yellow surface applied warning tiles

If you’re looking to improve your public access system, look no further than the most recent guidelines. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which became a law in 1990, covers everything from workplace discrimination to web usability, to the accessibility of public access points. Titles II and III, which were originally published in 1991, are collectively known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. If you intend on making improvements in 2020, here are some requirements to consider.

Public access systems owned by state and local government agencies, commercial facilities, and operators of public accommodations must be ADA-compliant. The law applies to newly designed facilities, newly constructed facilities, and those that have been altered after the latest rules went into effect.

To be compliant with these standards, a facility must be:

  • Readily accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • Usable by individuals with disabilities.

What Is Required and Where?

Here is what to improve if you’re looking to update your public access system:

  • Curb Ramps: Updates as recently as 2016 make state and local governments fully responsible for how they build curbs. These guidelines call for a slope of no more than 8.33% and for the ramp to be at least 36 inches wide.1 Any transition must be level with the street, walkway, or gutter. A curb ramp must be placed anywhere a sidewalk or pedestrian path touches a curb that transitions into a roadway.
  • Sidewalks: Any sidewalk must have a clear width of 36 inches minimum. However, if a given section extends for 24 inches, this can be reduced to 32 inches, but reduced width areas must be separated by 48- x 36-inch (minimum) segments. At least one accessible route must be available from a public street, accessible parking area, or passenger loading zone. Common violations include incorrect or missing signs at entrances or exits, steep slopes, a lack of accessible bathroom stalls, and non-compliant stairways, parking spaces, and service counters.2

The latest guidelines consider the fact people with disabilities may not notice changes in walking surfaces. This includes where a sidewalk transitions into a busy street with vehicular traffic or where an elevated ramp begins, which stresses the need for:

  • Detectable Warning Surfaces: These are surfaces placed on or embedded in concrete that feature truncated domes. Each dome must meet specific guidelines in terms of height, width, and placement in relation to other domes. The purpose of this is to create an audible surface that makes a sound when a person using a walking stick or wheelchair passes over it. Detectable warning surfaces are bright in color to provide contrast with surrounding surfaces. Their tactile nature enables people to feel the truncated domes below their feet (more on tactile warning surfaces by ADA Solutions, Inc. later).

Requirements are in place for specific types of facilities. Here is a look at ADA requirements to consider when making improvements to:

  • Housing at Places of Education: Kitchens must have a turning space of at least 36 inches wide, while multi-bedroom housing units with accessible sleeping rooms must have an accessible route through the unit.
  • Assembly Areas: Horizontally dispersed wheelchair spaces and companion seats must be available in stadiums, arenas, and grandstands on all levels near a field of play or performance area. In stadium-style movie theaters, they must be on a riser or cross-aisle within the rear 60% of seats.3
  • Medical Care Facilities: Sufficient clear floor space should be available at a parallel approach to the side of a bed. Turning space should be provided in toilet and bathing rooms, as well. Doors in such rooms must not impose on the clear floor space when open unless they’re not for common use or public use.
  • Detection/Correctional Facilities: At least 3% of cells, and no fewer than one cell, in a facility must have accessible mobility features, including adequate turning space, compliant benches, and clear floor space near a bed and in toilet and bathing facilities.4
  • Primary Function Areas: Areas within a facility containing a major activity, such as bank tellers, telephones, restrooms, drinking fountains, and employee areas, must have an accessible path of travel.

In fact, ADA requirements affect any business or organization that accommodates the public, including stores, restaurants, public restrooms, parks, parking garages, bus stations, and train/rail/subway stations; as well as airports, hotels/motels/resorts, and apartment/rental properties.

