An ADA Solutions LLC Surface Applied Tactile Tile in use at a pedestrian crossing.

Surface applied tactile tiles are often used in transit applications such as commuter rail, subways, light rapid transit, monorails, and bus stations. They have emerged as a requirement for public transportation facilities under Title II of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), which forbids public transportation authorities from discriminating against people with disabilities.

Tactile warning surfaces provide feedback for anyone using a cane, walker, wheelchair, or any other assisted device where there’s a transition between a safe path of travel and areas of traffic.

Truncated dome tiles are found along walking paths, in parking lots, on curb cut-outs, wheelchair ramps, and at building entrances. To function as intended, surface applied tiles must be installed properly. They are not set in concrete. This allows for more flexibility, and it allows existing surfaces to be retrofit without being repaved.

ADA Solutions makes the installation process easy, but here is a look at the installation process, with tips on ensuring a safe and secure fit.

Select a Product

Tactile tiles must meet specific requirements, including a material composition of exterior-grade glass and carbon-reinforced polyester material, and being uniform in color, as is the yellow tactile tile we offer for transit applications. A square grid of raised truncated domes must meet the Federal Code of Regulations requirements. All domes must be 0.2 inches high with a center-to-center spacing of 2.35 inches. At ADA Solutions, all our products meet the latest requirements and the highest quality standards.

Consider the Weather Conditions

Tactile tiles should not be installed where there is standing water or other extremely wet conditions. The ideal installation environment is one that’s clean and dry, but tiles can be installed where it is slightly damp. Installation should not be performed if rain is imminent. The colder the temperature, the longer it will take for the adhesive to cure. Ideally, air/surface temperatures should be above 40°F, but temperature conditions are less restrictive in terms of going ahead with the installation.

Make Sure Concrete Has Cured

Allow the concrete surface to cure for at least seven days before preparing it for installation of transit tile. The substrate must be clean and any damage must be fixed before commencing installation. It must also be level to within a fraction of an inch, and platform edges need to be completely or nearly straight. Tolerances must be within 1/8 to 1/4 inches over a 12-foot length of the platform.

Prepare the Surface Accordingly

The flanges of the tile will need to fit properly. To prepare the surface accordingly, parallel to the edges of the platform make saw cuts that measure 3/8 inches wide by 3/4 inches deep. An overall recess of 1/4 inch deep must be created. This ensures the tile sits flush with the platform surface.

Placement

A closeup shot of an ADA Solutions LLC Surface Applied Tactile Tile.

Tactile warning tiles should be placed within the dimensions of a platform and exceed its edge as little as possible. Successive tiles can be installed, but each must have a uniform joint of at least 1/8 inches in between. These separating joints allow for expansion and contraction of the surface tile.

In general, only uncut tiles should be used, and a tile should never measure less than 12 inches long. Truncated domes should align between successive tiles whenever possible. When cutting, if this is necessary, grind off the dome if there’s less than half of it left. If there’s more than half a dome left, it should be beveled.

Apply the Adhesive

Applied on the backside of the tile, the adhesive should be spread across this surface in 12 to 15 spots, including where the fasteners will be secured, to create an effective seal. Use a square notch trowel to apply the adhesive. Curing takes about 24 to 48 hours once the tile has been positioned onto the platform.

ADA Solutions recommends Chem Link M-1® Adhesive/Sealant. This high-strength, one-part adhesive is polyether-based and low odor. It is also VOC-compliant and solvent-free. Providing a strong bond to properly prepared concrete substrates, it is also suited as a perimeter sealant and provides an adequate finish for tactile warning surface panels.

Before applying the adhesive, the surface must be clean and free of loose materials and projections. All voids must be filled. The surface must be clean, damp, or dry and completely smooth. If any contaminants, such as oil, grease, wax, or other sealers and curing compounds, are present, then the adhesive may not properly bond to the surface.

M-1® Adhesive/Sealant cures within 24 hours and can be cleaned from tools, equipment, and panels with isopropyl alcohol. Coverage depends on the type of product used. For five-gallon containers, apply a gallon per every 45 to 60 square feet of substrate; with the 10.1-ounce Adhesive Cartridges, use one cartridge per every 10 square feet of panel.

Use of Fasteners

An ADA Solutions LLC Surface Applied Tactile Tile being quickly installed.

Our tactile tiles contain 15 countersunk holes, but fastener holes can be drilled up to 1/4 x 2½ inches, being as straight as possible, to improve installation results and compensate for any irregularities with the surface substrate. To set the fastener, a hammer and punch pin can be used if necessary. When new holes are needed, drill them straight through the center of truncated domes. Any additional fastener used must be flush with the dome.

Drilling fastener holes generates dust, which can be dispersed with a leaf blower. Fasteners must also be placed, both across the width of the tile and on either side of expansion joints, within four hours of placement. Once properly fastened, the tile is then sawcut near the centerline of the expansion joint. Next, apply sealant in each sawcut, making sure it is flush with each tile’s bevel. Any excess sealant can be cleaned with a damp cloth and acetone.

If there is frequent activity during an ongoing project, protect the tiles during curing or while the site remains under construction by placing hardwood or plywood over them. Also, follow any other manufacturer specifications provided.

