sidewalk guidelines

sidewalk access and federal standards

sidewalk guidelines

sidewalk access
and federal standards

sidewalk access

The public right-of-way environment can and should provide a safe and enjoyable means of transportation for all people. However, because of the broad range of user abilities, sidewalks can often times hinder or even block access. Therefore, assessing your sidewalk environment is essential and foundational in order to best serve and protect the public, meet federal regulations, and prevent any liability.

sidewalk access

an environment for everyone

The public right-of-way environment can and should provide a safe and enjoyable means of transportation for all people. However, because of the broad range of user abilities, sidewalks can often times hinder or even block access for certain individuals.

every sidewalk environment should...

Public streets and sidewalks are the common means by which individuals of a society access and participate in their community. The mode of transportation varies widely between train, automobile, foot, wheelchair, stroller, bike, and more. Public rights-of-way serve many additional functions as well, such as access to power, utility, and private property, thus adding to the complexity. With so many users and functions, public rights-of-way demand a high standard of universal design in order to meet a variety of needs and abilities. The Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee’s (PROWAAC) special report from 2007, entitled Accessible Public Rights-of-Way Planning and Design for Alterations, explains:

Designs are now expected to reflect equity and context and to balance pedestrian and vehicular use. The design pedestrian is now understood to be not an individual but a range of users—children, elders, people pushing or pulling strollers and delivery carts, using a wheelchair or scooter, or traveling with a long/white cane or a service animal—for all of whom the roadway and pedestrian environment must function effectively.

All individuals should be provided the right to fully participate in their communities. When certain individuals with specific abilities are not considered in the design of public rights-of-way, those individuals are inadvertently excluded from access to their communities, becoming isolated from the rest of society. Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access; Best Practices and Design Guide Part 2 states:

If neighborhoods do not have a safe, comfortable, and convenient pedestrian system, this can leave people isolated in their own homes and unable to participate in everyday activities. Given the broad influence of environmental factors on the individual’s level of function, professionals who design or construct sidewalk or trail environments have a significant influence over whether individuals will be able to use and enjoy the sidewalk and trail environments that they create….

When a person’s independence is denied because of facilities not being accessible, the person, their family, and society pays the cost of their isolation and dependence.

Limitations on the use of public facilities do not only negatively affect a significant portion of society, but now constitute a federal crime. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in private as well as state and local government sectors. By requiring access to programs and services, transportation, the built environment, employment, and communication, the ADA effectively enforces careful consideration of individuals of all abilities in the design and construction of new facilities and the alteration of existing facilities. Designing public environments for only a specific portion of society is not an option. However, the ADA requirements represent the minimum design standards. Designers are encouraged to go above and beyond the federal regulations, considering how best to creatively provide safe, comfortable, and easy access for people of all abilities.

the Law

federal regulations

current laws

The current federal standards, such as the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, primarily address facilities on sites while not specifically focusing on the sidewalk environment. While some guidelines may overlap, the Department of Justice has not yet adopted the Proposed Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG).

Even so, according to the the ADA, compliance with best practices is the best solution to avoiding discrimination and ensuring open access to all. As the Access Board points out, “Jurisdictions must continue to design and construct new and altered pedestrian facilities that are accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.”1

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990…

All entities must...

Title II of the ADA, 28 CFR Section 35.105:

  1. A public entity shall, within one year of the effective date of this part, evaluate its current services, policies, and practices, and the effects thereof, that do not or may not meet the requirements of this part and, to the extent modification of any such services, policies, and practices is required, the public entity shall proceed to make the necessary modifications.
  2. A public entity shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the self-evaluation process by submitting comments.
  3. A public entity that employs 50 or more persons shall, for at least three years following completion of the self-evaluation, maintain on file and make available for public inspection:
    1. A list of the interested persons consulted;
    2. A description of areas examined and any problems identified; and
    3. A description of any modifications made.

Title II of the ADA, 28 CFR Section 35.150(d)(1):

In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, a public entity that employs 50 or more persons shall develop, within six months of January 26, 1992, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. A public entity shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments. A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection.

