ADA Transition Plans

Improving accessibility and ADA Title II compliance

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is developing a program to help communities in northeastern Illinois improve accessibility and comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The region cannot become the prosperous, equitable region envisioned if people with disabilities are excluded from government services. This program will allow the region to make accessibility improvements that advance equity and build a transportation system that works better for everyone.

A key component of the program will be support for communities to create self-evaluations and ADA transition plans. According to the Metropolitan Planning Council, only 22 municipalities — 11 percent of the region — have a transition plan. Following accessibility guidelines for public rights-of-way provides benefits for more than residents with disabilities: it improves access for everyone.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted on July 26, 1990, is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities.

Under Title II of the ADA, people with disabilities must have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from state and local governments’ programs, services, and activities. Title II applies to state and local governments including state agencies, villages, cities, counties, schools, park and special purpose districts, transit agencies, colleges and universities, community colleges, libraries, and even museums when operating using public funds.

What is an ADA transition plan?

A transition plan identifies existing programs, services, facilities, policies, and procedures that require changes, and outlines the steps necessary to become accessible (28 CFR. Sec. 35.150).

A transition plan must:

  • Identify physical obstacles that limit accessibility
  • Provide an opportunity for the public to participate in developing the plan
  • Describe how the facilities will be made accessible
  • Include a schedule to achieve compliance
  • List the official responsible for implementing the plan

What is an ADA self-evaluation?

A self-evaluation is a local government’s assessment of the accessibility of its programs, services, facilities, policies, and procedures. The self-evaluation identifies and corrects barriers to access that are inconsistent with Title II requirements (28 CFR. Sec. 35.105). Findings from the self-evaluation are often included as part of a transition plan.

A self-evaluation must:

  • Evaluate current services, policies, and practices for accessibility compliance
  • Identify necessary changes to achieve compliance
  • Provide an opportunity for the public to participate in the self-evaluation process

Who needs a transition plan or self-evaluation?

All local governments with 50 or more employees (either full- or part-time) must make a transition plan.

All local governments must create a self-evaluation. Communities with 50 or more employees must also keep documents pertaining to the list of interested persons consulted and description of areas examined, problems identified, and modifications made for three years. Other public entities are not required to keep these records, but are encouraged to because these documents support efforts to comply with Title II requirements.

Why should my community have an ADA transition plan or self-evaluation?

ADA transition plans and self-evaluations are federal requirements, but many communities do not have these documents. This puts municipalities at risk of legal action. Some states have even withheld funding for transportation projects from communities without these documents. Through a new program, CMAP will help bring more communities into Title II compliance to create a safer and more accessible region.