Order Transit Tactile Tiles from ADA Solutions

ADA Solutions LLC Surface Applied Tactile Tiles in use at a train station.

We are the leading manufacturer of detectable ADA warning surfaces in North America. Our products are engineered to improve public access and mobility for the visually impaired and other persons with disabilities. With over 1,500 distribution centers, we serve distributors, their customers, and communities across North, Central, and South America.

In addition to surface-applied, we offer cast-in-place tile, composite pavers, and monolithic pre-cast blocks, as well as wayfinding, graphic tiles, and tactile wall tiles for a wide range of applications with the highest commitment to quality and innovation.

Call us at 800-372-0519 to learn more or receive a free quote.

A young woman in a wheelchair in front of a high curb at a pedestrian crossing

Lawsuits filed against large businesses and local governments regarding failures in ADA compliance have become commonplace, leading to settlements in the billions of dollars that require major renovations and repairs. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires cities and businesses to install equipment and design spaces that ensure meaningful access for those who are disabled.

While Atlanta, Portland, and Los Angeles are famous examples of cities with settled lawsuits and commitments into the billions of dollars to make their sidewalks, crosswalks, and ramps ADA-compliant,1 small businesses and localities are increasingly a target of litigation, often under Title III of the ADA. These recent examples of landmark lawsuits are lessons for smaller communities and business owners alike.

Manderson v. New York City Department of Education

This case was filed in May 2020, pointing out the lack of accessible restrooms and evacuation points for disabled employees. The lawsuit alleges that less than 25% of New York schools meet ADA compliance standards.2 As a community center that also hosts town meetings and serves as a voting place, local schools can be required to provide accommodations for all community members who seek access, regardless of disability. The costs for this single education system to achieve compliance are sure to be quite high.

Liberty Resources, Inc. v. the City of Philadelphia

Despite losing a lawsuit almost 25 years ago and being found liable for the condition of sidewalks in the city at that time, another lawsuit has been filed calling out the failure to remove barriers to accessibility. The suit cites unsafe curb ramps, slopes, or a lack of any accessible routes that continue to prevent access for disabled pedestrians or which have only become worse through a lack of maintenance and promised improvements.3 This case is likely to result in legal fees, settlements, and spending commitments in the millions or billions of dollars.

Forsee v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Transit centers, airports, and even Uber and Lyft have been targeted for failing to meet ADA compliance standards, and this suit against the MTA in New York highlights the legal consequences of failing to consider ADA compliance when remodeling or renovating a public space.

By not installing elevators or other stair-free means of access during renovation, the lawsuit alleges that the MTA is causing harm to the public, not only to those who use a wheelchair but to those with heart, lung, or joint conditions that make using stairs difficult or dangerous. In an earlier lawsuit from 2016, the court ruled that the MTA must meet its ADA responsibilities regardless of how much improvements will cost.4

Person wheelchair user at station at barrier free accessibility compartment sign mobility transport

Defending Against Legal Action Increases Compliance Costs

Of course, these large-scale cases are featured in the news, but the impact of legal action on small businesses cannot be denied. Most small businesses that face a surprise lawsuit under Title III of the ADA find it easier to settle for a few thousand dollars and then correct the conditions that resulted in the complaint. While Title III traditionally limits damages to correcting the accessibility issue, legal fees of the plaintiff are also covered and can drastically increase the total a small business owner must pay.

A few states, including New York, Florida, and California, do allow additional money damages in Title III cases, adding to the price of settlement. In these states, business owners and public service facilities can pay more than $20,000 for these additional fees, while still needing to invest in improvements to achieve compliance. The costs of having a suit filed against your organization continue to increase, and the volume of cases rises each year.

Business owners may be taken by surprise with a local lawsuit, but there are steps they can take to lessen the risk and lower the costs associated with being sued. Scheduling an accessibility assessment can make you aware of problems with your ADA compliance and allow time to correct issues and design for accessibility when building or renovating. ADA Solutions can assist your business in planning and supplying the materials needed for ensuring safe accessibility and preventing a lawsuit against your own business, non-profit, or public facility.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-16/ada-lawsuits-target-poorly-maintained-sidewalks
  2. https://dralegal.org/case/manderson-v-new-york-city-department-of-education/
  3. https://dralegal.org/case/liberty-resources-inc-v-the-city-of-philadelphia/
  4. https://dralegal.org/case/forsee-et-al-v-mta-et-al/
3 men walking on hallway

The lawsuit filed by the Association of Oregon Centers for Independent Living on behalf of residents and visitors with disabilities has reached a settlement agreement. The agreement, which was approved by a U.S. District Court, requires the Oregon Department of Transportation to steadily upgrade their entire highway system to meet ADA compliance requirements.1

ADA guidelines require specific curb ramp slopes and accessible crossing signals to be installed as part of street and highway reconstruction projects. However, more than 20 years after these requirements were put into effect, residents of Oregon are still facing street crossings with improperly constructed or missing curb ramps.2

The High Cost of Delaying ADA Compliance

The failure of the Oregon Department of Transportation to meet the ADA-compliance standards was called out by the AOCIL in a joint lawsuit with eight individuals and seven communities who were directly affected by the resulting lack of accessibility. The litigation outlines the impacts, which include choosing between navigating unsafe street crossings or remaining isolated in their homes, and it outlines the DOT’s federal obligations to maintain and build ramps and signals that are ADA compliant.

