Understanding ADA Accessible Routes

Understanding ADA Accessible Routes

17 May 2021 By Admin

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in the year 1990 and every public property requiring at least one accessible route is governed by this Act. According to ADA guidelines, all facility owners need to provide equal opportunities to all people, including those with disabilities. This means that any new building, structure or public facilities being built must comply with the ADA Standards for accessible routes.

For new construction or an old structure undergoing renovation, it is essential to follow the ADA guidelines laid out for accessible routes. It is necessary to keep the accessibility factor in mind during the entire design-build process and prevent any architectural obstacles that people having disabilities may encounter on the way to the building. In order to fully comply with the ADA Standards which are construction or renovation, it is recommended that the property owner hires an ADA construction specialist.

An ADA construction specialist ensures that the construction is being done as per the ADA guidelines, right from the early stages while the project is being planned. Not hiring an ADA construction specialist can prove to be quite expensive. Once the construction is over and does not comply with the ADA Standards, legal lawsuits filed and damages claimed. Here at Protrk Construction, 54% of our work comes from property owners who have lost an ADA lawsuit. An additional 25% is fixing work completed by a non ADA contractor which will not pass a CASp inspection. Why not take steps to avoid the legal process and expense by getting it right the first time.

What Does an Accessible Route Mean?

An accessible route is a continuous path without any obstructions connecting all the accessible elements and spaces of a building or facility. There must be at least one accessible route from the following arrival points:

  • Accessible parking, or accessible passenger loading zones
  • Public street and sidewalks
  • From every public transportation stop serving the facility

Why Are ADA Standards important?

  • ADA Standards make buildings and facilities usable for people having disabilities.
  • It enables customers and employees with disabilities to easily enter the building, move around along the paths, easily access the area where products are being sold or their place of work.
  • With ADA Standards in place, people with disabilities can easily use the amenities in the building.

Designing Accessible Routes

There are a number of factors that an ADA construction specialist needs to keep in mind while designing and building accessible routes. The ADA Standards for accessible routes are as follows:


At least one accessible route must be present that links the areas of one site to another and the areas of transportation such as parking lots, streets, or sidewalks.


The accessible routes need to be at least 36 inches wide. Exceptions to this are:

  • The entrance door needs to be 32 inches.
  • Space, where people are not expected to move completely through the frame, must be 20 inches.


There must be 80 inches headroom clearance in circulation spaces like hallways and corridors.

Ground and Floor Surface

The floor surface must be firm, stable, and slip-resistant. The ground needs to be constructed from hard materials like tile, asphalt, concrete, and wood.

ADA Standards has also specified guidelines about the placement of carpets with a maximum pile height of ½ inches along with a firm backing.

Slope and Cross Slope (for ramps and curb ramps)

  • The Slope represents the proportion of vertical rise to the horizontal length
  • Running slope – maximum allowable change 1:12
  • Cross slope - maximum allowable change 1:50

Changes in Level

Any changes in level greater than ½ inches (13 mm) are to be accompanied by an elevator or curb ramp.

Are you planning to develop a new building structure that is ADA compliant? Are you looking to renovate your existing building structure? Choose an ADA construction specialist who can plan and see that the entire structure is ADA compliant right from the start.


Design | Build | Certified

Why Wait to be "Forced" into ADA Compliance. If you are a public business or public property owner, save money, lawsuits, time and headaches by being prepared and avoiding it all in the first place. It’s time to call in the ADA pros. Use Protrk, an ADA construction expert, to Get it Done Right Prior to Forced Compliance. 

Call 415-813-9877 today or visit www.protrkconstruction.com for more details.


Being involved in ADA design and construction has given me the opportunity to help a lot of business owners and commercial property owners prevent costly ADA compliant lawsuits.

Mike Schaeffer

Owner & Founder Protrk®


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  • Step 1 - Third Party CASp Report
  • Step 2 - "As-Built" Drawings
  • Step 3 - Solutions & Value Engineering
  • Step 4 - Construction Documents & Permits
  • Step 5 - ADA Build Out
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