- Split sidewalks that serve building entrances and street or highway at separate levels;
- Sidewalks with greater cross slope along the curb and pedestrian access routes with lesser cross slope along building fronts;
- Pedestrian access routes along the curb and ramped entrances to buildings.
R202.3.4 Alterations to Qualified Historic Facilities
Where the State Historic Preservation Officer or Advisory Council on Historic Preservation determines that compliance with a requirement would threaten or destroy historically significant features of a qualified historic facility, compliance shall be required to the extent that it does not threaten or destroy historically significant features of the facility.
Advisory R202.3.4 Alterations to Qualified Historic Facilities. Where there is a federal agency “undertaking”, as defined in 36 CFR 800.16 (y), the requirements in section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f) and 36 CFR part 800 apply. Location of a facility within an historic district by itself does not excuse compliance with the requirements in this document. The State Historic Preservation Officer or Advisory Council on Historic Preservation must determine that compliance would threaten or destroy historically significant features of the facility. Reproductions or replications of historic facilities are not qualified historic facilities.
R203 Machinery Spaces
Vaults, tunnels, and other spaces used by service personnel only for maintenance, repair, or monitoring are not required to comply with this document.
R204 Pedestrian Access Routes
Pedestrian access routes shall be provided in accordance with R204 and shall comply with R302.
Advisory R204.1 General. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued guidance on the obligations of state and local governments to keep pedestrian access routes open and usable throughout the year, including snow and debris removal. The guidance is available at FHWA’s website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/civilrights/programs/ada_sect504qa.htm.
R204.2 Pedestrian Circulation Paths
A pedestrian access route shall be provided within pedestrian circulation paths located in the public right-of-way. The pedestrian access route shall connect to accessible elements, spaces, and facilities required by this document and to accessible routes required by section 206.2.1 of appendix B to 36 CFR part 1191 or section F206.2.1 of appendix C to 36 CFR 1191 that connect building and facility entrances to public streets and sidewalks.
Advisory R204.2 Pedestrian Circulation Paths. The accessible elements, spaces, and facilities located in the public right-of-way that pedestrian access routes must connect to include accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons (see R209), street furniture (see R212), boarding and alighting areas and boarding platforms at transit stops (see R213 and R308.1.3.2), transit shelters (see R213 and R308.2), accessible on-street parking spaces (see R214 and R309), parking meters and parking pay stations serving accessible parking spaces (see R309.5), and accessible passenger loading zones (see R215 and R310).
R204.3 Pedestrian Street Crossings
A pedestrian access route shall be provided within pedestrian street crossings, including medians and pedestrian refuge islands, and pedestrian at-grade rail crossings. The pedestrian access route shall connect departure and arrival sidewalks.
R204.4 Pedestrian Overpasses and Underpasses
A pedestrian access route shall be provided within overpasses, underpasses, bridges, and similar structures that contain pedestrian circulation paths. Where an overpass, underpass, bridge, or similar structure is designed for pedestrian use only and the approach slope to the structure exceeds 5 percent, a ramp, elevator, limited use/limited application elevator, or platform lift shall be provided. Elevators and platform lifts shall be unlocked during the operating hours of the facility served.
Advisory R204.4 Pedestrian Overpasses and Underpasses. Where an overpass, underpass, bridge, or similar structure is designed for both pedestrian and vehicle use and the pedestrian access route is contained within the street or highway right-of-way, the grade of the pedestrian access route must not exceed the general grade established for the adjacent street or highway (see R302.5). Where the pedestrian access route is not contained within the street or highway right-of-way, the grade of the pedestrian access route must be 5 percent maximum (see R302.5). Where pedestrian overpasses or underpasses provide an alternative pedestrian circulation path to street level crossings, both the pedestrian overpass or underpass and the street level crossing must contain a pedestrian access route. State and local governments can provide a ramp, elevator, or lift at overpasses and underpasses designed for pedestrian use only. Long ramps present difficulties for some pedestrians with disabilities and can require snow clearance. Elevators or lifts can require maintenance.