Title II of the ADA, 28 CFR Section 35.150(d)(3):

The plan shall, at a minimum –

    1. Identify physical obstacles in the public entity’s facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities;
    2. Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;
    3. Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and
    4. Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.

Title II of the ADA, 28 CFR Section 35.150(d)(2):

If a public entity has responsibility or authority over streets, roads, or walkways, its transition plan shall include a schedule for providing curb ramps or other sloped areas where pedestrian walks cross curbs, giving priority to walkways serving entities covered by the Act, including State and local government offices and facilities, transportation, places of public accommodation, and employers, followed by walkways serving other areas.

Title II of the ADA, 28 CFR Section 35.150(d)(3):

The plan shall, at a minimum –

    1. Identify physical obstacles in the public entity’s facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities;
    2. Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;
    3. Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and
    4. Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.

Title II of the ADA, 28 CFR Section 35.133:

    1. A public entity shall maintain in operable working condition those features of facilities and equipment that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities by the Act or this part.
    2. This section does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs.
    3. If the 2010 Standards reduce the technical requirements or the number of required accessible elements below the number required by the 1991 Standards, the technical requirements or the number of accessible elements in a facility subject to this part may be reduced in accordance with the requirements of the 2010 Standards.

how can accessibility be achieved without specific federal standards?

Due to the lack of specific guidance on sidewalk accessibility, the Access Board has been developing the Proposed Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way. These requirements have also been known as the Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG). While these guidelines await adoption by the Department of Justice, the DOT currently identifies these accessibility guidelines as best practice for achieving sidewalk accessibility. The full proposed guidelines for the public right-of-way are available at the US Access Board website. Upon adoption by the Department of Justice, these new guidelines will become enforceable standards under title II of the ADA.

1  United States Access Board, “Chapter 1: Introduction” in “Special Report: Accessible Public Rights-of-Way Planning and Design for Alterations”, accessed 5 November 2019, https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/streets-sidewalks/public-rights-of-way/guidance-and-research/accessible-public-rights-of-way-planning-and-design-for-alterations/chapter-1%E2%80%94introduction

the proposed

Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way

The full proposed guidelines for the public right-of-way are available at the US Access Board website. The following information is a sample of some of those guidelines as of November 2019.

proposed technical requirements

Upon adoption by the Department of Justice, these guidelines will become federal law.

pedestrian access routes

R302.3 Continuous Width. Except as provided in R302.3.1, the continuous clear width of pedestrian access routes shall be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum, exclusive of the width of the curb.

Advisory R302.3 Continuous Width. The continuous clear width requirements in R302.3 apply to sidewalks and other pedestrian circulation paths, pedestrian street crossings and at-grade rail crossings, and pedestrian overpasses and underpasses and similar structures (see R302.2). Clear width requirements are contained in R304.5.1 for curb ramps and blended transitions, and in R407.4 for ramps. Where sidewalks are wider than 1.2 m (4.0 ft), only a portion of the sidewalk is required to comply with the requirements in R302.3 through R302.7. Additional maneuvering space should be provided at turns or changes in direction, transit stops, recesses and alcoves, building entrances, and along curved or angled routes, particularly where the grade exceeds 5 percent. R210 prohibits street furniture and other objects from reducing the minimum clear width of pedestrian access routes.

R302.3.1 Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Islands. The clear width of pedestrian access routes within medians and pedestrian refuge islands shall be 1.5 m (5.0 ft) minimum.

R302.4 Passing Spaces. Where the clear width of pedestrian access routes is less than 1.5 m (5.0 ft), passing spaces shall be provided at intervals of 61 m (200.0 ft) maximum. Passing spaces shall be 1.5 m (5.0 ft) minimum by 1.5 m (5.0 ft) minimum. Passing spaces are permitted to overlap pedestrian access routes.

R302.5 Grade. Except as provided in R302.5.1, where pedestrian access routes are contained within a street or highway right-of-way, the grade of pedestrian access routes shall not exceed the general grade established for the adjacent street or highway. Where pedestrian access routes are not contained within a street or highway right-of-way, the grade of pedestrian access routes shall be 5 percent maximum.

R302.5.1 Pedestrian Street Crossings. Where pedestrian access routes are contained within pedestrian street crossings, the grade of the pedestrian access route shall be 5 percent maximum.