Under the settlement agreement, the Oregon Department of Transportation will:2

  • Complete an audit of all pedestrian crossing signals and curb ramps along all state highways within one year.
  • Provide safe and accessible temporary routes during construction projects.
  • Install missing curb ramps at crossings and intersections across the state.
  • Fix curb ramps that do not meet ADA guidelines, including those with high edges, steep slopes, or not enough space for turning a wheelchair.
  • Install or upgrade crossing signals to be within reach of a wheelchair, and include audible signals for those with low vision.
  • 30% of identified curb ramp problems from the audit fixed within five years, to reach 75% within 10 years, and 100% within 15 years.

How Citizens and Advocacy Groups Sparked Change in Oregon

There are more than 12 million Americans with vision difficulty and more than 19 million who have ambulatory difficulty.3 These citizens are directly impacted by barriers to accessibility on our nation’s streets and highways. Organizations like the AOCIL are instrumental in advocating for the community and sponsoring ligation that motivates state and local governments to comply with existing ADA requirements.

The Association of Oregon Centers for Independent Living is a statewide collaborative group that includes seven centers for independent living in Oregon, with a mission to engage in community education and systems advocacy. Through the actions of groups like the AOCIL nationwide, more than 116 million dollars in monetary benefits were awarded in ADA legal actions during 2019 alone.4

Constructing a New Level of Community Involvement

Joining a class-action lawsuit or advocacy group is one way to bring positive change to our streets and cities, but when our state and local construction projects are planned with easy, safe access for everyone, then all of our citizens can be truly engaged and involved in our communities.

ADA Solutions is dedicated to providing ADA-compliant materials and supplies for businesses and municipalities across the country. Whether for proactive accessibility planning or required changes to reach compliance and avoid legal action, we have the equipment you need to offer equal access and enjoyment to all citizens and customers. Contact us today to implement fast solutions for a more inclusive future.

Sources:

  1. https://www.clearinghouse.net/detail.php?id=15196
  2. https://ktvz.com/amp/judge-oks-settlement-of-odot-ada-lawsuit
  3. https://www.akeaweb.com/learn-about-web-accessibility/resources/accessibility-statistics/
  4. https://www.eeoc.gov/statistics/ada-charge-data-monetary-benefits-charges-filed-eeoc-fy-1997-fy-2019
How to Prepare Your Business for a Power Outage (Infographic)

Businesses can experience many emergency situations. As such, there may be a number of contingency plans in place—but do you have a plan for what to do in a power outage? Here’s how to prepare your business so that you can continue operating safely.

Ensuring that your staff has proper training and the safety and medical equipment they need can be a great help in the event that a power outage strikes. Training should assign a role to each employee, and all should participate in regular emergency drills for a seamless transition in an outage.

A backup power source will be absolutely essential to continue operations during a power outage. This includes gas or diesel generators, as well as battery backups for computers. Vital data and records should be backed up regularly and stored at an off-site location so they can be accessed in an emergency.

Items like smoke detectors, fully ADA-compliant tactile surfaces and emergency lighting should all be present to ensure all who work in your facility can continue to do so safely.

There are many ways to protect your business in the event of a power outage. For more great tips, check out this detailed infographic from ADA Solutions.

How to Prepare Your Business for a Power Outage (Infographic)

Click below to embed this infographic into your website:

A businessman talking with a client who is visually impaired

Our language is continually changing to encompass new ideas and express our evolving perspectives. Sometimes this happens organically and, other times, by deliberate changes we make when we become aware that our habitual language is not in line with our respectful intentions.

Almost all of us want to show respect for the people with whom we live and work. Staying in touch with the latest ADA guidelines and recommendations for disability language is a great way to stay up-to-date in your signage, social media, and written communications. These tips may also help you feel more comfortable speaking with everyone you encounter.

Let’s explore why the words we choose matter so much, the idea of “person-first” language, some basic disability etiquette, and conversational strategies that will help you feel more comfortable and confident that your language is communicating the respect you intend.

The Power of the Words We Choose

In the past, the language surrounding people with disabilities often defined or pre-judged the individual by the nature of their condition. The problem is widespread, impacting the one in five Americans who have a disability.1 Language that is biased toward these people perpetuates old and negative stereotypes about these individuals.

When we define people by who they are and what they accomplish, rather than the physical or mental situations they face, we empower them to contribute and enrich our communities and our culture. Our socially aware and inclusive language should value people as parents, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and friends.

Language Can Be an Obstacle

One negative example is the word “handicapped.” This word is no longer considered a respectful term to apply to a person. A handicap is an obstacle that blocks, limits, or restrains a person, and the word should not be used as an identifier for a person or group. A disability, on the other hand, is a condition a person may have that is caused by trauma, genetics, or disease.

So, instead of saying “Roberta is a handicapped artist,” we would say “Roberta is an artist who has a disability.” Or we could simply say “Roberta is an artist” in any case where Roberta’s disability is not relevant to the topic at hand.

