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Trails Accessibility Discussed by ADA Regulatory Negotiation Group

The following information is a discussion of ideas on trail accessibility that may be part of proposed regulations under the Americans With Disabilities Act. This material was taken from draft, unapproved minutes of a meeting of the Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Access to Outdoor Developed Areas, October 21 - 24, 1998, in Empire, Colorado.

Future Committee meeting dates and locations:

January 19-22, 1999: Miami Beach, Florida
April 27-30, 1999: Washington D.C. area
July 13-14, 1999: Washington, D.C. Presentation of final report to the Access Board

The committee is now working on ADA requirements for trails. The initial proposed guidelines for trails are described below. This includes scoping (how many or what proportion of a feature must meet accessible standards), and technical (the design criteria-- height, width, length, depth, strength, etc.-- that a feature must meet to be considered accessible). These initial standards are for new construction; we have not begun to develop standards for alterations or barrier removal for existing facilities.

Please note this is a work in progress, with all aspects subject to comment and change. The following technical and scoping provisions for trails represent the most recent discussions of the reg neg committee. Additional refinement and deliberations on these provisions will occur at their January, 1999 meeting.

PROPOSED DEFINITIONS

Shared use path. A shared use path is a prepared hardened path or trail that serves as part of a transportation circulation system and/or supports multiple recreation opportunities (such as pedestrian walking/hiking, running, cycling, and in-line skating).

Front country trail. A front country recreational trail is a pedestrian trail or shared use path not meeting the definition of a back country trail.

Back country trail. A back country recreational trail is a pedestrian trail which extends beyond a 3 mile radius from a designated trail head and/or is solely designed to provide access to longer distance trails, remote areas, or rugged terrain.

PROPOSED SCOPING PROVISIONS

Where recreational trails are provided, they shall be accessible according to the following table.

Table of Proposed Scoping Provisions
TRAIL TYPES & CATEGORIES % OF TRAILS REQUIRED TO BE ACCESSIBLE

Transportation Corridors/ Shared-Use Paths

100%

Front Country Trails 1/2 mile or less

100%

Front Country Trails up to 3 miles

1/2 mile plus 50% of amount over 1/2 mile

Back Country Trail 10 miles or less

10% of total trail length, but not less than 1/2 mile

Back Country Trails over 10 miles

5%

OTHER PROPOSED SCOPING REQUIREMENTS

1. Trails developed to connect outstanding natural or cultural features for which the site is established shall comply with the scoping requirements of front country trails.

2. Front country trails which are accessed by 2 or more trail heads, shall meet the technical scoping provisions at each trail head.

3. If no other front country trails exist at the trail head, the front country scoping requirements shall apply .for the three mile radius. Trail heads will be located on an improved road.

4. Accessible portions of trails must be connected to access points or accessible portions of existing trails.

5. If terrain or other conditions do not limit access, trail builders are strongly encouraged to meet 28î minimum width, the technical provisions for running grade and cross slope; and remove obstacles that can be removed with relative ease.

6. Long distance multi-jurisdictional trails such as the Appalachian Trail, will be defined by the category within each location along its length.

CONCERNS and ISSUES STILL UNDER DISCUSSION

1. Whether or not the relocation of trails that cannot be accessible should be required. (Factors to trigger this approach also have not been determined);

2. Clearly distinguishing between front and back country trails when applying scoping;

3. Access to prominent features;

4. Concern about the 100% scoping requirement for shared use paths;

5. Concern about application of guidelines for reconstruction;

6. Relationship to alterations;

7. Cost implications; and,

8. Trail head and trail access point need to be further defined.

PROPOSED TECHNICAL PROVISIONS

Recreation Trail (RT) Trail Technical. Where recreational trails or portions of recreational trails are required to be accessible, the accessible portions shall comply with the provisions of RT.1 through RT.10.

RT.1 Surface. The trail surface shall be firm. (Appendix note to provide examples and recommend the use a firm and stable surface.)

RT.2 Clear Tread Width. The clear tread width of trails shall be 36 in (mm) minimum.