Cast-in-place Tile

In addition to detectable warning surfaces and clear accessibility paths, you want to ensure the following are ADA-compliant:

  • Number of accessible parking spaces: There must be at least one accessible parking space in a parking facility of up to 25 total spaces, two in a 26 to 25 space lot, and 2% of the total in a parking facility with 501 to 1,000 spaces.
  • Accessible doors/gates: Doors must have a clear width of at least 32 inches, measured with the door open 90 degrees, and openings more than 24 inches deep must provide at least 36 inches of clear space with no projections lower than 34 inches high.
  • Handles: A handle, latch, or lock on a door or gate must be between 34 and 48 inches high from the floor or ground. Similarly, railings, handrails, and guards can not exceed 34 inches above the ground or a deck surface.
  • Ramp rails: Handrails are also required on ramp runs that rise more than 6 inches; they should be provided on both sides of ramps and stairs. The top gripping surface must be between 34 and 38 inches high at all points above a walking or ramp surface.
  • Benches: Bench seats must be at least 42 inches long and from 20 to 24 inches deep, with proper back support; adequate clear floor or ground space must be positioned at the end of the bench seat and parallel to the bench’s short axis.6

Improve Your Public Access System with ADA Products

At ADA Solutions, Inc., we can help your facility meet ADA requirements. We provide a variety of warning surfaces that improve public access and mobility for visually impaired or otherwise disabled persons. Our Cast-in-Place replaceable panels introduced in 2006 are designed for insertion into fresh concrete, while our Surface Applied detectable warning surfaces can be retrofit onto an existing concrete surface or new construction.

We also offer a heavy-duty Cast-in-Place panel with linear embedment ribs. In addition, our radius system accommodates turns in walking surfaces; they can accommodate a variety of radius conditions and be custom cut to fit applications when necessary. We are also glad to offer solutions for transit facilities, including Heavy Duty Cast-in-Place Tactile, Staggered Dome Surface Applied Tactile, In-Line Surface Applied Tactile, and Staggered Dome Cast-in-Place Tactile.

curved detectable warning tiles on sidewalk.

Most of our products are made of a durable fiberglass reinforced composite material that’s resistant to UV fade and allows your facility to address compliance with the latest ADA standards. Cast iron detectable warning surfaces are also available. Tactile feedback improves public access, mobility, and safety for all pedestrians. Our products meet all the dimensional requirements and specifications outlined in the latest guidelines.

To learn more about how to improve your public access system in 2020 or receive a free quote, call ADA Solutions, Inc. at (800) 372-0519 to speak to a detectable warning expert.

Sources:

  1. https://adatile.com/govt-regs/
  2. https://adatile.com/california-ada-requirements/
  3. https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#sec80922
  4. https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#assemblyareas
  5. https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm#assemblyareas
  6. https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAstandards.htm
curved detectable warning tiles on sidewalk.

When you need a way to increase accessibility and safety for visually impaired pedestrians, tactile paving is your solution. This system allows a pedestrian to detect a distinctive pattern underfoot, providing a warning of approaching hazards. These ADA-compliant tiles are available in a number of different types.

Where Can ADA Tiles Be Found?

The ADA tile system can be found virtually everywhere. Train, subway, and bus stations are required by law to use these tiles to ensure pedestrians remain a safe distance away from tracks and moving vehicles.

On city streets, tiles must be placed on corners to warn about upcoming street crossings. They are available in regular or curved detectable warning tiles. Way-finding surfaces like truncated dome surface tiles help to guide pedestrians across any walking surface.

Forms

ADA-compliant tiles are available in both regular and radius forms. The regular form is a rectangular shape, which is ideal for installation in straight lines, such as along the edge of a subway platform.

Radius systems are curved, which allows for installation along curbs, walkways, and other surfaces where tactile warnings are needed in order to avoid injury due to surface changes.

Pattern

ADA tile systems consist of truncated domes in various patterns. Truncated domes provide a surface that’s different from any other. This is a very important point, as this kind of distinct pattern will prevent pedestrians from confusing it with that of another surface, such as gravel. The truncated dome pattern also allows for the warning to occur as soon as the pedestrian feels it underfoot.

Installation Types

ADA tiles can be installed in three different ways. Each will have its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your climate, budget, and other specific requirements. There are three types of ADA tile: cast-in-place, surface applied, and cast-in-place replaceable.

Cast-in-place Tile

Cast-in-Place

Cast-in-place radius tactile warning panels are a long-term warning system solution. They are made of iron or a composite material consisting of fiberglass, carbon, and homogeneous glass. Each tile features embedment ribs to secure the tile, which is pressed into freshly poured concrete.

