ADA Accessibility

ADA Accessibility

All or any portion of buildings, structures, site improvements, complexes, equipment, roads, walks, passageways, parking lots, transportation facilities, or other real or personal property that are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities to be expressed in terms of architecture and design, transportation and communication.

Accessibility improvements provide mobility and safety benefits for everyone, not only for those with disabilities. All municipalities are required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines and ensure that developments within their municipalities follow the appropriate guidelines and standards most appropriate for the facility type as set forth by the US Access Board.

PennDOT has developed accessibility standards that are based upon and in some instances exceed the requirements established by the US Access Board. These standards are outlined in PennDOT Design Manual 2 - Chapter 6: Pedestrian Facilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The construction of all new facilities shall provide at least one accessible route within the boundary of the site from public transportation stops, accessible parking spaces, passenger loading zones if provided, and public streets or sidewalks, to an accessible building entrance. And, at least one accessible route shall connect accessible buildings, facilities, elements, and spaces that are on the same site.

The following links and info applicable to the design elements and related improvements described in this Multimodal Handbook were excerpted from the US Access Board Guidelines and Standards webpage.

Buildings & Sites

Standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) address access to buildings and sites nationwide in new construction and alterations. Similar standards apply to building and sites funded by the federal government under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

Recreation Facilities

Access to recreation facilities, including play areas, swimming pools, sports facilities, fishing piers, boating facilities, golf courses, and amusement rides is addressed in the ADA and ABA standards. New provisions will cover access to trails, picnic and camping sites, and beach access routes.

Streets and Sidewalks

New guidelines the US Access Board is developing will cover access to public rights-of-way, including sidewalks, intersections, street crossings, and on-street parking. The Board is also addressing access to shared use paths providing off-road means of transportation and recreation.


Board guidelines issued under the ADA address access to public transportation facilities and vehicles. New guidelines for passenger vessels are in development.


ada parking ada parking
Good examples of ADA parking installation.

View a PDF of this Design Element.

View a PDF of the entire Multi-Modal Handbook.