There is even an untrue story about the origin of the term “handicapped” that links it to being a person who holds out their cap for charity. So, while official documentation and signage are slowly being updated, removing this word from your business and personal vocabulary may be a good first step in deliberately changing your language.

What Is “People-First” Language?

A woman talking with a man who is a wheelchair user

Most of us have experienced demeaning language at one time or another. Labeling someone based on outward appearance or unique physical attributes is known to be hurtful and bullying, and we can empathize with others who face this kind of biased and limiting language on a daily basis.

People are individuals and deserve to be mentioned before or instead of their possible disabilities. Using disability language that puts the people first, then mentioning their disabilities when appropriate, is the preferred and recommended language according to ADA guidelines and documents.2

Some examples of person-first language include saying:

  • “A child with autism” instead of “an autistic child”
  • “A person who is blind” rather than “a blind person”
  • “A teenager with a learning disability” in contrast to “a special-needs student”
  • “A person who is disabled or uses a wheelchair” instead of “a handicapped person”
  • “Customers with limited mobility” versus “disabled customers”

Another way to put the person first is to ask for their preferred terms and listen to their personal preferences regarding how they refer to themselves or want to be addressed. Every person’s past history and current perspective is unique, and which phrases are perceived as respectful and inclusive language varies accordingly.

Words and Phrases that May Be Offensive

Disability language and habits that may be offensive to some individuals:

  • Focusing on or mentioning the disability when it is not relevant to the topic or the situation.
  • Discussing or raising the expectation that all people with disabilities must be heroic, brave, or inspiring.
  • Using dramatic words to describe disabilities, including phrases like “suffers from,” “afflicted with,” “confined to,” “crippled by,” or “victim of.”
  • Lumping together groups defined only by a disability; for example, “the deaf” or “the autistic.”
  • The use of made-up or possibly patronizing phrases such as “differently abled” or “physically inconvenienced.”

So, What Is the Right Thing to Say to a Person with a Disability?

Talk to people who have disabilities as an active listener and with respect, which is also good advice for most conversations. There is no reason to twist and contort your language or avoid common phrases like “Did you see” or “Did you hear” or “Let’s run to the store” in the company of these individuals. Disability etiquette is about valuing people for who they are, rather than focusing on the conditions they have.

What is helpful when speaking to people with low vision, blindness, or difficulty hearing is to change your language to replace the visual or auditory clues they may miss. For example, to a person with blindness, instead of saying “The door is right over there,” say “It is the second door on your right, as you continue down the hall.”

Unfortunately, when we are unsure how to speak to someone without offending them, there is a tendency to avoid contact. This is the opposite of the intention. An essential part of good communication is not fearing a well-intentioned mistake. All participants in a conversation have a responsibility to help each other connect. Choose words that you feel comfortable with and be open to honest feedback from those with whom you speak. These tips are equally helpful in almost all social encounters.

Respecting the Needs of People with Disabilities

A woman and a man who is a wheelchair user having coffee together

There are some other situations where you might wonder about the etiquette of offering assistance or engaging with people who have limited mobility or a disability. Your good intentions can be more clearly understood when you:3

  • Offer assistance, wait for a response, and follow requests or instructions from the other person. Avoid physically assisting them without their agreement, and follow their specific instructions when doing so.
  • If someone’s speaking voice is difficult for you to understand, resist the temptation to pretend that you do. Instead, ask them to repeat themselves or to write down the words you do not understand.
  • Schedule events and meetings with the needs of all attendees in mind. Make sure the event area is accessible and that there are adequate breaks scheduled and accessible restrooms. Provide interpreters as needed, and offer information in both visual and audio formats.
  • Ask about and offer accommodations for anyone and everyone who is attending your event or visiting your business and home, regardless of whether they have a visually discernible disability or not. By doing so, you make it easy for people to ask for what they need to be safe and comfortable.
  • Remember that mobility devices such as wheelchairs are part of someone’s personal space. Avoid grabbing a wheelchair without asking, leaning on it, or otherwise infringing on a person’s freedom of movement without asking.
  • Service animals are highly trained to focus on their work. Avoid distracting them and do not speak to the animals, offer them food, or pet them without the person’s permission.
  • Address people directly and at eye level when possible. Even if they have a caregiver or interpreter, make eye contact and speak to them personally. Sitting or crouching to speak to a person who uses a wheelchair will help prevent neck strain and make it easier to see eye to eye.

Making Yourself More Accessible

Making these kinds of intentional changes in how you communicate and engage with people who have disabilities is a benefit for you as well. You literally become more accessible and easier to talk to, work with, and get to know. You will meet people with unique perspectives and truly engage them as neighbors, friends, and regular customers.

Learning more about inclusive language and the ADA guidelines for both physical accessibility and creating a welcoming environment for those with disabilities is a personally rewarding action that also makes the lives of those around you better. At ADA Solutions, Inc., we are committed to helping individuals, nonprofits, and businesses become fully accessible and fully engaged in our communities. Contact us today to learn more about this topic and how to evaluate your home, business, or facility for ADA-accessibility improvements.