R205 Alternate Pedestrian Access Routes
When a pedestrian circulation path is temporarily closed by construction, alterations, maintenance operations, or other conditions, an alternate pedestrian access route complying with sections 6D.01, 6D.02, and 6G.05 of the MUTCD (incorporated by reference, see R104.2) shall be provided. Where provided, pedestrian barricades and channelizing devices shall comply with sections 6F.63, 6F.68, and 6F.71 of the MUTCD (incorporated by reference, see R104.2).
Advisory R205 Alternate Pedestrian Access Routes. Section 6G.05 of the MUTCD recommends that whenever possible work should be done in a manner that does not create a need to detour pedestrians from existing pedestrian routes. Extra distance and additional pedestrian street crossings add complexity to a trip and increase exposure of risk to accidents. Sections 6D.01and 6G.05 of the MUTCD require alternate pedestrian routes to be accessible and detectable, including warning pedestrians who are blind or have low vision about sidewalk closures. Proximity-actuated audible signs are a preferred means to warn pedestrians who are blind or have low vision about sidewalk closures.
R206 Pedestrian Street Crossings
Pedestrian street crossings shall comply with R306.
Advisory R206 Pedestrian Street Crossings. All pedestrian street crossings must be accessible to pedestrians with disabilities. If pedestrian crossing is prohibited at certain locations, “No Pedestrian Crossing” signs should be provided along with detectable features, such as grass strips, landscaping, planters, chains, fencing, railings, or other barriers.
R207 Curb Ramps and Blended Transitions
A curb ramp, blended transition, or a combination of curb ramps and blended transitions complying with R304 shall connect the pedestrian access routes at each pedestrian street crossing. The curb ramp (excluding any flared sides) or blended transition shall be contained wholly within the width of the pedestrian street crossing served.
In alterations where existing physical constraints prevent compliance with R207.1, a single diagonal curb ramp shall be permitted to serve both pedestrian street crossings.
R208 Detectable Warning Surfaces
R208.1 Where Required
Detectable warning surfaces complying with R305 shall be provided at the following locations on pedestrian access routes and at transit stops:
- Curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings;
- Pedestrian refuge islands;
- Pedestrian at-grade rail crossings not located within a street or highway;
- Boarding platforms at transit stops for buses and rail vehicles where the edges of the boarding platform are not protected by screens or guards; and
- Boarding and alighting areas at sidewalk or street level transit stops for rail vehicles where the side of the boarding and alighting areas facing the rail vehicles is not protected by screens or guards.
Advisory R208.1 Where Required. On pedestrian access routes, detectable warning surfaces indicate the boundary between pedestrian and vehicular routes where there is a flush rather than a curbed connection. Detectable warning surfaces should not be provided at crossings of residential driveways since the pedestrian right-of-way continues across residential driveway aprons. However, where commercial driveways are provided with yield or stop control, detectable warning surfaces should be provided at the junction between the pedestrian route and the vehicular route. Where pedestrian at-grade rail crossings are located within a street or highway, detectable warning surfaces at the curb ramps or blended transitions make a second set of detectable warning surfaces at the rail crossing unnecessary.
Detectable warning surfaces are not intended to provide wayfinding for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision. Wayfinding can be made easier by:
- Sidewalks that provide a clear path free of street furniture;
- Visual contrast between walking and non-walking areas (e.g., planted borders);
- Route edges that are clear and detectable by cane;
- Direct pedestrian street crossings and curb ramps that are in-line with direction of travel;
- Small corner radiuses that permit pedestrian street crossings to be as short and direct as possible;
- Orthogonal intersections that facilitate navigation using parallel and perpendicular vehicle sound cues; and
- Barriers where pedestrian travel or crossing is not permitted.
R208.2 Where Not Required
Detectable warning surfaces are not required at pedestrian refuge islands that are cut-through at street level and are less than 1.8 meters (6.0 ft) in length in the direction of pedestrian travel.
