Here are links to resources for developing and updating ADA Transition Plans and, more generally, for planning and designing accessible public rights of way.
Primary Source Materials
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which applies non-discrimination requirements to federal programs and activities, including transportation programs, is included in Title V of this act.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as Amended
The ADA is a broad civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability, defined as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." The law's original intent was to create permanent legal protections for people with disabilities and to keep Americans with disabilities in the mainstream of society and public life.
Agency Materials and Information
U.S. Access Board
The Access Board is an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. The Access Board develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, as well as for transit vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and electronic and information technology. The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities.
In 2011, the Access Board issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG). This link includes the most recent guidelines for public rights-of-way accessibility, as well as supporting documentation for the rulemaking, related design guidance, and research.
The Access Board has released Draft Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas, including access to trails, beaches, picnic areas, and camping areas.
The Access Board has released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Shared Use Paths.
The Access Board has also published a Special Report: Accessible Public Rights-of-Way Planning and Design for Alterations, (pdf, August 2007), (also in html). This report and its recommendations are the work of a subcommittee of the Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee (PROWAAC) and are intended to provide technical assistance only; CMAP staff recommends the design guidance as useful.
U.S. Department of Justice
The Department of Justice enforces substantial elements of the laws and regulations related to disability, provides technical assistance, and has promulgated standards related to many aspects of accessible design (except for transportation vehicles and transportation facilities, among others). The Department of Justice maintains an "ADA Home Page."
The Department of Justice has posted its 2010 ADA Title II Regulations. Subpart D, § 35.150 (program accessibility, existing facilities) includes the regulations requiring transition plans.
The Department of Justice has posted its 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. These include standards for paths of travel (accessible routes).
The Department of Justice has posted technical assistance documents and resources for state and local governments. These resources include the "ADA Guide for Small Towns," "The ADA and City Governments: Common Problems," and "Commonly Asked Questions about Title II of the ADA."
The U.S. Department of Transportation has adopted ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities. These standards apply to the construction and alteration of transportation facilities covered by the ADA. They became effective November 29, 2006. USDOT adopted these standards based on updated 2004 guidelines issued by the Access Board. The standards are consistent with the Board's guidelines except for provisions DOT modified concerning:
- Accessible routes (206.3)
- Detectable warnings on curb ramps (406.8)
- Bus boarding areas (810.2.2), and
- Rail station platforms (810.5.3).
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
FHWA has posted a library of materials related to accessibility.
FHWA has posted a series of questions and answers. This document includes a section on transition plans.
FHWA has published Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access: Part II of II: Best Practices Design Guide (2001). Appendix A includes stroll sheets, intersection checklists, curb ramp analysis, driveway crossing analysis, cut-through median analysis, and ramped median analysis forms used for field assessment of sidewalk conditions and ADA compliance.
A 2006 memorandum clarifies FHWA's role in accessibility:
Another 2006 memorandum clarifies FHWA policy related to truncated domes.
Federal Transit Administration, Office of Civil Rights
The FTA Office of Civil Rights is responsible for civil rights compliance and monitoring to ensure nondiscriminatory provision of transit services.
In 2011, the FTA amended DOT ADA regulations related to intercity, commuter, and high-speed passenger railroads.
Other Major Reference Materials
ADA Transition Plans: A Guide to Best Management Practices, Jacobs Engineering Group, NCHRP Project Number 20-7 (232), May 2009. From the guide: "The purpose of this guidance document is to ensure that good ideas, helpful information, and successful practices concerning the development and updating of Transition Plans are recognized, recorded, and shared among Departments of Transportation." The guide is organized into two main sections: Steps to Compliance and Findings and Best Practices of State DOTs. An attachment to the report lists contact information for ADA coordinators by state.
ADA Compliance at Transportation Agencies: A Review of Practices, Cesar Quiroga, Shawn Turner, Texas Transportation Institute, September 2008. The stated purpose of this report was "to gather information and develop a synthesis of practices, including best practices, on the various approaches transportation agencies use to address ADA compliance issues." Chapter 2 includes a section entitled "Design Guides and Other Relevant Documentation," which contains a list of documentation, including training materials, produced by the U.S. Access Board, U.S. Department of Justice, FHWA, state DOTs, cities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations and universities. Also included are sample guides and checklists produced by FHWA and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Accessible Pedestrian Signals. Synthesis and Guide to Best Practice. Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 2003.
Accessible Sidewalk Videos. Series of Four Videos Exploring Issues for Pedestrians Who Use Wheelchairs or Are Mobility-Impaired, Low-Vision, or Blind. U.S. Access Board, 2008.