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design and engineeringother measures

the walking environment

roadway design

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ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) design

People with disabilities who experience higher than normal levels of risk include developmentally restricted persons, users of wheelchairs, people who walk with special aids (including the temporarily impaired, such as people using crutches), and the visually impaired.

While improvements for persons with disabilities were mandated by the Federal Government to ensure access and mobility for those with physical limitations, most of these improvements benefit all walkers. Some of the items mentioned previously, such as adequate time to cross streets, well designed curb ramps, limited driveways, and sidewalks that are wide and clear of obstructions with minimal cross slope are examples of design features that will accommodate pedestrians with disabilities, persons using strollers, and indeed, all pedestrians.

All new construction or retrofit projects must include curb ramps (wheelchair ramps) that comply with ADA requirements. Agencies should review their street system to identify other barriers to accessibility and prioritize the needed improvements. Examples of barriers that are often overlooked include poles and signs in the middle of a sidewalk, steeply sloped driveways, and interruptions such as broken or missing sidewalk sections. An adequate level of surveillance and maintenance can also be important to providing accessibility, especially in winter months in areas where snow accumulates.

Street designs that accommodate people with disabilities create a better walking environment for all pedestrians.

The material provided on this page is from the FHWA publication "Pedestrian Facilities User Guide." This guide is currently under review by practicioners and others in the field. Subsequently, the material provided on this page is subject to change in the future.

school zone improvements

identify neighborhood

speed monitoring trailer

ada (americans with disabilities) design

on-street parking


• Ensure that all people, including those with disabilities, have equal access to public facilities.


• While all streets should be upgraded to be accessible, public agencies should set priorities for high-use areas such as commercial districts, schools, transit facilities, etc. and retrofit as rapidly as possible.

Estimated Cost:

Varies depending on type of project.

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