The Department of Justice published revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010. These regulations updated enforceable accessibility standards and became known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The 2010 Standards represent minimum requirements – both scoping and technical — for newly designed and constructed or altered State and local government facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
Access standards exist for the built environment and include, but are not limited to, the following areas:
- Commercial facilities
- Assembly areas
- Dormitory housing
- Medical facilities
- Rental housing
- Detention and correctional facilities
- Social service centers
- Recreation facilities
To accommodate people using mobility devices, new or structurally renovated portions of a building must have enough unobstructed space to travel and turn. Requirements are also in place for disability parking, accessible path of travel, door hardware and resistance, maximum ramp slope and reach ranges, grab-bar location, accessible toilet height, accessible site lines and so on.
For people with vision or hearing disabilities, the regulations also require installation of audible and visual alarm systems. Where audible communication is “integral to the use of the space,” assistive listening devices must also be provided. Accessible signage is required for room numbers, restrooms, exits, etc. which includes raised lettering, Braille and color contrast.
Thanks to the ADA, people with disabilities are able to enjoy access to buildings and places that were previously inaccessible to them, improving their quality of life and levels of independence.