Detectable Warnings on Curb Ramps required by the revised ADA/ABA Guidelines

UPDATE: The 2010 Standards do not require detectable warnings on curb ramps.
218 and 810 Transportation Facilities

Detectable Warnings. Detectable warnings provide a distinctively textured surface of truncated domes. The 1991 Standards at sections 4.1.3(15), 4.7.7, 4.29.2, 4.29.5, 4.29.6, and 10.3.1(8) require detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, reflecting pools, and transit platform edges. The 2010 Standards at sections 218, 810.5, 705.1, and 705.2 only require detectable warnings at transit platform edges. The technical specifications for the diameter and spacing of the truncated domes have also been changed. The 2010 Standards also delete the requirement for the material used to contrast in resiliency or sound-on-cane contact from adjoining walking surfaces at interior locations.

The 2010 Standards apply to detectable warnings on developed sites. They do not apply to the public right-of-way. Scoping for detectable warnings at all locations other than transit platform edges has been eliminated from the 2010 Standards. However, because detectable warnings have been shown to significantly benefit individuals with disabilities at transit platform edges, the 2010 Standards provide scoping and technical requirements for detectable warnings at transit platform edges.

You may have been having problems finding the requirement for detectable warnings on curb ramps in the revised ADA/ABA Guidelines (published July 23, 2004).   You won’t find it here.

But you can find it in the March 23, 2007 supplement at this link: Modification to 406 of Appendix D

406.8 Detectable Warnings. A curb ramp shall have a detectable warning complying with 705. The detectable warning shall extend the full width of the curb ramp (exclusive of flared sides) and shall extend either the full depth of the curb ramp or 24 inches (610 mm) deep minimum measured from the back of the curb on the ramp surface.


13 Responses to Detectable Warnings on Curb Ramps required by the revised ADA/ABA Guidelines

  1. Jen Mathis says:

    Another source of confusion I have found, in regards to the detectable paver rules, is the color contrast requirements. Do the pavers need to contrast with the ramp, the right-of-way, or both?

  2. Dave M says:

    While your information is technically correct in that the ADA does not require detectable warnings anywhere other than transit platforms these guidelines only apply to devloped sites-not the public right-of-way.

    “The 2010 Standards apply to detectable warnings on developed sites. They do not apply to the public right-of-way.”

    The requirements for the public right-of-way are set by the US Access Board. The US Access Board published draft guidelines in July 2011. These draft guidelines actually expand the use of detectable warnings in curb ramps.

    • jeromymurphy says:

      Here is the section from the proposed ROW guidelines:
      R208 Detectable Warning Surfaces

      R208.1 Where Required. Detectable warning surfaces complying with R305 shall be provided at the following locations on pedestrian access routes and at transit stops:
      Curb ramps and blended transitions at pedestrian street crossings;
      Pedestrian refuge islands;
      Pedestrian at-grade rail crossings not located within a street or highway;
      Boarding platforms at transit stops for buses and rail vehicles where the edges of the boarding platform are not protected by screens or guards; and
      Boarding and alighting areas at sidewalk or street level transit stops for rail vehicles where the side of the boarding and alighting areas facing the rail vehicles is not protected by screens or guards.

  3. jenny says:

    what are the requirements in a R.O.W. Do you know of a product that meets the requirements?

  4. Anthony says:

    Thanks for the clarification about requirements in the public right of way versus developed sites. Regarding the US Access Board ROW guidelines (still in development), can you clarify if they’re suggesting detectable warnings be used at both the top and bottom of a ramp, or just at the bottom? The specific verbage indicates that the detectable warning should be a minimum of 24″ deep (measured from the back of the curb), but I’m not clear where that measurement point is on a long ramp (greater than 6″ rise from the street level).

    • jeromymurphy says:

      The detectable warning would only be required at the bottom of the ramp regardless of the ramp length. One way to look at it is that the detectable warnings are located wherever there is a missing curb.

  5. Jean Tessmer - Maui says:

    The current new DOJ ADA 2010 does not require detectable warnings except at transist platforms. With good reason. They are extremely hazardous to ambulatory children, adults, and elderly – not to mention mobility impaired individuals. One woman a dancer tripped and fell face down on the domes. It crushed her skull in at the point of impact. The doctor said it was like she was hit in the head by a ball peen hammer. She is now permanently disabled.

    • jeromymurphy says:

      Despite the anecdotal evidence, the research does not indicate that detectable warnings are any greater of a hazard that any other conditions pedestrian might encounter such as curbs or uneven surfaces. I have not been able to find any information about the one case you mention.

      Detectable warnings are here to stay. Don’t panic.

      • Jean Tessmer - Maui says:

        Please send me your research findings. I have spoken directly to the Japanese scientist who designed the domes that the US Access board inserted without any research into its safety. If you have the research on testing beyond tactibility proving their safety I would appreciated your information. The surface does not and has not ever met the standard for low force surfaces.

      • jeromymurphy says:

        Classic approach. You state a position, then insist I prove that it is wrong. No thanks.
        I’m not familiar with the research of “Japanese Scientist” and I have no idea what a “standard for low force surfaces” is. You are obviously much smarter on this subject than me. I suggest that you write your own blog; I promise to read it.

      • Jean Tessmer - Maui says:

        Jeromy, Thank you for your response. Sorry when you said research, I presumed you had some resource. A low force surface to travers is a surface that is slip resistant, hard, smooth, level, and stable. The most aggressive allowed texture is the 1/2″ spaced gratings (oriented perpendicular to travel), or 1/2″ pile carpet. Since the illustration shows them only on level it is presumed they cannot be used on sloped surfaces.

  6. Ruth Onsum says:

    I am wheelchair-bound due to spinal cord injury. When using my manual chair, my front wheels twist and get stuck in the domes. When using my scooter, it slips and slides and tips, especially more so when wet. I must cross these about 12 times a week. I am increasingly frightened as time goes by. None of your “research” can change my perception. Many chair users agree with me and I too have heard of numerous falls and injuries, including broken bones. I am confused about the current regs…are they required at curbs or only at train and bus platforms?

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