R302.6 Cross Slope. Except as provided in R302.6.1 and R302.6.2, the cross slope of pedestrian access routes shall be 2 percent maximum.

Advisory R302.6 Cross Slope. The cross slope requirements in R302.6 apply to sidewalks and other pedestrian circulation paths, pedestrian street crossings and at-grade rail crossings, and pedestrian overpasses and underpasses and similar structures (see R302.2). The cross slope of the pedestrian access route is measured perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel. Cross slope requirements are contained in R304.5.3 for curb ramps and blended transitions, and in R407.3 for ramps.

R302.6.1 Pedestrian Street Crossings Without Yield or Stop Control. Where pedestrian access routes are contained within pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control, the cross slope of the pedestrian access route shall be 5 percent maximum.

Advisory R302.6.1 Pedestrian Street Crossings Without Yield or Stop Control. Pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control are crossings where there is no yield or stop sign, or where there is a traffic signal that is designed for the green phase. At pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control, vehicles can proceed through the intersection without slowing or stopping. Where pedestrian access routes are contained within pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control, the cross slope of the pedestrian access route must be 2 percent maximum (see R302.6). At pedestrian street crossings with yield or stop control, vehicles slow or stop before proceeding through the intersection.

R302.6.2 Midblock Pedestrian Street Crossings. Where pedestrian access routes are contained within midblock pedestrian street crossings, the cross slope of the pedestrian access route shall be permitted to equal the street or highway grade.

R302.7 Surfaces. The surfaces of pedestrian access routes and elements and spaces required to comply with R302.7 that connect to pedestrian access routes shall be firm, stable, and slip resistant and shall comply with R302.7.

Advisory R302.7 Surfaces. The surface requirements in R302.7 apply to sidewalks and other pedestrian circulation paths, pedestrian street crossings and at-grade rail crossings, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses and similar structures, and curb ramps and blended transitions (see R302.2). The surface requirements in R302.7 also apply to surfaces at the following accessible elements and spaces that connect to pedestrian access routes:

  • Clear spaces (see R404.2), including clear spaces at operable parts (see R403.2) such as accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons (see R209), clear spaces at street furniture such as benches (see R212.6), and clear spaces within transit shelters (see R308.2);
  • Boarding and alighting areas and boarding platforms at transit stops (see R308.1.3.1);
  • Access aisles at accessible parking spaces (see R309.2.1 and R309.3) and accessible passenger loading zones (see R310.3.4); and
  • Ramp runs and landings (see R407.7).

R302.7.1 Vertical Alignment. Vertical alignment shall be generally planar within pedestrian access routes (including curb ramp runs, blended transitions, turning spaces, and gutter areas within pedestrian access routes) and surfaces at other elements and spaces required to comply with R302.7 that connect to pedestrian access routes. Grade breaks shall be flush. Where pedestrian access routes cross rails at grade, the pedestrian access route surface shall be level and flush with the top of rail at the outer edges of the rails, and the surface between the rails shall be aligned with the top of rail.

Advisory R302.7.1 Vertical Alignment. Pedestrian access route surfaces must be generally planar and smooth. Surfaces should be chosen for easy rollability. Surfaces that are heavily textured, rough, or chamfered and paving systems consisting of individual units that cannot be laid in plane will greatly increase rolling resistance and subject pedestrians who use wheelchairs, scooters, and rolling walkers to the stressful and often painful effects of vibration. Such materials should be reserved for borders and decorative accents located outside of or only occasionally crossing the pedestrian access route. Surfaces should be designed, constructed, and maintained according to appropriate industry standards, specifications, and recommendations for best practice.

R302.7.2 Vertical Surface Discontinuities. Vertical surface discontinuities shall be 13 mm (0.5 in) maximum. Vertical surface discontinuities between 6.4 mm (0.25 in) and 13 mm (0.5 in) shall be beveled with a slope not steeper than 50 percent. The bevel shall be applied across the entire vertical surface discontinuity.