Applications for Cast-in-Place Tiles

These tiles are ideal for virtually any climate or application, whether private or public. The product provides pedestrians with an instant warning that a potentially hazardous condition is near. The cast-in-place tile can be seen in locations where the surface transitions from one type to another, such as from a ramp to the sidewalk or from a sidewalk to an intersection.

Cast-in-place tiles are also used where conditions may otherwise be too dangerous for a visually impaired pedestrian to access without assistance. Examples of these can be stair landings, parking lots, or public transportation platforms where permanent warnings are needed.

Benefits

This type of tile does not require any painting to maintain its color, as the cast-in-place product is colored throughout for long-term color-fastness. In addition to Seattle Yellow, this option is available in eight additional colors, all of them ADA approved.

Disadvantages

Tiles of this type can only be installed in fresh concrete. In order to remove them, complete demolition is needed and new concrete poured in order to install new tiles. As a result, this type of tile takes the longest to install and remove.

Surface Applied

The surface-applied tile can either be used to fit onto existing hardened concrete or installed onto new concrete. This lightweight product is made of exterior-grade fiberglass polymer composite material that is both UV stable and colorfast. They also contain beveled edges to create a seamless transition.

Applications for Surface-Applied Tiles

Surface-applied radius tactile panels are best for applications where it isn’t feasible, cost-effective, or necessary to replace concrete. As a result, they can be installed on entryways, ramps, and sidewalks of local businesses, as well as in front of government buildings. They can also be installed in parking lots and on streets and ramps.

Benefits

This product offers more than one option for installation, as it can be inserted into new concrete as well as installed over existing concrete. Secure installation is another benefit; surface-applied tiles have both color-matched fasteners and structural adhesive to ensure a reliable and long-term fit.

Because they are designed to be placed on top of concrete, surface-applied tiles take only a few minutes to install. Should the need arise to remove this type of tile, all that’s required is to break it apart and remove the pieces.

Disadvantages

Depending on the heaviness of traffic, these tiles may need to be replaced more often than other types. They also require time to ensure that the tile is mounted properly so that slippage and separation can be prevented.

Cast-in-place replaceable Tile

Cast-in-Place Replaceable

Cast-in-place replaceable tiles allow for the top part of the tile to be replaced when needed, but without having to demolish the underlying concrete. Also called “wet set,” this product is versatile, allowing for placement in many areas.

Applications for Cast-in-Place Replaceable Tiles

These tiles can be installed on wheelchair ramps, in vehicular passageways, and at escalator approaches. They are also ideal for areas where a visual warning to sighted pedestrians is also needed.

Benefits

The cast-in-place replaceable tile uses a simple bolt system that allows fast and easy removal when needed. To do so, simply loosen the bolts and lift the old panel off, reversing the procedure for the new panel. A major benefit of this product is that tiles can include messages and artwork so that sighted passengers can also receive warnings.

Any images placed on these replaceable tiles can be of photographic quality. As well, artwork can contain up to four colors, and they are available in a range of five sizes. Messages and artwork can span a series of tiles or be placed on a single tile. Finally, the cast-in-place replaceable tiles offer high cost-effectiveness, as only the top pieces need to be ordered when replacement is needed.

Disadvantages

Because they are replaceable, it takes time to ensure that the new tiles are positioned and secured properly each time the old tiles need replacing. This can mean a significant amount of installation time for large areas.

Finding the Right ADA Tile

Although much information about radius tactile detectable warning tiles exists, it can still be difficult to know which one is right for your application. Where this is the case, it’s important to ensure you are getting the right information. Therefore, a knowledgeable staff that can offer expert advice is absolutely essential.

The company you choose should, of course, offer only ADA-compliant products, and the quality of the products you purchase from them should be the highest possible to add the most value to your investment. In terms of pricing, your chosen company should offer prices lower than its competitors, but not at the cost of quality.

You should also be able to get the tiles you ordered within a reasonable amount of time. A warranty will communicate that the company you’ve chosen stands behind their customers and their products.

Superior ADA-Compliant Tiles for Your Application

ADA Solutions prides itself on producing high-quality and durable detectable warning surface tiles. We are able to accomplish this with a sophisticated quality management system at every stage of production. All of our products are manufactured using long-strand fiberglass, which is dispersed evenly through both the tile base and its truncated domes.

