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Ramps for facility access

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A ramp may be used as part of an accessible route, to help a person with a mobility impairment move between levels of a building or an outside environment.


Public Settings

Title III (Public Accommodations) of the ADA sets out accessibility standards (ADA Standards for Accessible Design) and guidelines (ADA Accessibility Guidelines) for places in which the public visits as customers, such as stores, hotels, doctors' offices, and movie theaters.

The standards lay out rules for providing a basic level of accessibility, particularly for people with mobility impairments. Section 405 provides rules about ramps. A sample of these standards (see link below for full listing) include:

  • Walking surfaces must have running slopes not steeper than 1:20. Ramps are permitted to be more steeply sloped.
  • The running slope of the ramp runs shall not be steeper than 1:12. There are some exceptions for existing buildings. To accommodate the widest range of users, provide ramps with the least possible running slope and, wherever possible, accompany ramps with stairs for use by those individuals for whom distance presents a greater barrier than steps, e.g., people with heart disease or limited stamina.
  • The cross slope of the ramp runs (the slope of the surface perpendicular to travel) shall not be steeper than 1:48.
  • The clear width of a ramp run (or between handrails) shall be 36 inches (915 mm) minimum.
  • The rise for any ramp run shall be 30 inches (760 mm) maximum.
  • Landings shall be provided between ramp runs, a points where the ramp direction changes, and at the top and the bottom of each ramp run. The landing clear length shall be 60 inches (1525 mm) long minimum. Additional space may be required to provide maneuvering clearances for doorways.
  • Handrails are required (with some exceptions) for ramp runs with a rise greater than 6 inches (150 mm).
  • Edge protection shall be provided on each side of ramp runs and at each side of ramp landings. The extended surface prevents wheelchair casters and crutch tips from slipping off the ramp surface.

Employment Settings

While many employees work in settings that are "Public Accommodations," it is the ADA's Title I (Employment) that mandates the provision of their work accommodations. Title I requires that employees be provided with accommodations that meet their individual needs. Specific facility or work tool requirements are not laid out. Thus, the ADA standards or guidelines do not need to be followed for a workplace accommodation. However, these standards and guidelines are often a good starting point for determining what might be needed. Then, plans for a ramp's slope, length, etc. may be adjusted to meet the specific needs of the employee.

Home Settings

As with employment settings, ramps for home use do not need to follow the ADA Standards. For temporary access needs, portable ramps are sometimes used.

Other Types of Ramps

Ramps are also used for helping a person with a mobility limitation get in and out of vehicles. These ramps may be portable or be built into the vehicle.

Related ATWiki Articles:

External Links


Resources for Building Ramps