Sources:

  1. https://tcdd.texas.gov/resources/people-first-language/
  2. https://adata.org/factsheet/ADANN-writing
  3. http://nwadacenter.org/factsheet/respectful-interactions-disability-language-and-etiquette
man in a mechanical wheelchair is passing by the alee of the park

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is the law of the land. Ignoring the requirements to provide accessible access to people with disabilities can have serious legal and financial consequences for businesses and localities across the U.S. Failing to install and maintain an ADA compliant sidewalk or curb ramp slope which allows safer access to public areas can easily spark a lawsuit.

Crumbling stairs, steep curbs, and broken sidewalks create a trip hazard for everyone who uses them. For those with low vision or who use a walker or wheelchair, they are an obstacle to safe access and present even more danger of accident and injury.

Is your city or business putting enough focus on ADA compliance? What are the consequences of failing to comply with ADA requirements?

Legal Actions and Lawsuits Surrounding ADA Compliance

Reviewing these landmark cases and legal actions makes clear the seriousness of failing to install or maintain ADA-compliant sidewalks, parking lots, and entryways:1,2,3

  • $15-million-dollar settlement for Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Failing to install curb ramp slopes, ease-of-access aisles, and accessible parking resulted in the city signing a $15-million-dollar settlement agreement that outlines the improvements needed to create an accessible community. This included accessible pathways for all parks, upgraded restrooms, and improved access to city services.
  • $1.3-billion-dollar commitment in Los Angeles, California. The City of Los Angeles agreed to a legal settlement that was called for by citizens and advocate groups. This settlement outlines massive infrastructure repair and improvement, including fixing their famously deteriorating sidewalks to meet ADA ramp and surface requirements. This may be the largest settlement regarding an American city’s accessibility thus far.
  • The City of Philadelphia. Sidewalks and pedestrian routes have been named in a lawsuit against the city under the ADA rules, which require these areas to be accessible for residents and visitors with disabilities.
  • The City of Oakland faced an ADA lawsuit due to inaccessible rental units that limit or prevent citizens from having access to rent-controlled housing or force them to live in inaccessible units with unsafe access.
  • $113 million for Portland, Oregon, which settled a class-action lawsuit with the agreement to repair and replace its sidewalk ramps to a safer curb ramp slope.
  • A settlement of $19,000 from Colorado Springs to a local couple, combined with a commitment to install 15,000 ADA-compliant curb ramps in the city, with a further investment of $300,000 for full-time ADA inspectors to improve their ADA compliance.
  • More than 142 local government entities have been named in lawsuits for failing to maintain ADA compliance, and most of these end in very large settlement agreements to fund new construction of ADA sidewalks, ramps, and other improvements. Atlanta, NYC, Seattle, and Long Beach have all been named in recent lawsuits.

A woman and a man who is a wheelchair user having coffee together

Planning Ahead for ADA Compliance

Local governments and business owners often agree to settlements that require them to correct the issues and work toward compliance, in order to avoid the very steep fines and penalties that go along with being found in violation of the ADA. Businesses and cities found to be in violation face a $75,000 fine for the first incident and $150,000 for any additional failures to comply.

In many communities, businesses are still held responsible for the public sidewalks in front of their buildings and, of course, for parking areas and public facilities that are privately owned. Installing the right ramps, curb slopes, and turning areas now is a far more affordable way to provide access to customers and citizens while avoiding a costly lawsuit under the ADA. Contact us today at ADA Solutions for affordable, planned approaches to ADA compliance.

Sources:

  1. https://nextcity.org/features/view/ada-compliance-accessible-design-cities-lawsuits-doj
  2. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-16/ada-lawsuits-target-poorly-maintained-sidewalks
  3. https://koaa.com/news/news5-investigates/2019/03/27/city-of-colorado-springs-agrees-to-settle-second-ada-lawsuit-in-6-months/
A rusty Brodie helmet from WW1.

Since the 1900s, the way in which disability is perceived and treated has changed dramatically. For example, sidewalk truncated domes are now standard in cities, and those with disabilities now enjoy inclusive workplaces and communities. Join us as we take a look back at the history of disability rights.

The 1900s

The early 19th century saw new attempts at the resolution of disability with asylums and segregated schools. During this time, many institutions were established in both Europe and North America for individuals with blindness, deafness, and other physical and intellectual disabilities.

Disabilities were also better able to be treated during this time, thanks to the development of the differential diagnosis. New methods of education and interventions for treatment were also devised during this century.

1918 was the year that Congress passed a rehabilitation program for soldiers, due to the large numbers of WW1 veterans who returned from the war disabled. The rehabilitation program was the first of its kind. One year later, the Ohio Society for Crippled Children, which would become the Easter Seals organization, was founded.

The 1920s

The 1920s would see contrasting developments occurring in the realm of disability rights. In 1925, Samuel Orton began an extensive study of dyslexia, based on his hypothesis that the condition might be neurological and not visual.

An unfortunate development occurred in 1925 when it was ruled by the Supreme Court that the compulsory sterilization of those with mental illness was constitutional, albeit under careful state safeguards. It may come as a great surprise to many that this ruling has yet to be overturned.

In 1925, the respiratory muscle paralysis experienced by those with polio would soon be able to be treated with that year’s invention of the iron lung, which provided artificial respiration.

The 1930s

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who suffered from polio, would become America’s 32nd president. Soon after, he would help to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which is now known as the March of Dimes. The California Council for the Blind would be formed in 1934 and, the next year, Roosevelt would sign the Social Security Act, which would begin providing permanent assistance to disabled adults.