We are the leading manufacturer of curved detectable warning panels. Thanks to our large distribution network, ADA Solutions is able to ship your tiles within 6 to 36 business hours following receipt of your order.

All of our products are competitively priced and include a 7-year warranty, the longest in the industry. Discover the difference that working with ADA Solutions can make to your detectable warning panel installation. Call us to request your free quote: 1-800-372-0519.

tactile-warning-surfaces-and-ada-solutions-improve-transit

People are on the go daily. Many often rely on public transportation services like trains, subways, and buses. Getting around can be more difficult if you have some sort of travel-limiting disability and have to rely upon some type of medical device for assistance.

Travel-limiting disabilities require the use of walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, seeing-eye dogs, canes, and so on. Navigating transit stations can be challenging as there are often several obstacles one must overcome. These could include turnstiles, platform edges, elevators, escalators, stairs, ramps, and more.

How ADA Solutions can help improve transit and people with travel-limiting disabilities is with our tactile warning surfaces. Our warning surfaces provide feedback for those with visual impairments. The surface tiles can be used in several locations, as well as for guidance to help people safely get where they need to go.

Additionally, warning surfaces also help provide visual feedback for people without visual impairments. They can help get the attention of someone who is distracted and prevent them from walking off a platform or falling down a flight of stairs.

For more information about how ADA Solutions helps improve transit and our tactile warnings surfaces, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

Afterward, feel free to browse our online catalog of warning surface tile products. Do not hesitate to contact us directly if you have further questions or need assistance in selecting the best warning surfaces for your transit system. We look forward to sharing our knowledge to help you make your workplace or transit station accessible to everyone.

How Can Tactile Warning Surfaces and ADA Solutions Improve Transit? (Infographic)

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Different Types of ADA Tiles

There are several different types of ADA tiles you can use in various locations that provide specific functions and purposes. Each of these tiles complies with current ADA requirements relating to the overall size of the tiles and the spacing between the truncated domes.

  • Please note: It is the responsibility of the installer to ensure tiles are installed according to ADA requirements regarding placement, incline, etc.

1. Cast-in-Place

This type of ADA tile is for new construction projects and renovations.

2. Cast-in-Place Replaceable

This type of ADA tile is also for new construction projects and renovations. The key difference from Cast-in-Place is that Cast-in-Place Replaceable tiles are replaceable without having to tear out the concrete.

3. Surface Applied

This type of ADA tile is for retrofitting projects and is applied on top of existing surfaces.

4. Radius System

This type of ADA tile is for curved applications like common at busy intersections.

5. Cast Iron

This type of ADA tile is well-suited for extreme conditions.

6. Photoluminescent

This type of ADA tile provides lighting in low lighting conditions for non-visually impaired people.

7. Replaceable Graphic Tile

This type of ADA tile is like Cast-in-Place Replaceable but has graphics on the replaceable part of the tile, such as business advertisements, warnings, or other images and messages.

8. Way-Finding Surface

This type of ADA tile is to help visually impaired people find their way in various walking areas like college campuses and parks.

To learn more about the different types of ADA tiles and their differences, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

Afterward, if you have further questions or need assistance in selecting the best ADA tiles for your project, please feel free to contact ADA Solutions directly to speak with a representative today!

Different Types of ADA Tiles (Infographic)

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Make Your New Buisness ADA Complient

If you are opening a new business or relocating an existing business to a new location, you need to make sure your building is ADA-compliant. Any business that offers goods and/or services to the general public must ensure their facility is compliant with current ADA requirements.

Some of the common areas where ADA compliance can be necessary include, but may not be limited to:

1. Parking Lots

There are specific requirements depending on the number of parking spaces.

2. Interior Routes

Routes inside buildings must be accessible for people with visual impairments, as well as those in wheelchairs.

3. Barriers to Entry

Any barriers to entry like stairs must be addressed to make the building accessible, such as installing an entrance ramp.

4. Ramps/Curb Ramps

When surfaces change by more than 0.5 inches (inclines, stairs, etc.), then ramps or curb ramps must be installed.

