Ramps are inclined surfaces that join different levels of a space. Commonly used at the entrances of buildings to accommodate level changes from the exterior grade to the interior floor, ramps provide accessibility for wheelchair users, individuals with disabilities, and wheeled equipment. The maximum slope of a ramp is calculated to provide comfortable and easy access to the building. Low ramp slope ratios will require longer runs, while steeper slopes can have shorter lengths.

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Ramps

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Ramp Handrails - Vertical

Vertical ramp guardrails are common safety systems used for accessible ramps that combine required handrails with a guardrail made up of a series of vertical balustrades. Vertical guardrails must double as both an assistive handrail and a guardrail that prevents users from accessing the edge of the ramp. For edge protection, vertical guardrails are made up of a balustrades that must be spaced to continuously prevent the passage of a 4” (10.2 cm) diameter sphere. Inner handrails on a switchback or turned ramp must always be continuous. The ends of any handrail should be rounded or returned smoothly to the floor, wall, or post.

Handrails along both sides of a ramp are required on any ramp system with a rise greater than 6” (15.2 cm) or a horizontal run greater than 72” (182.9 cm). The top grippable surface of any ramp handrail must be set at a height between 34”-38” (86.4-96.5 cm) above the ramp surface and a minimum clear width of 36” (91.4 cm) must be provided between handrails. In situations where a handrail is not continuous, handrails must extend at least another 12” (30.5 cm) parallel to the flat surface of the ramp landing.

Elevation and section drawings with dimensions of an ADA ramp with vertical guardrails
Vertical ramp guardrails are common systems used for accessible ramps that combine handrails with a guardrail made up of a series of vertical balustrades.

Elevation and section drawings with dimensions of an ADA ramp with vertical guardrails
Ramp - Turning

Turned ramps are accessible ramps designed with a 90° change of direction along the accessible route. The size of these landings provides adequate mobility for a wheelchair user to comfortably rotate according to the change in direction. The inner handrail along a turning ramp must remain continuous.

The landings of turning ramps must have minimum widths and lengths of 60” (152.4 cm) in both directions at the moment that the turn occurs. Landings with minimum lengths of 60” (152.4 cm) and widths consistent to the width of the ramp must be provided at the top and bottom of any straight run portions of the turned ramp.

Dimensioned drawings of an ADA ramp with regulation landings for turning a corner
Turned ramps are accessible ramps designed with a 90° change of direction along the accessible route. The size of landings provides adequate mobility for a wheelchair user to comfortably rotate according to the change in direction. The inner handrail along a turning ramp must remain continuous.

The landings of turning ramps must have minimum widths and lengths of 60” (152.4 cm) in both directions at the moment that the turn occurs. Landings with minimum lengths of 60” (152.4 cm) and widths consistent to the width of the ramp must be provided at the top and bottom of any straight run portions of the turned ramp.

Dimensioned drawings of an ADA ramp with regulation landings for turning a corner
Ramp Handrails - Wall

Wall mounted ramp handrails are handrails used along any accessible ramp that is comprised of walls on one or either side of the run. Curbs are not required if the walls are continuously connected to the ramp surface. Handrails along both sides of a ramp are required on any ramp system with a rise greater than 6” (15.2 cm) or a horizontal run greater than 72” (182.9 cm). The top grippable surface of any ramp handrail must be set at a height between 34”-38” (86.4-96.5 cm) above the ramp surface and a minimum clear width of 36” (91.4 cm) must be provided between handrails. Inner handrails on a switchback or turned ramp must always be continuous.

When handrails are attached to a wall, an offset gap of at least 1.5” (3.8 cm) must be continuously maintained between the handrail and the wall surface. In situations where a handrail is not continuous, handrails must extend at least another 12” (30.5 cm) parallel to the flat surface of the ramp landing.

Dimensioned drawings of ADA ramp guardrails with wall mounted handrails in elevation and section
Wall mounted ramp handrails are handrails used along any accessible ramp that is comprised of walls on one or either side of the run.

When handrails are attached to a wall, an offset gap of at least 1.5” (3.8 cm) must be continuously maintained between the handrail and the wall surface. In situations where a handrail is not continuous, handrails must extend at least another 12” (30.5 cm) parallel to the flat surface of the ramp landing.

Dimensioned drawings of ADA ramp guardrails with wall mounted handrails in elevation and section
Ramp Widths
Dimensioned drawing measuring the minimum widths and clearances of an ADA ramp

ADA accessible ramps must maintain are ramp surfaces that must maintain regulated dimensions and be constructed as slip-resistant, stable, and firm systems.

ADA accessible ramps must maintain a minimum clear width of 36” (91.4 cm) at all times. The cross slope along the width of any ramp must be less than 1:50 or <2%. The 36” (91.4 cm) clear width must be maintained between all including handrails.

ADA accessible ramps must maintain are ramp surfaces that must maintain regulated dimensions and be constructed as slip-resistant, stable, and firm systems.

ADA accessible ramps must maintain a minimum clear width of 36” (91.4 cm) at all times. The cross slope along the width of any ramp must be less than 1:50 or <2%. The 36” (91.4 cm) clear width must be maintained between all including handrails.

Ramp Slopes
Diagram drawing measuring ADA ramp slopes dimensioned for accessibility

A ramp is comprised of horizontal sloped runs connected by level landings between runs. Any slope greater than 1:20 and less than 1:12 along an accessible route shall be considered a ramp that is required to comply with ADA accessibility codes and compliances. The least possible slope should be used whenever possible.

The maximum allowable slope in any new construction is 1:12 with a maximum rise of 30” (76.2 cm) without a landing. A ramp with a slope between 1:12 and 1:16 can have a maximum horizontal length of 30’ (9.14 m) without a landing. A ramp with a slope between 1:16 and 1:20 can have a horizontal run up to 40’ (12.19 m) before requiring a landing.

Multiple elevation drawings comparing ramp slopes based on incline and run lengths
A ramp is comprised of horizontal sloped runs connected by level landings between runs. Any slope greater than 1:20 and less than 1:12 along an accessible route shall be considered a ramp that is required to comply with ADA accessibility codes and compliances.

The maximum allowable slope in any new construction is 1:12 with a maximum rise of 30” (76.2 cm) without a landing. A ramp with a slope between 1:12 and 1:16 can have a maximum horizontal length of 30’ (9.14 m) without a landing. A ramp with a slope between 1:16 and 1:20 can have a horizontal run up to 40’ (12.19 m) before requiring a landing.

Multiple elevation drawings comparing ramp slopes based on incline and run lengths
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