ADA Ramp
01 Nov

What are Curb Ramps? Accessibility, Hazards, and Regulations for ADA Curb Ramps


Curb ramps are the solid ramp that joins the top of a sidewalk to the adjoining street level. Also known as a curb cut or dropped curb, curb ramps are primarily used by pedestrians throughout urban areas where the main mode of transportation is walking. Curb ramps facilitate easy movement from the sidewalk to the road for individuals who use mobility aids.

While curb ramps are a small part of sidewalks and street crossings, they are important, especially for individuals who cannot easily step from sidewalk to street or vice versa. Curb ramps make right-of-way accessible to everyone.

What Are Curb Ramps: Accessibility, Hazards, and Regulations

Accessibility ADA Curb Ramps

Curb ramps are meant to make urban and suburban landscapes much easier to navigate for all pedestrians. While curb ramps started out as a way to serve individuals with wheeled mobility aids, curb ramps have offered benefits to all foot traffic. The detectable warning dome tiles on curb ramps notify pedestrians of a coming crosswalk, helping alert pedestrians to pause before walking into a busy intersection. Meanwhile, the curb ramps allow individuals with mobility aids to easily transition from curb to street then back again.

Hazards ADA Curb Ramps

While curb ramps are meant to serve pedestrians and individuals with disabilities in a safe manner, they sometimes present certain dilemmas. For example, a curb ramp might create a barrier for people with vision impairments who rely on the curb for transitioning from sidewalk to street. Individuals who need mobility aids such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs face different challenges, such as needing to be able to lift themselves up to get over certain obstacles. One of the best ways that the hazard of a sidewalk with a curb ramp can be decreased is with the ADA required detectable dome tiles, which notify people with low vision of the change in the sidewalk and where the crosswalk is located.

Regulations ADA Curb Ramps

To improve accessibility, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers a list of standards for public spaces and ADA compliant curb ramps. While every state and local government may have variations, these are some of the ADA guidelines for curb ramps.

  • Location – curb ramps should be wherever an accessible route crosses a curb
  • Built-Up Curb Ramps – these ramps should not project into vehicular traffic
  • Detectable Dome Tile Warnings – curb ramps require detectable warning dome tiles to extend the full width and depth
  • Obstructions – curb ramps planned to avoid accidental obstruction

For more information on guidelines for the slope, width, and curb ramp sides, check the Access Board website and/or your local government standards.

Naturally, a number of other standards exist for different circumstances, including diagonal curb ramps, islands, and more. Check with your local government for the most up to date ADA guidelines for curb ramps.

At StrongGo, accessibility is what we do. We believe in the importance of an accessible world, which is why we develop and design detectable dome tiles to fit every project. Talk with an industry expert today by emailing csd@stronggo.com.

Sources:
https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/buildings-and-sites/115-ada-standards/background/ibc-comparison/309-ibc-chapter-4-accessible-routes