5. Walking Surfaces

Various types of walking surfaces can require different types of ADA tiles like wayfinding tiles to help direct the flow of visually impaired people.

To learn more about making your new business location ADA-compliant and further details about these requirements, we invite you to continue reviewing the following infographic.

Afterward, if you need assistance in selecting the best ADA tiles for your new business location, please feel free to contact ADA Solutions directly to speak with a representative today!

  • Please note: There may also be state and local requirements that businesses must adhere to in order to be considered ADA-compliant. It is up to the business owner to review all local, state, and federal requirements.

How to Make Your New Buisness ADA Complient (Infographic)

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Myths or Facts concept with business woman hand drawing on blackboard

Signed into law to protect people with disabilities from discrimination, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes a variety of accessibility requirements. It covers everything from the width of pedestrian walkways to the slope of pedestrian ramps. It also covers the size and spacing of truncated domes on detectable warning surfaces. For any owner of a business or facility serving the general public, ADA enforcement can have a large impact.

California enacted the ADA in 1992. Since then, there have been more than 20,000 ADA-related lawsuits. The California Building Code and ADA have set a penalty of at least $4,000, plus attorney’s fees, for not meeting accessibility requirements. Payouts can be even higher than that. Every year, litigation costs California business an estimated $20 million.1

Who Enforces the ADA?

In general, ADA regulations are enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The regulations covered include those governing state and local government services under ADA Title II and public accommodations under Title III.

In addition to the DOJ, other agencies enforce the ADA. These include:

  • The Department of Labor (DOL)
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

The DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy provides technical assistance on ADA compliance, but its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Civil Rights Center is tasked with enforcing ADA requirements. To file a direct complaint against an employer, a complainant should contact an EEOC field office in their city, while violations involving telecommunications services should be referred to the FCC. The DOT enforces transit-related regulations.

Many court cases involving ADA violations have been tried by state and local governments. Senate Bill 1608 protects businesses against litigation since ADA lawsuits have become so commonplace in California. The law allows business and property owners to have their facilities inspected for access compliance. Any inspection must be performed by a Certified Access Specialist.

Inspections can protect against unwarranted lawsuits and identify issues that can be fixed to make a facility ADA-compliant. They can also provide a time frame to make corrections and establish an intent to correct any existing accessibility issues.

Why Is the ADA Enforced?

ADA Compliant Handicap disability signs with symbol in park

Enforcing the ADA is essential as violations are all too common, even in 2020. California has more complaints than any other state, with common violations being a lack of accessibility signs or proper symbols at entrances and exits. Slopes too steep for individuals with mobility issues are problematic as well. So are non-compliant stairways with incorrect riser or handrail heights and parking spaces too far from accessible routes, which are not wide enough, and that lack designated signage.

Other issues warranting ADA enforcement include work surfaces, service counters, and bars that don’t meet minimum height requirements. Also, a facility with seating not designed to accommodate wheelchair users is in violation of the ADA.

The ADA Cheat Sheet provides an overview of what to look for when inspecting your facility for compliance. Some considerations include accessible ramp configurations, stairway handrails, doors, lavatories, water fountains, public telephones, and rooms.

To learn more about ADA enforcement and how ADA Solutions LLC can help meet the latest ADA requirements for 2020, call us at (800) 372-0519.

anti slip traction on a step

When you need to install tactile warning surfaces around your business, city streets, or other locations to satisfy ADA requirements, you should consider using cast iron tactile plates. The purpose of detectable (tactile) warning surfaces is to aid those people with visual impairments and other disabilities.

The raised truncated dome is easy to detect with a cane and the feet to alert the visually impaired person that they are nearing a crosswalk, parking lot, or another area where they need to proceed with caution. Detectable warning surfaces also aid those who are in wheelchairs or use walkers. They can see the contrast to know the distance to the other side of the street or that a change in elevation like a curb ramp will be occurring in their path.

Using cast iron plate tactile warning surfaces provides several benefits over other solutions, including:

1. Cost-effective

Iron plates will last longer than the sidewalk or other locations where they are installed. As such, your investment pays off over the long term since you won’t have to worry about replacing the plates before the sidewalk needs to be replaced.