Advisory R302.7.2 Vertical Surface Discontinuities. The allowance for vertical surface discontinuities is for occasional expansion joints and objects such as utility covers, vault frames, and gratings that cannot be located in another portion of the sidewalk outside the pedestrian access route. However, objects such as utility covers, vault frames, and gratings should not be located on curb ramp runs, blended transitions, turning spaces, or gutter areas within the pedestrian access route. This may not always be possible in alterations, but should be avoided wherever possible. Vertical surface discontinuities between unit pavers should be minimized.

R302.7.3 Horizontal Openings. Horizontal openings in gratings and joints shall not permit passage of a sphere more than 13 mm (0.5 in) in diameter. Elongated openings in gratings shall be placed so that the long dimension is perpendicular to the dominant direction of travel.

R302.7.4 Flangeway Gaps. Flangeway gaps at pedestrian at-grade rail crossings shall be 64 mm (2.5 in) maximum on non-freight rail track and 75 mm (3 in) maximum on freight rail track.

Advisory R302.7.4 Flangeway Gaps. Flangeway gaps are necessary to allow the passage of train wheel flanges. Flangeway gaps pose a potential hazard to pedestrians who use wheelchairs because the gaps can entrap the wheelchair casters.

curb ramps and blended transitions

R207.1 General. 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.

R207.2 Alterations. 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.

Advisory R304.1 General. There are two types of curb ramps:

  • Perpendicular curb ramps have a running slope that cuts through or is built up to the curb at right angles or meets the gutter break at right angles where the curb is curved. On large corner radiuses, it will be necessary to indent the gutter break on one side of the curb ramp in order for the curb ramp to meet the gutter break at right angles.
  • Parallel curb ramps have a running slope that is in-line with the direction of sidewalk travel and lower the sidewalk to a level turning space where a turn is made to enter the pedestrian street crossing.

Perpendicular curb ramps can be provided where the sidewalk is at least 3.7 m (12.0 ft) wide. Parallel curb ramps can be provided where the sidewalk is at least 1.2 m (4.0 ft) wide. Parallel and perpendicular curb ramps can be combined. A parallel curb ramp is used to lower the sidewalk to a mid-landing and a short perpendicular curb ramp connects the landing to the street. Combination curb ramps can be provided where the sidewalk is at least 1.8 m (6.0 ft) wide.

Blended transitions are raised pedestrian street crossings, depressed corners, or similar connections between pedestrian access routes at the level of the sidewalk and the level of the pedestrian street crossing that have a grade of 5 percent or less. Blended transitions are suitable for a range of sidewalk conditions.

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:

  1. Curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings;

curb ramps: perpendicular

R304.2.1 Turning Space. A turning space 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum by 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum shall be provided at the top of the curb ramp and shall be permitted to overlap other turning spaces and clear spaces. Where the turning space is constrained at the back-of-sidewalk, the turning space shall be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum by 1.5 m (5.0 ft) minimum. The 1.5 m (5.0 ft) dimension shall be provided in the direction of the ramp run.

R304.2.2 Running Slope. The running slope of the curb ramp shall cut through or shall be built up to the curb at right angles or shall meet the gutter grade break at right angles where the curb is curved. The running slope of the curb ramp shall be 5 percent minimum and 8.3 percent maximum but shall not require the ramp length to exceed 4.5 m (15.0 ft). The running slope of the turning space shall be 2 percent maximum.

R304.2.3 Flared Sides. Where a pedestrian circulation path crosses the curb ramp, flared sides shall be sloped 10 percent maximum, measured parallel to the curb line.

Advisory R304.2.3 Flared Sides. The flared sides are part of the pedestrian circulation path, but are not part of the pedestrian access route. Curb ramps whose sides have returned curbs provide useful directional cues where they are aligned with the pedestrian street crossing and are protected from cross travel by landscaping, street furniture, chains, fencing, or railings.

R304.5.1 Width. The clear width of curb ramp runs (excluding any flared sides), blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum.

R304.5.2 Grade Breaks. Grade breaks at the top and bottom of curb ramp runs shall be perpendicular to the direction of the ramp run. Grade breaks shall not be permitted on the surface of ramp runs and turning spaces. Surface slopes that meet at grade breaks shall be flush.

R304.5.3 Cross Slope. The cross slope of curb ramps, blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 2 percent maximum. At pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control and at midblock pedestrian street crossings, the cross slope shall be permitted to equal the street or highway grade.