Advisory R208.2 Where Not Required. Detectable warning surfaces are not required at cut-through pedestrian refuge islands that are less than 1.8 meters (6.0 ft) in length because detectable warning surfaces must extend 610 millimeters (2.0 ft) minimum on each side of the island and be separated by 610 millimeters (2.0 ft) minimum length of island without detectable warning surfaces (see R305.1.4 and R305.2.4). Installing detectable warning surfaces at cut-through pedestrian islands that are less than 1.8 meters (6.0 ft) in length would compromise the effectiveness of detectable warning surfaces. Where a cut-through pedestrian refuge island is less than 1.8 m (6.0 ft) in length and the pedestrian street crossing is signalized, the signal should be timed for a complete crossing of the street.
R209 Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Pedestrian Pushbuttons
Where pedestrian signals are provided at pedestrian street crossings, they shall include accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons complying with sections 4E.08 through 4E.13 of the MUTCD (incorporated by reference, see R104.2). Operable parts shall comply with R403.
Advisory R209 Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Pedestrian Pushbuttons. An accessible pedestrian signal and pedestrian pushbutton is an integrated device that communicates 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.
Existing pedestrian signals shall comply with R209.1 when the signal controller and software are altered, or the signal head is replaced.
R210 Protruding Objects
Protruding objects shall comply with the applicable requirements in R210.
Advisory R210.1 Protruding Objects. Protruding objects can be hazardous for pedestrians, especially pedestrians who are blind or have low vision. The requirements for protruding objects in R402 apply across the entire width of the pedestrian circulation path, not just the pedestrian access route. In addition, objects must not reduce the clear width required for pedestrian access routes. State and local governments must comply with the requirements for protruding objects and maintain the clear width of pedestrian access routes when installing or permitting the installation of street furniture on sidewalks, including street lights, utility poles and equipment cabinets, sign posts and signs, parking meters, trash receptacles, public telephones, mailboxes, newspaper vending machines, benches, transit shelters, kiosks, bicycle racks, planters and planted trees, and street sculptures. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recommends that local governments use an encroachment permit process to regulate the use of sidewalks by private entities for activities such as outdoor dining, vending carts and stands, and street fairs in order to control protruding objects and maintain the clear width of pedestrian access routes. See AASHTO, Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities (2004), section 3.2.3.
R210.2 Pedestrian Circulation Paths Other Than Shared Use Paths
Objects along or overhanging any portion of a pedestrian circulation path other than a shared use path shall comply with R402 and shall not reduce the clear width required for pedestrian access routes.
R210.3 Shared Use Paths
Objects shall not overhang or protrude into any portion of a shared use path at or below 2.4 m (8.0 ft) measured from the finish surface.
Signs shall comply with R211. Where audible sign systems and other technologies are used to provide information equivalent to the information contained on pedestrian signs and transit signs, the signs are not required to comply with R211.2 and R211.3.
**Advisory R211.1 General. ** Audible sign systems and other technologies that provide information equivalent to the information contained on signs are more usable by pedestrians who are blind or have low vision. Remote infrared audible signs that transmit information to portable devices that are carried by and audible only to the user are an example of audible sign systems and other technologies.
R211.2 Pedestrian Signs
Signs, other than transit signs, that provide directions, warnings, or other information for pedestrians only shall comply with R410.
Advisory R211.2 Pedestrian Signs. Pedestrian route signs along an historic trail, sidewalk closure and pedestrian detour signs, and tourist information signs are examples of signs that provide directions, warnings, or other information for pedestrians only. Signs provided for motorists and pedestrians such as highway and street name signs are not required to comply with R410.
R211.3 Transit Signs
Signs that identify the routes served by transit stops shall comply with R410.
Advisory R211.3 Transit Signs. Transit schedules, timetables, and maps are not required to comply with R410.
R211.4 Accessible Parking Space and Passenger Loading Zone Signs
Accessible parking spaces and accessible passenger loading zones shall be identified by signs displaying the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with R411. At accessible parallel parking spaces and accessible passenger loading zones, the signs shall be located at the head or foot of the parking space or passenger loading zone.