The 1940s

Rosemary Kennedy would undergo a failed lobotomy in 1941, after which she would be moved to a Wisconsin school for exceptional children. Rosemary’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver would later found the Special Olympics in her honor.

New York City’s Dr. Howard A. Rusk would found the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1948. His theories would become the basis for all types of rehabilitation medicine and address the social, psychological, and emotional aspects of living with disabilities.

The 1950s

This decade would see the beginning of the “barrier-free movement” by a combined force of disabled veterans and individuals, along with organizations such as the National Easter Seals Society and the Veterans Administration. As a result of their combined efforts, national standards for barrier-free buildings and safer walkways with truncated domes would eventually be developed.

Parents of children with what was then referred to as mental retardation would begin the work of changing public perception of the condition with the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC). The organization would ensure that all diagnosed with mental retardation would receive the support they needed to thrive in all American communities.

The 1960s

A wheelchair ramp.

The 1960s would prove to be a dynamic and intense time for the disabled. The accessibility and usability of buildings would be in the spotlight in 1961 when the first accessibility standard would be published. By 1973, accessibility legislation would be adopted by 49 states.

A young Ed Roberts, who suffered from polio, was denied admission into the University of California, Berkeley in 1962. He would fight this decision and become the first person to be enrolled. The efforts of Roberts and other disabled students would result in the formation of the Independent Living Movement and the establishment of the first Center for Independent Living.

In 1963, an act would pass that would see money set aside for the development of councils, protection, advocacy, and university centers for all with disabilities. Two years later, Medicaid would be created. The Architectural Barriers act of 1968 would mandate that all buildings be made accessible to those with disabilities.

The 1970s

Wheelchair-bound Judy Heumann would file and settle a lawsuit in 1971 because of being denied a teaching license by New York City’s Board of Education. She would then become an activist and later found the Independent Living Movement with Ed Roberts. Also that year, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 would make it illegal for any federally funded public institution to discriminate based on disability.

In 1974, the first convention for the national organization People First would be held in Oregon. That same year, the last law which allowed police to arrest and place in jail anyone demonstrating an apparent disability, also called an “ugly law,” was repealed in Chicago.

The final years of the 70s would see protests by disability demonstrators, the development of the Education Fest for disabled Hispanic children, and the establishment of the National Council on Disability.

The 1980s

The first three years of the 1980s would include the Department of Justice being given the power to sue any residential or treatment institutions that violated the rights of disabled persons in their care.

Also at this time, global equality and full participation of disabled persons would be encouraged by the UN, the National Organization on Disability would be founded, and a national campaign would begin to make public transportation accessible. This would lead to accessible housing being mandated and a new act that would prohibit air carriers from discrimination against disability.

The 1990s

President George H. W. Bush would sign the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990. It would bring together all disability supporters, advocates, and organizations together for the benefit of disabled persons. It would also mandate the use of ADA truncated domes for easy detection of approach to hazardous locations.

An ADA truncated dome tile from ADA Solutions LLC being installed on a sidewalk.

1996 would see the Telecommunications Act being passed. The act would require all telecommunication devices to be equipped with accessibility features. In 1998, a federal judge would rule that professional golfer Casey Martin had the right to use a golf cart in PGA Tournaments due to his rare circulatory disorder.

In 1999,  the availability of Medicare and Medicaid for disabled beneficiaries would be expanded by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvements Act.  It would also be ruled that individuals have the right to receive benefits, and that it would be illegal discrimination to fail to find community-based placements for qualifying individuals with disabilities.

The 2000s

2001 saw detectable warnings for curb cuts becoming officially required. The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health would be established in 2002. The Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act would authorize funding and education for its athletes. California voters would pass Proposition 63, which would provide a wide range of services for those with severe mental illness.

In 2005, Terri Schiavo, who was in an irreversible persistent vegetative state for seven years prior, would have her feeding tube ordered removed and ultimately pass away that year. In 2006, mental health parity would be achieved with the passing of Timothy’s Law.

2006 to 2010 saw the extension of the Americans with Disabilities Act to include those in state prisons and saw mental health facilities being held accountable under Jonathan’s Law. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would require free and appropriate education for all students with disabilities, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act would become law. The Christopher and Dana Reeves Paralysis Act would also become law, and the reference “intellectual disability” would replace “mental retardation.”

2011’s passing of the new Americans with Disabilities Act would greatly expand requirements for accessibility and set new standards for mobility devices, ticket sales, and service animals, to name a very few. Many lawsuits and protests in the following years would lead to further confirmation, expansion, and enforcement of rights for those with disabilities that continue to this day.

Currently

ADA Solutions is a leading manufacturer of truncated dome mats and other tactile warning surface tiles. Call 1-800-372-0519 to learn more about the benefits of our competitively priced products and request your free quote.

Handicapped Accessible Sign

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses, non-profit organizations, and state and local governments must provide equal opportunities to the general public and people with disabilities. Many associate it with workplace discrimination, but ADA compliance involves ensuring public areas are accessible. Here are 7 ways you can ensure your business is compliant.