Advisory R304.5.3 Cross Slope. Pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control are crossings where there is no yield or stop sign, or where there is a traffic signal that is designed for the green phase. At pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control, vehicles can proceed through the intersection without slowing or stopping.

R304.5.4 Counter Slope. The counter slope of the gutter or street at the foot of curb ramp runs, blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 5 percent maximum.

R304.5.5 Clear Space. Beyond the bottom grade break, a clear space 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum by 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum shall be provided within the width of the pedestrian street crossing and wholly outside the parallel vehicle travel lane.

curb ramps: parallel

R304.3.1 Turning Space. A turning space 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum by 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum shall be provided at the bottom of the curb ramp and shall be permitted to overlap other turning spaces and clear spaces. If the turning space is constrained on 2 or more sides, the turning space shall be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum by 1.5 m (5.0 ft). The 1.5 m (5.0 ft) dimension shall be provided in the direction of the pedestrian street crossing.

R304.3.2 Running Slope. The running slope of the curb ramp shall be in-line with the direction of sidewalk travel. The running slope of the curb ramp shall be 5 percent minimum and 8.3 percent maximum but shall not require the ramp length to exceed 4.5 m (15.0 ft) minimum. The running slope of the turning space shall be 2 percent maximum.

R304.5.1 Width. The clear width of curb ramp runs (excluding any flared sides), blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum.

R304.5.2 Grade Breaks. Grade breaks at the top and bottom of curb ramp runs shall be perpendicular to the direction of the ramp run. Grade breaks shall not be permitted on the surface of ramp runs and turning spaces. Surface slopes that meet at grade breaks shall be flush.

R304.5.3 Cross Slope. The cross slope of curb ramps, blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 2 percent maximum. At pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control and at midblock pedestrian street crossings, the cross slope shall be permitted to equal the street or highway grade.

Advisory R304.5.3 Cross Slope. Pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control are crossings where there is no yield or stop sign, or where there is a traffic signal that is designed for the green phase. At pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control, vehicles can proceed through the intersection without slowing or stopping.

R304.5.4 Counter Slope. The counter slope of the gutter or street at the foot of curb ramp runs, blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 5 percent maximum.

R304.5.5 Clear Space. Beyond the bottom grade break, a clear space 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum by 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum shall be provided within the width of the pedestrian street crossing and wholly outside the parallel vehicle travel lane.

blended transitions

R304.4.1 Running Slope. The running slope of blended transitions shall be 5 percent maximum.

R304.5.1 Width. The clear width of curb ramp runs (excluding any flared sides), blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum.

R304.5.2 Grade Breaks. Grade breaks at the top and bottom of curb ramp runs shall be perpendicular to the direction of the ramp run. Grade breaks shall not be permitted on the surface of ramp runs and turning spaces. Surface slopes that meet at grade breaks shall be flush.

R304.5.3 Cross Slope. The cross slope of curb ramps, blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 2 percent maximum. At pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control and at midblock pedestrian street crossings, the cross slope shall be permitted to equal the street or highway grade.

Advisory R304.5.3 Cross Slope. Pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control are crossings where there is no yield or stop sign, or where there is a traffic signal that is designed for the green phase. At pedestrian street crossings without yield or stop control, vehicles can proceed through the intersection without slowing or stopping.

R304.5.4 Counter Slope. The counter slope of the gutter or street at the foot of curb ramp runs, blended transitions, and turning spaces shall be 5 percent maximum.

R304.5.5 Clear Space. Beyond the bottom grade break, a clear space 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum by 1.2 m (4.0 ft) minimum shall be provided within the width of the pedestrian street crossing and wholly outside the parallel vehicle travel lane.

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:

  1. Curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings;
  2. Pedestrian refuge islands;
  3. Pedestrian at-grade rail crossings not located within a street or highway;
  4. 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
  5. 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.

R305.1 General. Detectable warning surfaces shall consist of truncated domes aligned in a square or radial grid pattern and shall comply with R305.

Advisory R305.1 Dome Size. Where the truncated domes are arrayed radially, they may differ in diameter and center-to-center spacing within the ranges specified in R305.1.1 and R305.1.2.