2. Durable

Cast iron is very durable, resistant to corrosion, and dent-resistant. The iron plates are also resistant to water, snow, and salt used to remove and prevent ice.

3. Resistant to Damage

Sidewalk cleaners, street cleaners, snowplows, and other such equipment will not damage the iron plates.

4. Compliant with the ADA Contract Requirement

Cast iron provides enough of a color contrast that it is well-suited for use on most types of concrete surfaces, including colored concrete.

5. Compliant with the ADA Truncated Dome Spacing Requirements

The truncated domes are aligned in a square pattern with a maximum 1.4-inch base diameter and a height of 0.2 inches. The domes are spaced approximately 2.4 inches apart with a base-to-base spacing of at least 0.65 inches.

6. Meets ADA Size Requirements

Cast iron tactile warning surface plates are available in 24-inch x 24-inch and 24-inch x 30-inch ADA-compliant sizes.

7. Can Be Painted to Meet State and Local Color Requirements

Some states, like California, have specific color requirements for tactile detectable warning surfaces. The cast iron plates can be painted the approved color to meet this requirement and repainted as needed to maintain the appearance of the color.

Where Are ADA Tactile Warning Surfaces Required?

There are specific locations where ADA tactile warning surface must be installed, including:

  • Rail and Bus Station Platform Edges
  • Curb Ramps
  • Changes in Elevations on Public Paths of Travel
  • Exterior Paths of Travel
  • Handicap Ramps
  • Connections Between Retail Entry/Exit Points and Parking Lots/Vehicular Ways
  • Refuge Islands Greater Than Six Feet in Length

It is up to business owners, public works managers, and others responsible for public access areas to review current ADA requirements to ensure compliance to avoid costly penalties and ADA Title III lawsuits.

Installing Iron Dome Tactile Panel

What Are the Penalties for Not Using ADA-Compliant Detectable Warning Surfaces?

In 2014, the Department of Justice increased the penalties for violations of the ADA, including those relating to detectable warning surfaces. As of April 28, 2014, or after, the maximum monetary penalty for a first-time violation is $75,000. For subsequent violations, the maximum monetary penalty is $150,000.

To learn more about cast iron tactile plates and other detectable warning surface solutions, please feel free to contact ADA Solutions at 1-800-372-0519 today! We can even help you review ADA requirements and any state or local requirements you must satisfy to be compliant.

White Wheelchair Graphic on Black Asphalt

ADA requirements have been in place for years since the act was originally signed in the 1990s. However, it’s constantly being updated each year based on additional needs and changing work environments.

If you own a business, it’s important to know what these changes are so you can make sure you’re always ADA-compliant.

In 2020, the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act focus both on physical limitations and obstacles, as well as digital ones. Many of the 2020 ADA requirements are targeting business websites and how they, too, need to be compliant.

Let’s look at some of these rules and regulations that you’ll need to know in order to make sure your business remains compliant in the new year and beyond.

Double-Checking Those Easily Overlooked Issues

Daughter Walking Alongside Father in Wheelchair

Even if your business isn’t new, it’s not uncommon for established locations to make mistakes when considering ADA compliance. There are some frequently overlooked regulations that get businesses in trouble or hit with hefty fines, and they can be easily remedied by doing a self-audit or looking over the new rules and regulations each year.

For starters, make sure everything is properly labeled at your place of business. Tactile warning surface products can be a big help to those with disabilities, as can graphic warning plates that let people know what to expect. No warning signs or labels means that you’re not letting employees and/or customers know what could potentially be ahead of them, which may put them in danger.

Little things like the weight of your doors and the slope of your wheelchair ramps can also cause problems, and they’re often overlooked. Many business owners think that just because they’re following the basic regulations, it means they’re safe. Yet, if the things you’re putting in place aren’t usable or accessible by those with a disability, they’re doing more harm than good.

So, don’t be afraid to look over the physical regulations if you have a brick and mortar business. Refreshing yourself on what they consist of each year will help you to get better and make more changes to be compliant.