R212 Street Furniture
Where provided, street furniture shall comply with the applicable requirements in R212.
R212.2 Drinking Fountains
Drinking fountains shall comply with sections 602.1 through 602.6 of Appendix D to 36 CFR part 1191.
R212.3 Public Toilet Facilities
Public toilet facilities shall comply with sections 206.2.4 and 603 of Appendix D to 36 CFR part 1191. At least one fixture of each type provided shall comply with sections 604 through 610 of Appendix D to 36 CFR part 1191. Where multiple single-user public toilet facilities are clustered at a single location, at least 5 percent, but no less than one, of single-user toilets at each cluster shall comply with R212.3 and shall be identified by the International Symbol of Accessibility complying with R411.
At least 5 percent, but no less than one, of tables at each location shall comply with section 902 of Appendix D to 36 CFR part 1191.
Counters shall comply with section 904 of Appendix D to 36 CFR part 1191.
At least 50 percent, but no less than one, of benches at each location shall provide clear space complying with R404 adjacent to the bench. The clear space shall be located either at one end of the bench or shall not overlap the area within 460 mm (1.5 ft) from the front edge of the bench. Benches at tables are not required to comply.
Advisory R212.6 Benches. Benches that provide full back support and armrests to assist in sitting and standing are more usable by pedestrians with disabilities.
R213 Transit Stops and Transit Shelters
Where provided, transit stops and transit shelters shall comply with R308.
Advisory R213 Transit Stops and Transit Shelters. Transit stops in the public right-of-way typically serve fixed route bus systems, including bus rapid transit systems, and light rail transit systems. Signs that identify the routes served by the transit stop must comply with the technical requirements for visual characters on signs unless audible sign systems or other technologies are used to provide the information (see R211 and R410). The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued guidance on the obligations of state transportation departments, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit agencies to coordinate the planning and funding of accessibility improvements to transit systems and facilities. The guidance is available at FHWA’s website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/civilrights/memos/ada_memo_clarificationa.htm.
R214 On-Street Parking Spaces
Where on-street parking is provided on the block perimeter and the parking is marked or metered, accessible parking spaces complying with R309 shall be provided in accordance with Table R214. Where parking pay stations are provided and the parking is not marked, each 6.1 m (20.0 ft) of block perimeter where parking is permitted shall be counted as one parking space.
|Total Number of Marked or Metered Parking Spaces on the Block Perimeter||Minimum Required Number of Accessible Parking Spaces|
|1 to 25||1|
|26 to 50||2|
|51 to 75||3|
|76 to 100||4|
|101 to 150||5|
|151 to 200||6|
|201 and over||4% of total|
Advisory R214 On-Street Parking Spaces. The MUTCD contains provisions for marking on-street parking spaces (see section 3B.19). Metered parking includes parking metered by parking pay stations. Where parking on part of the block perimeter is altered, the minimum number of accessible parking spaces required is based on the total number of marked or metered parking spaces on the block perimeter.
R215 Passenger Loading Zones
Where passenger loading zones other than transit stops are provided, at least one accessible passenger loading zone complying with R310 shall be provided for each 30 m (100.0 ft) of continuous loading zone space or fraction thereof.
R216 Stairways and Escalators
Where provided on pedestrian circulation paths, stairways shall comply with R408 and escalators shall comply with section 810.9 of Appendix D to 36 CFR part 1191. Stairways and escalators shall not be part of a pedestrian access route.
Where provided on pedestrian circulation paths, handrails shall comply with R409.
R218 Doors, Doorways, and Gates
Except for shared use paths, doors, doorways, and gates provided at pedestrian facilities shall comply with section 404 of Appendix D to 36 CFR to 36 CFR part 1191.
Advisory R218 Doors, Doorways, and Gates. Enclosed transit shelters are an example of pedestrian facilities where doors and doorways are provided.