R305.1.1 Dome Size. The truncated domes shall have a base diameter of 23 mm (0.9 in) minimum and 36 mm (1.4 in) maximum, a top diameter of 50 percent of the base diameter minimum and 65 percent of the base diameter maximum, and a height of 5 mm (0.2 in).

R305.1.2 Dome Spacing. The truncated domes shall have a center-to-center spacing of 41 mm (1.6 in) minimum and 61 mm (2.4 in) maximum, and a base-to-base spacing of 17 mm (0.65 in) minimum, measured between the most adjacent domes.

R305.1.3 Contrast. Detectable warning surfaces shall contrast visually with adjacent gutter, street or highway, or pedestrian access route surface, either light-on-dark or dark-on-light.

Advisory R305.1.3 Contrast. Visual contrast may be provided on the full surface of the curb ramp but should not extend to flared sides. Visual contrast also helps pedestrians who use wheelchairs to locate the curb ramp from the other side of the street.

R305.1.4 Size. Detectable warning surfaces shall extend 610 mm (2.0 ft) minimum in the direction of pedestrian travel. At curb ramps and blended transitions, detectable warning surfaces shall extend the full width of the ramp run (excluding any flared sides), blended transition, or turning space. At pedestrian at-grade rail crossings not located within a street or highway, detectable warnings shall extend the full width of the crossing. At boarding platforms for buses and rail vehicles, detectable warning surfaces shall extend the full length of the public use areas of the platform. At boarding and alighting areas at sidewalk or street level transit stops for rail vehicles, detectable warning surfaces shall extend the full length of the transit stop.

detectable warning surfaces placement

R305.2 Placement. The placement of detectable warning surfaces shall comply with R305.2.

Advisory R305.2 Placement. Some detectable warning products require a concrete border for proper installation. The concrete border should not exceed 51 mm (2 in). Where the back of curb edge is tooled to provide a radius, the border dimension should be measured from the end of the radius.

R305.2.1 Perpendicular Curb Ramps. On perpendicular curb ramps, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed as follows:

  1. Where the ends of the bottom grade break are in front of the back of curb, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed at the back of curb.
  2. Where the ends of the bottom grade break are behind the back of curb and the distance from either end of the bottom grade brake to the back of curb is 1.5 m (5.0 ft) or less, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed on the ramp run within one dome spacing of the bottom grade break.
  3. Where the ends of the bottom grade break are behind the back of curb and the distance from either end of the bottom grade brake to the back of curb is more than 1.5 m (5.0 ft), detectable warning surfaces shall be placed on the lower landing at the back of curb.

Advisory R305.2.1 Perpendicular Curb Ramps. Detectable warning surfaces are intended to provide a tactile equivalent underfoot of the visible curb line. If detectable warning surfaces are placed too far from the curb line because of a large curb radius, the location may compromise effective crossing. Detectable warning surfaces should not be placed on paving or expansion joints. The rows of truncated domes in detectable warning surfaces should be aligned perpendicular to the grade break between the ramp run and the street so pedestrians who use wheelchairs can “track” between the domes. Where detectable warning surfaces are provided on a surface with a slope that is less than 5 percent, dome orientation is less critical.

R305.2.2 Parallel Curb Ramps. On parallel curb ramps, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed on the turning space at the flush transition between the street and sidewalk.

R305.2.3 Blended Transitions. On blended transitions, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed at the back of curb. Where raised pedestrian street crossings, depressed corners, or other level pedestrian street crossings are provided, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed at the flush transition between the street and the sidewalk.

R305.2.4 Pedestrian Refuge Islands. At cut-through pedestrian refuge islands, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed at the edges of the pedestrian island and shall be separated by a 610 mm (2.0 ft) minimum length of surface without detectable warnings.

Advisory R305.2.4 Pedestrian Refuge Islands. The edges of cut-through pedestrian refuge islands can provide useful cues to the direction of the crossing.