EXCEPTION: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the minimum width shall be permitted to be reduced to 32 in (mm) minimum for a length of 30 feet (m) maximum.

RT.3 Openings. Openings in trail surfaces shall be 3/4 in (mm) maximum when perpendicular to the direction of travel, and 1/2 in (mm) maximum when parallel to the direction of travel or multi-directional travel.

RT.4 Protruding Objects. Protruding objects on trails shall comply with ADAAG 4.4 (e.g., 80 inch min. height, etc.)

RT.5 Changes in Level. Changes in level shall be 1/2 in (mm) high maximum.

--EXCEPTION 1: Where running slopes are 5 percent or less, changes in level of 1 in (mm) high maximum shall be permitted.

--EXCEPTION 2: Where (condition to be developed by committee), changes in level of 1 in (mm) high maximum shall be permitted, and if running slopes are 8 percent or less, changes in level of 2 in (mm) high maximum shall be permitted.

--EXCEPTION 3: Where (condition to be developed by committee), changes in level of 2 in (mm) high maximum shall be permitted, and if running slopes are 12 percent or less, changes in level of 3 in (mm) high maximum shall be permitted.

RT.6 Passing Space. Where the clear tread width of trails is less than 60 in (mm), passing spaces shall be provide at intervals of 500 feet maximum. Passing spaces shall be either a 60 in (mm) minimum by 60 in (mm) minimum space, or an intersection of two walking surfaces which provide a T-shaped space complying with ADAAG 4.2.3 provided that the arms and stem of the T-shaped space extend at least 48 in (mm) beyond the intersection. The passing space shall have a slope in any direction of 3 percent maximum.

--EXCEPTION 1: Where (condition to be developed by committee), intervals of ____ feet (m) maximum shall be permitted.

--EXCEPTION 2: Where (condition to be developed by committee), passing spaces are not required.

RT.7 Running Slope. The running slope of trails shall comply with RT.7.

RT.7.1 Average Slope. The average running slope shall be 5 percent maximum. (appendix note on how to measure the average)

EXCEPTION 1: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the average running slope is permitted to be 8 percent maximum.

EXCEPTION 2: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the average running slope is permitted to be 12 percent maximum.

RT.7.2 Maximum Slope. The maximum running slope of trail segments shall comply with Table RT.7.2:

Maximum Distance Maximum Running Slope for Trail Segment Exception 1 Maximum Running Slope Exception 1 Maximum Running Slope

Any Distance

5%

8%

12%

30 feet

8% (see notes 1 and 2)

12 % (see note 2)

16 % (see note 2)

10 feet

10% (see notes 1 and 2)

14 % (see note 2)

18% (see note 2)

3 feet

12 % (see notes 1 and 2)

16 % (see note 2)

20% (see note 2)

Table RT.7.2

Note 1: Running slopes greater than 5 percent are not allowed where cross slopes are greater than 3 percent.

Note 2: Resting spaces complying with RT.8 shall be provided.

--EXCEPTION 1: Where (condition to be developed by committee) and the cross slope is 5 percent or less, departure is permitted in accordance with Table RT.7.2.

--EXCEPTION 2: Where (condition to be developed by committee), and the cross slope is 8 percent or less, departure is permitted in accordance with Table RT.7.2.

RT.8 Resting Space. Where required, a resting space shall be provided at the top of each sloped trail segment. The resting space shall be 60 in (mm) minimum in length, shall have a width at least as wide as the trail connecting it, and shall have a running slope of 5 percent maximum.

--EXCEPTION 1: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the running slope of the resting space is permitted to be 8 percent maximum.

--EXCEPTION 2: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the running slope of the resting space is permitted to be 12 percent maximum.

RT.9 Cross Slope. The cross slope of trails shall comply with RT.9.

RT.9.1 Average. The average cross slope of trails shall be 3 percent maximum. (appendix note on how to measure average)

--EXCEPTION 1: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the average cross slope is permitted to be 5 percent maximum.

--EXCEPTION 2: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the average cross slope is permitted to be 8 percent maximum.