Making Your Website Accessible

Even if your business is run mostly (or solely) online, you still have to follow ADA regulations. Everyone tends to think about wheelchair ramps and proper signage when it comes to ADA compliance, but, due to advancements in technology, it’s important to consider businesses that operate digitally too.

That being said, there currently aren’t any specific regulations in place for websites by the Department of Justice, other than the fact that websites have to be accessible for all people.

It’s unlikely that there will be new regulations introduced for websites in 2020, but there are some basics that are important to follow. The DOJ has overwhelmingly agreed that websites need to be accessible. The problem is, they aren’t sure which regulations to put in place to make that happen since sites vary so greatly.

So, what can you do to make sure your website is safe while making it accessible for people with disabilities?

How to Make Your Website “ADA-Compliant”

Students Looking at ADA Compliant Website

Though there aren’t official regulations in place under the ADA, there are Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that are widely accepted as the standard by which websites should operate. Whether you have to start from scratch with your website or just make a few changes, keep these solutions in mind to make sure your site is inclusive and accessible for all:

  1. Choose your graphics carefully. Graphics can be an important part of any website since they draw people’s attention quickly. However, if you have flashing, colorful graphics, you could risk triggering a seizure for someone who is prone to them. You shouldn’t have a flashing image more than three times on the same screen. If you do have graphics, make sure any text that goes along with them is easily readable for the vision-impaired. If they can’t see it, it should be able to be easily read by someone going through the site with them.
  2. Add alt-text to all of your images. This allows people with vision problems to use site readers that can describe the image audibly.
  3. Use easy-to-read fonts in colors that remain in focus. (In other words, don’t use a dark font with a dark background.)
  4. Make sure your site is predictable. Websites are designed to operate in certain ways, and people have come to rely on that predictability. Things like labels over areas of content or site maps can help someone to navigate through your website for the first time. Having some of these standard practices in place can make a big difference.
  5. Make your site keyboard-friendly. Some people with mobility issues or those who have problems gripping a mouse rely on keyboards to browse through a website. So, make sure your site allows users to move at their own pace. That means no automatic scrolling or videos that play on their own. Allowing users to navigate with a keyboard and “pause” things so they have time to view them will make it easier for a lot of people with grip issues.

Staying Up to Date

Perhaps the best thing you can do for your business this year and beyond is to keep yourself as educated as possible on the rules and regulations of the ADA.

Technology will continue to change, and so will ADA standards. If you have a website for your business, it’s important to focus just as much on its accessibility as it is to focus on having wheelchair ramps for a brick and mortar store. Official regulations on websites might not happen this year, but, as digital businesses become more popular and prominent, it’s an issue the Department of Justice can’t ignore forever.

So, build your website the right way, now, and stay up-to-date with changing rules and regulations. By the time the DOJ does vote to officially include websites within their rules and regulations, you’ll already be one step ahead.

newly paved sidewalk with detectable warning system

The leading manufacturer of detectable warning surface products, ADA Solutions is committed to helping meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Our detectable warning tiles, truncated dome mats, and other products help comply with the latest ADA standards. These adhere to the minimum requirements of the revised “2010 Standards.”

The ADA was passed to help make public facilities more accessible to people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility devices. Its guidelines ensure they have room to maneuver and travel. However, it is not limited to restrooms, doors, and other elements of public facilities. Streets and sidewalks must be compliant as well.

Facilities must consider everything from the required ADA sidewalk width to the slope where curb ramps are required.

newly paved sidewalk with detectable warning system

Do Sidewalks Have to Be ADA Compliant?

The ADA requires every path of travel in or around a facility, including streets, sidewalks, and curb ramps, to be accessible. Still applicable in 2019, the standards apply to state and local government facilities, commercial establishments, and public accommodations. Any building or project started on or after March 15, 2012 is required to use the 2010 Standards. Requirements applicable to sidewalks include those regarding:

Slope

An ADA sidewalk ramp cannot have a cross slope (distance from the bottom edge of a level to the surface) of more than ½ inch. A ramp is a running slope steeper than 1:20, meaning for every inch of height change, there are at least 20 inches of route run. Slope requirements for bus stop boarding and alighting areas, as with rail platforms, must be perpendicular to the roadway and not steeper than 1:48. The exception being where vehicles are boarded from sidewalks or street level, where platforms must be less than 8 inches high.