R305.2.5 Pedestrian At-Grade Rail Crossings. At pedestrian at-grade rail crossings not located within a street or highway, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed on each side of the rail crossing. The edge of the detectable warning surface nearest the rail crossing shall be 1.8 m (6.0 ft) minimum and 4.6 m (15.0 ft) maximum from the centerline of the nearest rail. Where pedestrian gates are provided, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed on the side of the gates opposite the rail.

R305.2.6 Boarding Platforms. At boarding platforms for buses and rail vehicles, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed at the boarding edge of the platform.

R305.2.7 Boarding and Alighting Areas. At boarding and alighting areas at sidewalk or street level transit stops for rail vehicles, detectable warning surfaces shall be placed at the side of the boarding and alighting area facing the rail vehicles.

pedestrian street crossing

R306.2 Pedestrian Signal Phase Timing. All pedestrian signal phase timing shall comply with section 4E.06 of the MUTCD (incorporated by reference, see R104.2 and shall be based on a pedestrian clearance time that is calculated using a pedestrian walking speed of 1.1 m/s (3.5 ft/s) or less.

R306.3 Roundabouts. Where pedestrian facilities are provided at roundabouts, they shall comply with R306.3.

Advisory R306.3 Roundabouts. Pedestrian street crossings at roundabouts can be difficult for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision to identify because the crossings are located off to the side of the pedestrian circulation path around the street or highway. The continuous traffic flow at roundabouts removes many of the audible cues that pedestrians who are blind use to navigate pedestrian street crossings. Water fountains and other features that produce background noise should not be placed in the middle island of a roundabout because pedestrians who are blind use auditory cues to help detect gaps in traffic. Multi-lane pedestrian street crossings at roundabouts involve an increased risk of pedestrian exposure to accident.

R306.3.1 Separation. Where sidewalks are flush against the curb and pedestrian street crossing is not intended, a continuous and detectable edge treatment shall be provided along the street side of the sidewalk. Detectable warning surfaces shall not be used for edge treatment. Where chains, fencing, or railings are used for edge treatment, they shall have a bottom edge 380 mm (15 in) maximum above the sidewalk.

Advisory R306.3.1 Separation. Carefully delineated pedestrian street crossing approaches with plantings or other defined edges provide effective non-visual cues for identifying pedestrian street crossings at roundabouts. European and Australian roundabouts provide a 610 mm (24 inch) width of tactile surface treatment from the centerline of the curb ramp or blended transition across the full width of the sidewalk to provide an underfoot cue for identifying pedestrian street crossings. Detectable warning surfaces should not be used to guide pedestrians who are blind or have low vision to pedestrian street crossings because detectable warning surfaces indicate the flush transition between the sidewalk and the street or highway. Schemes that remove cyclists from the street or highway by means of a ramp that angles from the curb lane to the sidewalk and then provide re-entry by means of a similar ramp beyond pedestrian street crossings can provide false cues to pedestrians who are using the edge of the sidewalk for wayfinding about the location of pedestrian street crossings.

R306.3.2 Pedestrian Activated Signals. At roundabouts with multi-lane pedestrian street crossings, a pedestrian activated signal complying with R209 shall be provided for each multi-lane segment of each pedestrian street crossing, including the splitter island. Signals shall clearly identify which pedestrian street crossing segment the signal serves.

Advisory R306.3.2 Pedestrian Activated Signals. Roundabouts with single-lane approach and exit legs are not required to provide pedestrian activated signals. Pedestrian activated signals must comply with the requirements for accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons (see R209). Pedestrian activated signals installed at splitter islands should be carefully located and separated so that signal spillover does not give conflicting information about which pedestrian street crossing has the WALK indication displayed. Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons can be used at roundabouts (see MUTCD sections 4F.01 through 4F.03). Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons are traffic signals that consist of a yellow signal centered below two horizontally aligned red signals. The signals are normally not illuminated. The signals are initiated only upon pedestrian activation and can be timed to minimize the interruption of traffic. The signals cease operation after the pedestrian clears the crosswalk. When activated by a pedestrian, the following signals are displayed to drivers: a flashing yellow signal, then a steady yellow signal, then two steady red signals during the pedestrian walk interval, and then alternating flashing red signals during the pedestrian clearance interval. The following signals are displayed to pedestrians: a steady upraised hand (symbolizing DON’T WALK) when the flashing or steady yellow signal is operating, then a walking person (symbolizing WALK) when the steady red signals are operating, and then a flashing upraised hand (symbolizing DON’T WALK) when the alternating flashing red signals are operating.

