Curb Ramps:

Curb ramps provide access between the sidewalk and roadway for people using wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, crutches, handcarts, bicycles, and also for pedestrians with mobility impairments who have trouble stepping up and down high curbs. Curb ramps must be installed at all intersections and midblock locations where pedestrian crossings exist, as mandated by federal legislation (1973 Rehabilitation Act and ADA1990). Curb ramps must have a slope of no more than 1:12 (must not exceed 25.4 mm/0.3 m (1 in/ft) or a maximum grade of 8.33 percent), and a maximum slope on any side flares of 1:10. More information on the specifications for curb ramps can be found in the Draft Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights of Way.4

Where feasible, separate curb ramps for each crosswalk at an intersection should be provided rather than having a single ramp at a corner for both crosswalks. This provides improved orientation for visually impaired pedestrians. Similarly, tactile warnings will alert pedestrians to the sidewalk/street edge. All newly constructed and altered roadway projects must include curb ramps. In addition, all agencies should upgrade existing facilities. They can begin by conducting audits of their pedestrian facilities to make sure transit services, schools, public buildings, and parks, etc. are accessible to pedestrians who use wheelchairs.

While curb ramps are needed for use on all types of streets, priority locations are in downtown areas and on streets near transit stops, schools, parks, medical facilities, shopping areas, and near residences with people who use wheelchairs.

For more information about curb ramp design, see Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Parts I and II, by the Federal Highway Administration, and Accessible Rights-of-Way: A Design Guide, by the U.S. Access Board and the Federal Highway Administration. The Access Board’s right-of-way report can be found at www.access-board.gov.



  Purpose
• Provide access to street crossings.
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  Considerations
• Follow Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design guidelines.
• Texture patterns must be detectable to blind pedestrians.
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  Estimated Cost
The cost is approximately $800 to $1,500 per curb ramp (new or retrofitted).
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  Case Studies
Cambridge, MA 
Berkeley, CA 
Clemson, SC 
Albany, NY 
Grand Junction, CO 
Fort Plain, NY
Austin, TX 
St. Petersburg, FL 
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Adapted from Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part II, 2001


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U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration