To meet the needs of all sidewalk users, designers must have a clear understanding of the wide range of abilities that occur within the population. Sidewalks, like roadways, should be designed to serve all users. This includes children, older people, parents with strollers, pedestrians who have vision impairments, and people using wheelchairs and other assistive devices. Just as a roadway will not be designed for one type of vehicle, the design of sidewalks should not be limited to only a single type of pedestrian user. Because the sidewalk is the basic unit of mobility within our overall system of transportation, every route and facility must be usable. The Accessible Sidewalks and Street Crossings  informational guide is designed to provide guidance for accessible sidewalks and street crossings.


The FDOT State Construction Office has developed some guidance documents for project administrators and inspectors to use to help ensure road construction project meet the ADA Standards. These may be found at: Construction QA/QC Guidelists(Click on current FYXX/XX link, scroll down and click on "ADA - Accessibility Issues")


Complying with ADA standards in public rights-of-ways can be difficult. Sidewalks, street crossings, and other elements of the outdoor environment present unique challenges to accessibility for which specific guidance is considered essential. An excellent resource is FHWA's 2001 publication Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part 2 - Best Practice Design Guide (available from FHWA.)


The U. S. Access Board encourages designers and engineers to understand some of the issues involved in being a pedestrian for those who are disabled by issuing guidance to help designers comply with the ADA Standards when designing alterations to existing roadway facilities. Accessible Public Rights-of-Way - Planning and Design for Alterations describes lots of way to ensure accessibility when working with sidewalks, utilities, crossings, etc.

The Board has been developing guidelines for public rights-of-way in various degrees of success since 1992. When complete, their guidelines will address issues particularly pertinent to highway designers, including access for blind pedestrians at street crossings, wheelchair access to on-street parking, and various constraints posed by space limitations, roadway design practices, slope, and terrain.

Accessible Sidewalk Videos

The U. S. Access Board encourages designers and engineers to watch these short films showing some of the difficulties disabled persons may have while traveling as pedestrians. Each video clip highlights unique problems impeding certain groups of individuals while maneuvering across commonly found pedestrian components. Sometimes, specific design elements for one disabled group can lead to access issues for another group. Watching all four clips gives a much better overall perspective on accessibility. These are Design Issues for:

Pedestrians Who Use Wheelchairs (WMV 10:00m)
Pedestrians With Ambulatory Impairments (WMV 7:51m)
Pedestrians With Low Vision (WMV 11:24m)
Pedestrians Who Are Blind (WMV 11:19m)