R306.4 Channelized Turn Lanes at Roundabouts. At roundabouts with pedestrian street crossings, pedestrian activated signals complying with R209 shall be provided at pedestrian street crossings at multi-lane channelized turn lanes.

R306.5 Channelized Turn Lanes at Other Signalized Intersections. At signalized intersections other than roundabouts with pedestrian street crossings, pedestrian activated signals complying with R209 shall be provided at pedestrian street crossings at multi-lane channelized turn lanes.

accessible pedestrian signals and pedestrian pushbuttons

R209.1 General. 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.

R209.2 Alterations Existing pedestrian signals shall comply with R209.1 when the signal controller and software are altered, or the signal head is replaced.

transit stops

R308.1 Transit Stops. Transit stops shall comply with R308.1.

Advisory R308.1 Transit Stops. Transit stops should be located so that there is a level and stable surface for boarding vehicles. Locating transit stops at signalized intersections increases the usability for pedestrian with disabilities. Where security bollards are installed at transit stops, they must not obstruct the clear space at boarding and alighting areas or reduce the required clear width at pedestrian access routes (see R210).

boarding and alighting areas

R308.1.1 Boarding and Alighting Areas. Boarding and alighting areas at sidewalk or street level transit stops shall comply with R308.1.1 and R308.1.3. Where transit stops serve vehicles with more than one car, boarding and alighting areas serving each car shall comply with R308.1.1 and R308.1.3.

Advisory R308.1.1 Boarding and Alighting Areas. Where a transit shelter is provided, the boarding and alighting area can be located either within or outside of the shelter.

R308.1.1.1 Dimensions. Boarding and alighting areas shall provide a clear length of 2.4 m (8.0 ft) minimum, measured perpendicular to the curb or street or highway edge, and a clear width of 1.5 m (5.0 ft) minimum, measured parallel to the street or highway.

R308.1.1.2 Grade. Parallel to the street or highway, the grade of boarding and alighting areas shall be the same as the street or highway, to the extent practicable. Perpendicular to the street or highway, the grade of boarding and alighting areas shall not be steeper than 2 percent.

boarding platforms

R308.1.2.1 Platform and Vehicle Floor Coordination. Boarding platforms shall be positioned to coordinate with vehicles in accordance with the applicable requirements in 49 CFR parts 37 and 38.

Advisory R308.1.2.1 Platform and Vehicle Floor Coordination. The Department of Transportation regulations (49 CFR parts 37 and 38) require the height of the vehicle floor and the station platform to be coordinated so as to minimize the vertical and horizontal gaps.

R308.1.2.2 Slope. Boarding platforms shall not exceed a slope of 2 percent in any direction. Where boarding platforms serve vehicles operating on existing track or existing street or highway, the slope of the platform parallel to the track or the street or highway is permitted to be equal to the grade of the track or street or highway.

R308.1.3.1 Surfaces. The surfaces of boarding and alighting areas and boarding platforms shall comply with R302.7.

Advisory R308.1.3.1 Surfaces. Detectable warning surfaces are required at boarding and alighting areas for rail vehicles and at boarding platforms for buses and rail vehicles (see R208).

R308.1.3.2 Connection. Boarding and alighting areas and boarding platforms shall be connected to streets, sidewalks, or pedestrian circulation paths by pedestrian access routes complying with R302.

transit shelters

R308.2 Transit Shelters. Transit shelters shall be connected by pedestrian access routes complying with R302 to boarding and alighting areas or boarding platforms complying with R308.1. Transit shelters shall provide a minimum clear space complying with R404 entirely within the shelter. Where seating is provided within transit shelters, the clear space shall be located either at one end of a seat or shall not overlap the area within 460 mm (1.5 ft) from the front edge of the seat. Environmental controls within transit shelters shall be proximity-actuated. Protruding objects within transit shelters shall comply with R402.

Advisory R308.2 Transit Shelters. The clear space must be located entirely within the transit shelter and not interfere with other persons using the seating.