RT

Maximum Distance Maximum Cross Slope for Trail Segment Exception 1 Maximum Cross Slope Exception 1 Maximum Cross Slope

Any Distance

3%

5%

8%

30 feet

5%

10%

14%

10 feet

8%

12%

16%

Table RT.9.2

--EXCEPTION 1: Where (condition to be developed by committee), departure is permitted in accordance with Table RT.9.2

--EXCEPTION 2: Where (condition to be developed by committee), departure is permitted in accordance with Table RT.9.2


RT. 10 Edge Protection. Where edge protection is provided, the edge protection shall have a height of 4 in (mm) nominal minimum.

--EXCEPTION: Where (condition to be developed by committee), the above provision does not apply.

TECHNICAL PROVIDIONS AND CONDITIONS TO BE FURTHER DISCUSSED

Resting space not required where certain conditions exist:

--EXCEPTION 3: Two sloping trail segments complying with (RT.7.2.3 and RT.7.2.4) are permitted to be joined together without a separating resting space, where the total length of these two segments is 10 feet maximum.

--EXCEPTION 4: Two sloping trail segments complying with (RT.7.2.2 and RT.7.2.4) are permitted to be joined together without a separating resting space, where the total length of these two segments is 30 feet maximum.

--EXCEPTION 5: Three sloping trail segments complying with (RT.7.2.2, RT.7.2.3 and RT.7.2.4) are permitted to be joined together without separating resting spaces, where the total length of these three segments is 30 feet maximum.

NOTE: RT 7.2.3 - RT.7.2.4 would define those conditions.

EXAMPLE: A 30 foot section of a trail complying with RT.8 Exception 5 could have the 17 feet at a maximum slope of 8 percent which is connected (without a resting space) to a 10 foot section at 10 percent which is connected (without a resting space) to a 3 foot section at 12 percent which is then connected to a resting space complying with RT.8.

The Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Access to Outdoor Developed Areas is under the supervision of the United States Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board,
1331 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004-1111 --Website):
http://www.access-board.gov

Comments on these proposed guidelines for trails may be sent to Stuart Macdonald, Chair, National Association of State Trail Administrators at MacTrail@aol.com.


MEMBERS PRESENT
(*Alternate Member) at the October 1998 meeting:

*American Society of Landscape Architects
American Trails
Appalachian Trail Conference
Association for Blind Athletes
Hawaii Commission on Persons with Disabilities
KOA, Inc.
National Association of State Park Directors
National Association of State Trail Administrators
National Center on Accessibility
*National Recreation and Park Association
National Spinal Cord Injury Association
*New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
*Paralyzed Veterans of America
Partners for Access to the Woods
Rails to Trails Conservancy
State of Washington, Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation
TASH
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
Whole Access
Access Board Member

MEMBERS ABSENT:

National Council on Independent Living
American Camping Association

OTHERS PRESENT:

David Alperin, Access Board Staff
Paul Beatty, Access Board Staff
Kay Ellis, U.S. Department of the Interior
Pat Going, PAW, Alternate
Peggy Greenwell, DFO
Ellen Harland, U.S. Department of Justice
Gary Hattal, FMCS
Patti Longmuir, American Trails, Alternate
Barbara McMillen, U.S. DOT, FHWA, Alternate
Tip Ray, TASH, Alternate
David Startzell, Appalachian Trail Conference, Alternate
Peter Swanson, FMCS

VISITORS PRESENT:

Steve Bonowski, Colorado Mountain Club
Denise Yamada Chesney, Beneficial Designs
Terry Cummings, American Hiking Society
Glenn Fee, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Joe Helmkamp, National Park Service/DSC
Randal Johnson, City of Lakewood, CO
Kevin Kearney, Point-of-View Survey Systems
Larry Lechner, Protected Area Management Services
Mike Passo, Wilderness Inquiry
Larry Reiner, Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association
Stacy Rose, Beneficial Designs
Allen Siekman, Beneficial Designs
Jeremy P. Smith, Beneficial Designs
Susan Spain, National Park Service/DSC
John Strohkirch, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation
Bruce Ward, Continental Divide Trail Alliance
Chuck Ware, Design Workshop
Joe Ysselstein, Beneficial Designs

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