Do All Businesses Have to Be ADA Compliant?

  1. Title III of the ADA applies to all private and public entities that serve the public. These include but are not limited to stores, restaurants, and other service establishments, as well as hotels, private schools, theaters, museums, doctor’s offices, and shopping malls. A broad set of standards was introduced in 1991, but requirements were significantly revised in 2010.

Is ADA Compliance Mandatory?

  1. Architectural barriers must be removed when doing so doesn’t impose undue difficulty on an organization. The size, type, and financial burden of modifying a public accommodation is taken into account, but what is difficult at one time may not be so in the future. The language of the ADA recognizes that business finances change over time.

How Do I Know My Business Meets ADA-Compliance Requirements?

The primary areas to focus on, especially if resources are limited, include:

  1. Parking Areas: Handicapped, or accessible, parking spots are required under the ADA. For every 25 parking spaces, there should be at least one accessible spot. Accessible parking spaces must be closest to the nearest wheelchair-accessible entrance. The law also sets limits on the ground slope and requires access aisles to be five feet wide near a car-accessible space and eight feet wide near a van-accessible space.

Handicap Parking sign

  1. Building Entrances: Accessible entrances must remain unlocked during business hours. Any bell or intercom must be four feet or less from the ground. Non-accessible entrances are permissible if a building has more than one entryway, but must have clear signage directing individuals to the nearest accessible entrance. Door hardware must be usable by people with mobility issues, such as levers and loop handles.
  2. Ramps: Where steps are removed, ramps or lifts must be provided, with limits on the steepness of a slope. Accessible ramps must be at least 36 inches wide. If data cables, hoses, or extension cords run across a ramp, they must be protected by a special heavy-duty cover that meets ADA-compliance standards. If one isn’t available or appropriate, a standard heavy-duty polyurethane cord protector can be used.
  3. Elevators: Accessible entrances must provide direct access to elevators. Call buttons must not be higher than 54 inches above the floor. The sliding door must also reopen automatically if something is obstructing it. Elevator interiors must be at least 54 inches deep by 36 inches wide, with at least 16 square feet of clear floor space.
  4. Signage: The International Symbol of Accessibility must be featured at all accessible parking spaces, elevators, bathrooms, and areas leading to accessible entrances. It should not protrude more than four inches into the accessible path. Tactile characters and braille must designate permanent rooms and spaces, while text must contrast with the background.

Order Detectable Warning Surfaces from ADA Solutions Today

Tactile warning surfaces are a staple of the ADA. Their purpose is to alert visually impaired individuals of transitions between pedestrian pathways and potentially hazardous areas such as streets, bus stops, or train tracks. Truncated domes can be felt using a cane, wheelchair, or walker. At ADA Solutions, we offer many types of products. Feel free to browse our catalog and educational resources, or call 800-372-0519 for help achieving ADA compliance.

diagonal tactile paving at platform edge

Detectable warning surfaces are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Federal guidelines require warning mats to be of a minimum size and for truncated domes to meet specific diameter, height, and spacing requirements. These surface-mounted truncated domes can be felt through a cane, walker, wheelchair, or a person’s feet.

Among the most important ADA requirements is where tactile surfaces should be located. To alert an individual of the edge of a walkable path and any potential oncoming traffic and other hazards, these should be placed at:

Curb Ramps

Cutting through a curb or built up to it, curb ramps let walker, scooter, or wheelchair users safely travel between the street and sidewalk. For a person who is visually impaired, identifying these transitions can be difficult. Therefore, detectable warning mats are required where the sidewalk meets the street, a curb indicates a crosswalk, or anywhere a ramp is located. On a sidewalk, truncated domes tell visually impaired individuals they are in a safe area or that moving traffic may be nearby.

Street Intersections

Tactile surfaces must be installed on curb ramps at street intersections. If the street or sidewalk was built pre-ADA, it will vary whether this is required. a municipality can install curb ramps at key pedestrian crossings to ease access to accessible building entrances and to and from accessible parking garages. At other nearby crossings and locations, it may choose to install curb ramps and detectable warning tiles, depending on whether other public facilities are nearby or if input from people with mobility disabilities suggests they are needed.

Transit Platform Edges

ADA compliant detectable warning surface tactiles installation

The ADA requires platform boarding edges without protective screens or guards to have tactile warning surfaces. Panels must be 24 inches wide for the entire length of a platform used by the public. Some warning systems use grooved lines. However, visually impaired people may not easily recognize these. Hard truncated domes are easily identifiable, even underfoot through the soles of one’s shoes, to alert someone of the platform edge and prevent them from falling onto the tracks.

Track Crossings

Truncated dome mats are required on sections of sidewalk approaching where the path crosses a train track. They must be far enough back to alert someone well before they could be in danger. In general, a distance of six to fifteen feet (from the center line of the nearest rail) is sufficient. It leaves enough room for a train gate to close, and it keeps the person far enough from a passing train.

Islands or Cut-Through Medians

A raised island at a crossing must be cut through and level with the street. Alternatively, it can have curb ramps at both sides. There also needs to be a level area of at least 48 inches long by 36 inches wide in the direction of the ramp’s running slope.

