ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant sidewalks is an important component of transportation equity, and can greatly improve the mobility of community members with disabilities. In the Sidewalk Explorer, an interactive viewer for the Sidewalk Network Inventory and Assessment conducted by CUUATS staff, a compliance index was developed based on a thorough inventory of the pedestrian network. The results of the inventory are analyzed using an ADA compliance index that scores each variable on a scale from 0 to 100. A score of 100 represents preliminary compliance with the proposed Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG). A similar index rates condition for sidewalks and curb ramps.
The 2018 data showed modest gains in accessibility over 2017. Sidewalk compliance scores improved slightly, however; vertical faults continued to remain a persistent challenge. Curb ramps had the greatest gains in ADA compliance, increasing by five percentage points from 2015 to 2018. Change in ramp type is one factor that affects the pace of change in curb ramp compliance. Frequently, a single ramp is replaced by multiple ramps. For example, this occurs when a perpendicular ramp is replaced by combination ramps, which count as two ramp records in the sidewalk database. Consequently, the number of compliant ramps increased faster than the number of non-compliant ramps decreased, even when accounting for ramps constructed at new sidewalk locations. Crosswalk compliance scores between 2017 and 2018 remained mostly stable. The lower score ranges did not change, while 0.7 percent of the best crosswalk compliance scores degraded to the next compliance score category (scores between 80 and 90). The most recent pedestrian signal compliance score results were mixed, but pedestrian signal compliance scores for 2018 improved compared to 2015. The lowest score range decreased by 3.9 percent, and the second-best score range increased by 4.0 percent of pedestrian signals.
While overall ADA compliance for sidewalks have declined between 2015 and 2018, the numbers only tell part of the story. In 2018, the results of the analysis showed increased compliance scores for curb ramps and pedestrian signals compared to the baseline data (2014-2015). Even though the original performance measure refers to sidewalks, the rating criteria was expanded to consider curb ramps, which leads to a positive rating for this performance measure in 2018. Most of the local agencies have been focusing their ADA upgrades on curb ramps. In addition, the decrease in overall sidewalk compliance is almost entirely due to changes in vertical fault scores, which are the result of several factors:
- Challenges of tracking spot improvements, such as beveling
- Difficulty of precisely measuring faults
- Scoring of blocks based on the single largest fault
- Limited fault size categories
- Enlargement of faults due to freeze/thaw cycles and other factors
Of these factors, only the last one reflects a true degradation of sidewalk ADA compliance.
Non-ADA Compliant Sidewalks PM Summary
|Goal||Increase accessibility, connectivity, and mobility of people and freight to all areas of the region through the use of an interconnected multi- modal system of transportation that is cost-effective for people, businesses, and institutions that will increase the efficiency of the transportation system by allowing freedom of choice in all modes of transportation including active modes whenever possible.|
|Objective||Upgrade 2015 existing sidewalk network within the Champaign- Urbana urbanized area by 10% to be ADA-compliant by 2020.|
|Performance Measure||Miles of existing non-ADA compliant sidewalks upgraded along paved roads in the urbanized area|
41.5% of the curb ramps in the study area scored above 90 on the compliance index in 2016, an increase of 2.2% from the baseline data. There was a slight decrease in the sidewalk compliance score in 2016, which was largely due to the limitations in data collection methods. This performance measure receives a positive rating as the ADA compliance levels of the pedestrian facilities in the urbanized area have been improving since 2015.
43.4% of the curb ramps in the study area scored above 90 on the compliance index in 2017, an increase of 10.4% from the baseline data. Sidewalk compliance scores improved slightly compared to 2016, reversing a downward trend over the last two years. This performance measure receives a positive rating as the ADA compliance levels of the pedestrian facilities in the urbanized area have been improving since 2015.
44.3% of the curb ramps in the study area scored above 90 on the compliance index in 2018, an increase of 12.7% from the 2015 baseline data. Sidewalk compliance scores have continued to improve slightly compared to 2016 and 2017. This performance measure receives a positive rating as the ADA compliance levels of the pedestrian facilities in the urbanized area have been improving since 2015.