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Pedestrians in a crosswalk near South Station in Boston.A woman in a wheelchair and her service dog traveling on a city sidewalk.Cars traveling around a rotary/roundabout.People sitting at an outdoor café on Newbury Street in Boston.A wheelchair user boarding a trolley in Portland, Oregon.A woman and her service dog at a crosswalk with detectable warnings in San Francisco.

U.S. Access Board Resources

Web Site: U.S. Access Board (

There has been no attempt to review the many excellent documents distributed by the U.S. Access Board. Advocates, planners, designers, transportation departments -- all should visit their website -- -- for their list of available documents, studies, and papers. While the regulatory guidelines should already be on the shelf of anyone interested in pedestrian facilities, the Access Board also has many studies addressing specific details -- detectable warnings, surfaces, etc.

Although our endorsement is emphatic, persons should be aware of what could be consider limitations in some of their material -- not oversights by the Access Board, but inherent in regulations and in guidelines that have been adopted as regulations:

  1. Regulations are written as maximums and minimums, not best practice; and
  2. Regulations seldom also give the performance rationale, so itís difficult to make compromises.

For best practices and rationale, the designer must look outside the regulations to studies and single issue evaluations. The Access Board provides these as well.

Building a True Community: Final Report (January 2001), Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee’s (PROWAAC) report to the US Access Board,

Revised Draft Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights-of-Way  (HTML Version), November 23, 2005,  Second draft of PROWAG -- provisions specific to public rights-of-way to supplement the Board’s ADA and ABA accessibility guidelines (2004). The guidelines become enforceable when they are adopted by the standard setting agencies-- the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Accessible Rights-of-Way: A Design Guide, developed by the U.S. Access Board in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)/Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to assist public works and transportation agencies covered by title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in designing and constructing public sidewalks and street crossings.

Interfacing Audible Pedestrian Signals and Traffic Signal Controllers, provides detailed accessible pedestrian signal (APS) product information specifically focused on the interfacing of APS devices and traffic signal controllers. Information on the various traffic signal controllers used today is also provided. The information is intended for traffic engineers, traffic signal technicians, and others who are implementing APS technologies.

Pedestrian Access to Modern Roundabouts, provides research on improving accessibility of roundabouts to blind pedestrians, suggested approaches, differences in access issues between roundabouts and traditional intersections and orientation and mobility techniques used by pedestrians who are blind in traveling independently across streets;
Detectable Warnings Update,
Detectable Warnings: Synthesis of U.S. and International Practice, This synthesis summarizes the state-of-the-art regarding the design, installation and effectiveness of detectable warning surfaces used in the U.S. and abroad.

Accessible Sidewalks (DVD), a four-part video developed by the Access Board to illustrate access issues and considerations, is available free from the Board on DVD. See: Accessible Sidewalks Video Series (
The DVD contains:

  • Program 1: Pedestrians who use wheelchairs
  • Program 2: Pedestrians who have ambulatory impairments
  • Program 3: Pedestrians who have low vision
  • Program 4: Pedestrians who are blind

Determining Recommended Language for Speech Messages used by Accessible Pedestrian Signals
The objective of the research in this report was to develop recommendations for the structure and content of walk messages and pushbutton messages for directly audible APSs. An Expert Panel of stakeholders created a survey with questions on preferences for APS speech message structure and wording. Pedestrians with visual impairments, orientation and mobility specialists, transportation engineers, and APS manufacturers all participated in this survey. The survey also contained items to evaluate the understanding of various message types by respondent groups, and preferences for use of a pushbutton delay feature to actuate pushbutton messages. The Expert Panel developed a series of recommended walk messages and pushbutton messages based on their own expertise and the survey results. These are presented at the end of the report.
See: Determining Recommended Language for Speech Messages used by Accessible Pedestrian Signals (PDF) (

Addressing Barriers to Blind Pedestrians at Signalized Intersections
An ITE Journal article presents the results of a survey of Orientation and Mobility Specialists regarding the problems students with visual impairments experience at signalized intersections. Orientation and Mobility Specialists are individuals who are professionally trained to teach people who are blind or visually impaired to travel independently. In the practice of their profession, they regularly provide instruction in crossing streets at signalized intersections.
See: Addressing Barriers to Blind Pedestrians at Signalized Intersections (

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