If you have any questions or uncertainties about truncated dome requirements or your facility’s need for detectable warnings, ADA Solutions can help. We offer numerous products with surface-mounted truncated domes that comply with the latest standards. Contact us today at 800-372-0519.

Cast in Place Tactile

Most businesses are required by law to follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This important piece of legislation, first enforced in 1991 and amended over the years, mainly focuses on businesses that serve the public. It requires them to provide equal opportunity to individuals with disabilities, especially regarding access. There are five segments called titles that provide guidance as to which businesses must be ADA-compliant.

Here is a closer look at the most relevant ones:

  • ADA Title I: This is most applicable to small private business owners. Private employers are covered under Title I, which prohibits discrimination based on disability, requires businesses to provide all employees with the same privileges, and makes reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform their duties. Those required to comply with the law include anyone who:
    • Works in an industry that impacts commerce
    • Employs 15 or more workers on a full-time basis
    • Does so for at least 20 weeks per year
  • ADA Title III: This only applies to businesses that are categorized as public accommodations. There are many that fall into this group. Under federal law, such accommodations include restaurants and bars, retail outlets, banks, health care provider offices, banks, and inns, hotels, and motels. Schools, gyms, social service centers, recreation venues, and public transportation facilities must also be compliant.

Those exempt from the law include private religious organizations and clubs, but there are many commercial facilities that aren’t included either. If a warehouse, office building, or factory doesn’t provide goods or services directly to the public, it only needs to meet ADA requirements if it undergoes alterations or is being newly constructed.

ADA guidelines are less strict for small businesses. However, owners are expected to make reasonable efforts to accommodate individuals with disabilities. That means if your facility prohibits animals, an exemption for service dogs is recommended. If it’s not too difficult or costly, physical barriers should be removed to best serve the public.

For businesses with larger resources, the “readily achievable” requirement takes a larger stand because these organizations can take a more active role. Also, the ADA recognizes the impact of economic factors such as profits. If profits go down, a reduction or delay in barrier removal can be accepted under the ADA.

What Is ADA?

In its 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, the United States Department of Justice called for the removal of architectural barriers to make facilities more accessible. Some of its requirements include adding curb cuts to sidewalks and entrances, arranging furniture so that there’s a clear path of travel, widening doors, and allowing enough room around toilet partitions to accommodate a wheelchair.

The regulations also cover factors such as entrance ramps and accessible parking in areas of public accommodation. Also, the ADA focuses on ensuring goods and services are available by changing display rack layouts, using more visible signage, or including Braille.

The ADA provides a safe harbor provision in its Title III regulations. It states that any facility elements built or altered before March 15, 2012 don’t have to be adapted to the 2010 standards if they comply with the standards that went into effect in 1991. However, residential facilities and dwelling units, amusement rides, golf facilities, play areas, and swimming pools aren’t covered by the provision.

What Are the Consequences of Noncompliance?

It is important to be ADA-compliant, as it not only improves accessibility and safety but also because it is looked upon carefully by the courts. Proving that barrier removal could not be readily achieved can be a challenge, as the court may see this argument as a weak defense. There are variables such as what is not readily achievable can be done later. Ambiguities in the statutory language can present challenges for any facility or government entity being sued.

The civil penalties for ADA-noncompliance were last adjusted in 2014. A business found to violate ADA Title III rules can face a civil penalty of as much as $75,000 for a first violation. The maximum is $150,000 for a subsequent violation.1

Areas of Compliance

Brick Red Surface Applied Detectable Warning System

The ADA has provided a checklist for barrier removal to use as guidance. Some areas of compliance involve accessibility of public telephones, elevator call buttons and control panels, drinking fountains, self-service kiosks, and vending machines.

Regarding ADA safety, perhaps the most important consideration concerns detectable warning surfaces. These are required wherever there is a public right-of-way. Crosswalks, store entrances, walkways, and parking lots are just a few examples. The ADA provides specific regulations on the size and placement of these panels, as well as the width, height, and spacing of the truncated domes on them that allow people using canes, wheelchairs, and scooters to detect a transition in surfaces or where an area of high traffic is nearby.

ADA Solutions Can Help Your Facility Stay Compliant

Our products can help you comply with ADA regulations and local ordinances and laws. While the ADA doesn’t, some local jurisdictions require a specific color to be used. The ADA calls for a contrast of light and dark. If you’re looking to complete ADA compliant updates, we can help you with a variety of products, including replaceable panels and cast-in-place units. If you don’t have ADA-compliant pavers, you can retrofit your facility with surface-applied detectable warning systems.

Yellow Transit Detectable Warning Tile

We also offer tactile radius systems for curved areas such as sidewalk corners or turns in accessible pathways. Replaceable graphic tiles, photoluminescent systems, and heavy-duty cast in place warning tiles for transit facilities are available as well. The guidelines for transit facilities are somewhat different, but we offer those and Staggered Dome Surface Applied Tactile, In-Line Surface Applied Tactile, and Staggered Dome Cast-in-Place Tactile surfaces.

Whatever the needs of your public facility, ADA Solutions can provide the ADA-compliant tactile warning surfaces it needs to improve accessibility, safety, and compliance. Call 800-372-0519 to learn more or get a free quote.

Source:

  1. https://www.ada.gov/civil_penalties_2014.htm