Eliminating physical barriers to access benefits everyone.
These are examples of how to address issues and barriers that
individuals with mobility and sensory impairments face.
Hallways, passageways and other routes must allow for wheelchair
- Hallways and passageways must be an appropriate width to allow
for passage. For newer construction, this is generally a
minimum of 36 inches.
- Where routes turn around an obstruction, additional clear space
may be required to allow navigation around the obstruction.
- Sufficient passing space - at least 60 inches at a minimum of
200 foot intervals for newer construction - must allow for
maneuvering past another person.
- Toilet rooms and other areas must allow for sufficient space
for a wheelchair user to turn around.
- Surfaces must be firm, stable and slip-resistant.
Carpeting that is thick, soft or loose can make wheelchair
maneuvering difficult. Carpeting must be firmly secured, and
of appropriate pile height and texture.
- Changes in level must be appropriately ramped.
- Opening in grates can be a hazard for someone using a
wheelchair or a cane. These openings cannot exceed half an
inch, and must be perpendicular to the direction of travel.
- Drinking fountains, sinks, dining tables and work areas should
provide sufficient space for knee and leg clearance
Individuals with mobility impairments, including those using
wheelchairs, require sufficient space to approach and open doors.
Additionally, doors with significant resistance will be
difficult to open for individuals with mobility impairments.
- Clearance space is required beyond the latch side of doors to
provide for optimum maneuverability. Latch-side space of at
least 18 inches is required for forward approaches, and the
clearance space in front of the door must be at least 60 inches
deep for the pull side of doors.
- For the push side of doors, clearance space of at least 48
inches is required in front of the door, with at least 12 inches of
- Fixed objects, such as shelves, cannot protrude into the
clearance space in front of doors.
- Thresholds can pose challenges for maneuverability.
Thresholds cannot exceed a half inch. Thresholds
greater than a quarter inch must be beveled at the edges.
- Heavy doors, or doors with strong closers, will be difficult
for individuals with mobility impairments to open. The force
to open interior doors cannot exceed five pounds.
Toilet areas must allow for sufficient space to enter, navigate
doorways, and maneuver within the room. Fixtures must be
placed with accessibility in mind.
- Toilets must be located with sufficient clear space to allow
for an approach by wheelchair.
- Grab bars near toilets are critical to allow transfer.
- Flush controls must be located on the open side of the toilet
to be reachable.
- Clearances are required at sinks, soap dispensers, towel
dispensers and hand dryers. These should be located at a
height accessible to a wheelchair user.
- There should be sufficient clearance space in a single-user
restroom to allow an occupant to turn around.
- In multi-user restrooms, at least one lavatory should be
- A stall with dual grab bars will assist individuals with
Objects that protrude into passageways can impede individuals
with motor impairments, and can be hazardous to individuals with
visual impairments. Examples include shelves, drinking
fountains, and sculptures. People who are blind or low vision
sometimes travel along walls for orientation.
- The placement of objects must still allow for sufficient
navigation around the object by a wheelchair user.
- Protruding objects that are sufficiently high - above 80 inches
- do not present a hazard. Similarly, protruding objects that
can be detected by a cane are allowable. These objects are
detectable at heights less than 27 inches.
- Protruding objects located between 27 and 80 inches can pose a
hazard. These should not protrude more than four inches from
a wall unless they are appropriately treated.
- Objects such as fire extinguishers and shelves may be recessed
in a way to avoid a protrusion of greater than four inches.
- In the case of a fixed sculpture with protrusions, a platform
or railing can alert people to maintain sufficient distance to
Accessible parking areas must be dispersed to enable people to
park near as many accessible entrances as possible.
- In parking lots, accessible parking spaces must have sufficient
space and access aisles. Two spaces may share an access
- Access aisles are necessary to allow sufficient room to
maneuver to and from the vehicle.
- The number of required accessible spaces depends upon the size
of the parking facility.
- Accessible parking spaces must be designated by appropriate
Classrooms should be inclusive spaces that allow for access and
- Arrangements may need to be made for a table, alternative chair
or other equipment.
- Seating must allow for a clear line of sight to the instructor
and allow for equivalent participation.
- Labs and fieldwork sites must also allow for usability and
Many classrooms and group meeting spaces are
techology-equipped. It is important to ensure that classroom
AV system components like touchscreen/button user interfaces,
projection screen switches, and laptop input ports that are mounted
on lecterns, teaching stations, and walls should be reachable by a
wide range of users, including individuals who use
- AV equipment should be placed on work surfaces between 28 and
34 inches above the floor. Consider purchasing adjustable
lecterns to meet this requirement while accommodating standing
- AV controls that are not on work surfaces – for example,
that are wall-mounted – should be between 15 and 48 inches
above the floor.
- For AV controls on work surfaces that protrude, ensure that the
reach needed to access the equipment does not exceed 24
- Ensure that the AV system includes an assistive listening
system for individuals with hearing impairments.
Questions about the accessibility of physical facilities may be
directed to Facilities Planning and Design. Campus
accessible parking permits can be obtained through Accessibility
Resources, and questions about accessible parking may be directed
to Parking and Transportation.