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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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 Handrails - Wall
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Handrail Height: 34”-38” | 86.4-96.5 cm above ramp surface
Space Between Handrail and Wall: 1.5” | 3.8 cm
Handrail Extensions (Landings): 12” | 30.5 cm
Clear Width (Minimum): 36” | 91.4 cm between handrails

Drawings include:
Ramp Guardrails - Wall Mounted Handrails side elevation, section, side (wheelchair user), section (wheelchair user)

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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
Ramp Slopes
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Maximum Slope: 1:12
Minimum Slope: >1:20
Maximum Rise: 30” | 76.2 cm
Maximum Horizontal Run (1:12-1:16): 30’ | 9.14 m
Maximum Horizontal Run (1:16-1:20): 40’ | 12.19 m

Drawings include:
Ramp Slopes side elevation (detail), side (runs)

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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 - Turning
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Landing Depth (Minimum): 60” | 152.4 cm
Landing Width (Minimum): 60” | 152.4 cm

Drawings include:
Ramp Landings Turning plan (wheelchair user), elevation

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Ramp Handrails - Utility

Utility ramp handrails are common all-in-one safety components used along any accessible ramp that typically provide user assistance and protection from falling off a ramp. As free-standing elements, utliity handrails must double as both an assistive handrail and a guardrail that prevents users from accessing the edge of the ramp. For edge protection, utility handrails must include either curbs or barriers at a minimum of 4” (10.2 cm) high along the ramp edge, or an integrated parallel bar at the bottom of the handrail that would restrict the passage of a 4” (10.2 cm) diameter sphere.

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. 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.

Illustrations dimensioning an ADA ramp with utility handrails with measurements for height and length
Utility ramp handrails are common all-in-one safety components used along any accessible ramp that typically provide user assistance and protection from falling off a ramp. As free-standing elements, utliity handrails must double as both an assistive handrail and a guardrail for users.

Illustrations dimensioning an ADA ramp with utility handrails with measurements for height and length
Ramp Handrails - Utility
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Handrail Height: 34”-38” | 86.4-96.5 cm above ramp surface
Handrail Extensions (Landings): 12” | 30.5 cm
Clear Width (Minimum): 36” | 91.4 cm between closest element (handrail or curb)
Edge Protection (Curb): 4” | 10.2 cm high
Edge Protection (Lower Guardrail): Prevents 4” | 10.2 cm diameter sphere

Drawings include:
Ramp Guardrails - Utility Handrails side elevation, section, side (wheelchair user), section (wheelchair user)

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Ramp - Switchback

Switchback ramps are accessible ramps designed with a 180° change of direction along the accessible route. The inner handrail of a switchback ramp must remain continuous.

The landings of switchback ramps must maintain consistent minimum widths and depths of 60” (152.4 cm) along the entire change of direction running parallel to the ramp run. 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 switchback ramp.

Plan and elevation drawings of an ADA ramp with a switchback layout with dimensions for length and width
Switchback ramps are accessible ramps designed with a 180° change of direction along the accessible route. The inner handrail of a switchback ramp must remain continuous.

The landings of switchback ramps must maintain consistent minimum widths and depths of 60” (152.4 cm) along the entire change of direction running parallel to the ramp run. 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 switchback ramp.

Plan and elevation drawings of an ADA ramp with a switchback layout with dimensions for length and width
Ramp - Switchback
Height:
Width:
Length:
Depth:
Weight:
Area:

Landing Depth (Minimum): 60” | 152.4 cm
Landing Width (Minimum): 60” | 152.4 cm
Landing Length (Minimum): Combined widths of both runs

Drawings include:
Ramp Landings Switchback plan (wheelchair user), elevation

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