Hello. Please sign in!

Guide to the ADA Standards

Accessible Routes [§402]

Components of accessible routes include walking surfaces, doorways, ramps, curb ramps, elevators, and, where permitted, platform lifts.

Clearances [§403.5]

The minimum 36” continuous clear width of accessible routes can reduce to 32” at points, such as doorways, for a maximum distance of 24”. Greater clearance is required for 180 degree turns around narrow obstructions and for wheelchair turning space. The minimum clearance cannot be reduced by any elements, including handrails or protruding objects.

Plan view or route shown to be 36” wide min. with areas that are 32” wide min. that are 24” long max. and separated by 48” min.

180 Turns Around Obstructions

Additional clearance is required at 180 degree turns around an element that is less than 48” wide. The clear width must be at least 48” at the turn and 42” minimum approaching the turn (unless the clear width at the turn is 60” minimum).

Two alternative plan views are shown of an accessible route that has a 180 degree turn about an object less than 48 inches wide.  In one figure, the clear width is 42 inches minimum approaching the turn, 48 inches minimum at the turn, and 42 inches minimum leaving the turn.  In other figure, the clear width is 36 inches minimum approaching the turn, 60 inches at the turn, and 36 inches minimum leaving the turn.

Passing Space [§403.5.3]

Passing space is required every 200 feet and must be provided as a 60” by 60” minimum space or as T-shaped space where each stem is at least 48” long.

Two people using wheelchairs passing in corridor with 60” by 60” passing space shown.

60” Min. by 60” Min. Passing Space

T-shaped passing space in corridor with each stem at least 48” long measured from the intersection.

T-Shaped Passing Space

Handrails Along Walking Surfaces [§403.6, §505]

Handrails are required at ramps with a rise greater than 6” and at stairs that are part of a means of egress, but not at other locations. Where handrails are provided along other portions walking surfaces, they must comply. (Handrails provided in elevator cabs or on platform lifts are not required to comply).

Handrails along Walking Surfaces 

Corridor with doorway and adjacent handrail.

  • 34” – 38” high measured to the top of the gripping surface.

  • Gripping surface must be continuous the full length and top and sides cannot be obstructed.

  • The bottom gripping surface can be obstructed up to 20% of the length (or along the full entire length when part of crash rails or bumper guards).

  • No sharp or abrasive elements on gripping surfaces or adjacent surfaces, and no rotation within fittings.

Surface requirements and clearances facilitate a power grip along the length of handrails. Handrails can have circular or non-circular cross-sections, but must have rounded edges. The gripping surface and adjacent surfaces must be free of abrasive or sharp elements.

Circular Cross Section and Clearance (§505.5, §505.7)

Handrail circular cross section 1/1/4” to 2” in diameter with a 1 ½” clearance behind and below.  Note:  Specifications for handrails also address the diameter of circular cross sections and required knuckle clearance.

Non-Circular Cross Section and Clearance (§505.5, §505.7)

Handrail non-circular cross section (square with rounded corners) with 2 ¼” max. dimension, rounded edges, 4” to 6 ¼” perimeter dimension, 1 ½” clearance behind, and clearance below that is 1 ½” (less 1/8” for each ½” additional perimeter dimension.  Note:  Non-circular cross sections must have rounded edges and meet perimeter and cross-section dimensions.  Other profiles meeting these criteria are permitted.


*You must sign in to view [MORE INFO...]