Final rule issued for accessibility of pedestrian facilities in public right-of-way

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) today issued its final rule providing minimum guidelines for accessibility of pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way, known as PROWAG.

These final guidelines have been long awaited, in particular by state and local governments that have sought them for more than 30 years.

The final rule for PROWAG was published in the Federal Register and is effective Sept. 7. Once adopted, the guidelines “would ensure that facilities used by pedestrians, such as sidewalks and crosswalks, constructed or altered in the public right-of-way by federal, state, and local governments are readily accessible to and usable by pedestrians with disabilities,” according to the posting.

The guidelines apply, at minimum, to state and local government facilities. The guidelines address features of the following pedestrian facilities:

  • Pedestrian access routes
  • Alternate pedestrian access routes
  • Accessible pedestrian signals
  • Crosswalks
  • Transit stops
  • On-street parking.

ATSSA’s Innovation & Technical Services Team attended the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) summer meeting where the rulemaking’s progress was discussed. The final rule will impact the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

The U.S. Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes accessible design.

As mentioned in the team’s blog from that meeting, following issuance of the final rule, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the U.S. Department of Justice must conduct rulemaking procedures to adopt PROWAG into federal regulations. After that step, FHWA will conduct another rulemaking to address revisions needed in the MUTCD to adopt relevant aspects of PROWAG.

The following is a snapshot of the significant changes in the final rule text from the versions proposed in the previous versions of the rule, which include:

  1. Three major changes in the way alterations are treated in the final rule
  2. Facilities and portions of facilities that are “added” to an existing, developed public right-of-way are “alterations”
  3. Altered facilities must be connected to an existing pedestrian circulation path by a pedestrian access route.
  4. MUTCD provisions are not incorporated by reference.
  5. Alterations that trigger installation of accessible pedestrian signals
  6. Expanded crosswalk treatments options at roundabouts.

For additional information on the PROWAG final rule, contact Scott Windley, Office of Technical and Information Services, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20004–1111. Telephone (202) 272–0025 (voice) or (202) 272–0028 (TTY). Email:

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