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 Guidance on Rights-of-Way Access Available from the Board February 26, 2008


Public streets and sidewalks present unique access challenges that are not encompassed by existing guidelines or standards. Access at street crossings for pedestrians with vision impairments, on-street parking, and constraints posed by terrain and space limitations are just some of the issues that often arise. The Board is developing guidelines for public rights-of-way that will address these and other issues so that practitioners have an established reference for achieving accessible streets and sidewalks.

Photo of Board staff meeting with representatives from the District of Columbia DOT  

Board staff meets with representatives from the District of Columbia to discuss rights-of-way access.


While work on these guidelines continues, interim guidance is available from the Board through an active outreach program on rights-of-way accessibility. The Board routinely provides training on the subject to various audiences at different conferences across the country as well as technical assistance on issues and specific projects in response to individual inquiries. In addition, it supports research to collect needed information and has produced design guides and other resources.

The Board also advises state and local jurisdictions on planning and program strategies. For example, Board staff members recently met with several state and local transportation departments. In December, the Board hosted a meeting with personnel from the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DOT) to discuss a range of issues from drainage at curb ramps to the proper location of detectable warnings. Representatives from the Pennsylvania DOT also visited the Board for a day-long meeting on key rights-of-way access issues and feedback on its efforts to implement agency standards based on rights-of-way guidelines the Board released in draft form. Maryland’s DOT has developed similar guidance for use by its State Highway Administration and has supported data collection efforts, including a consumer evaluation of products used for directing pedestrians around work zones.

cover of Accessible Public Rights-of-Way: Planning and Designing for AlterationsResources available from the Board include a new guide on sidewalk and street improvement projects published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Accessible Public Rights-of-Way: Planning and Designing for Alterations shows how access can be maximized in existing streetscapes. Design solutions, model sidewalks and case studies are illustrated through photographs and engineering plans. This guide recently received an award from the American Council of Engineering Companies. In addition, a popular video series demonstrating access issues from user perspectives that the Board produced and distributed on disk is now available on the Board’s website. Other resources are posted online on the public rights-of-way homepage

For more information on rights-of-way access, contact the Board at, (202) 272-0025 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).


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