Width

The clear width between the handrails of a ramp run must be at least 36 inches. In work areas where essential equipment is used, the width can be reduced to accommodate it. The ADA sidewalk ramp rules also limit the rise for any ramp to 30 inches and require a clear landing length of at least 60 inches. If ramps change direction at landings, there should be a landing of at least 60 x 60 inches.

Curb Ramps

Curb ramps are required for newly built and altered streets, roads, and intersections or anywhere there are curbs or other barriers from the street to a pedestrian walkway. The ADA limits curb ramp steepness to no greater than 1:12 (an 8.33% slope), a width of 36 inches, and adjacent counter slopes of no steeper than 1:20. If curb ramp flares are used, they cannot be steeper than 1:10.

Also, curb ramps and flared sides cannot project into parking spaces, parking access aisles, or vehicular traffic lanes. On the bottom, diagonal curb ramps must have 48 inches of space within crossing markings or outside of traffic lanes. For raised islands, curb ramps must have a level area of at least 48 inches long by 36 inches wide.

Surface Texture

Textured surfaces (i.e., detectable warnings with truncated domes) must adhere to ADA sidewalk requirements for size, spacing, and contrast. Truncated domes must have a base diameter between 0.9 and 1.4 inches, a top diameter from 50% to 65% of the base, and a base-to-base spacing of at least 0.65 inches. There must be visual contrast with walking surfaces near it (with a light-on-dark or dark-on-light contrast). Also, any surface at a platform boarding edge must be at least 24 inches wide and cover the full length of public use areas.

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women and man wearing orange safety vests

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) put regulations in place designed to specifically address the needs of Americans who deal with some kind of disability on a daily basis. The ADA requires businesses to follow these rules and regulations when it comes to both employees and customers with disabilities.

If your small business isn’t ADA business compliant, you could run into some trouble, including hefty fines. Yet, many small business owners aren’t fully aware of what the ADA really is, or what it means to be ADA-compliant. If you’re opening up a new location, it’s important to educate yourself on ADA requirements so you can make sure from the start that your business is up to date in following government regulations.

With that in mind, let’s look at the 2020 ADA requirements your business needs to meet in order to remain compliant.

Understanding Your Title

Small businesses are usually given a title based on their size. If your business has 15 or more employees, you’ll probably be considered Title I. If you have accommodations for the public or provide goods/services to customers, you’ll likely be listed as a Title III. Your title determines which regulations you’ll need to follow in order to be ADA-compliant. Compliance is specific to your type of business and its size.

Making Reasonable Accommodations

Again, the requirements your business faces will be specific to the type of business you have. A good rule of thumb is to understand that there should be reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities. Some of these accommodations might include:

  1. Written policies for employees
  2. A willingness to make minor adjustments on procedures for those with disabilities
  3. Allowing service animals
  4. Allowing mobility devices
  5. Removing barriers to existing structures (where applicable) or making new structures wheelchair-friendly

f you’re a busy clothing store in a downtown area, it might be more important for you to have a wheelchair ramp that leads up to your business. If you’re a store that operates exclusively online, you can remain compliant by making sure your website and digital resources are easy for people to read or hear (when necessary). Think about how the way you operate your business might be different if you were looking at it with a disability of your own. By putting yourself in those shoes, it can make it easier to determine which areas need to be compliant.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

parking space reserved handicapped on road with disabled sign

Without some guidance, it can be easy to overlook certain areas where your business may not be ADA-compliant. For example, you may not think of a door as a barrier but, if it uses over five pounds of pressure to open, it may not be accessible for everyone.

Other common oversights include:

  1. Improper signage and labeling (especially in bathrooms)
  2. Wheelchair ramps that have too steep of a slope
  3. Lack of clearance space for wheelchairs to move about freely

You can avoid some of these mistakes by looking over the U.S. Department of Justice’s Primer for Small Businesses. There are also ADA centers throughout the country and resources online that can help you to determine which regulations need to be followed within your business. By taking ADA-compliance rules seriously, you can avoid fines and penalties, but you’ll also show your employees and customers that everyone matters, whether they have a disability or not.