Wheelchair ramp specifications in the United States are provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA provides the specifications, code and handicap access guidelines that wheelchair accessible businesses are required to meet.
When it comes to residential ramps, most do not need to meet ADA code and ADA guidelines — but the guidelines are a good reference point for recommended ramp slope and lengths.
Establishments that must be in compliance with the ADA wheelchair ramp specifications include most businesses, churches, and schools.
Here is some general information about ADA wheelchair ramp specifications and what they cover:
ADA Wheelchair Ramp Specifications
Any part of an accessible route with a slope greater than 1:20 shall be considered a ramp and shall comply with 4.8.
Slope and Rise
The least possible slope shall be used for any ramp. The maximum slope of a ramp in new construction shall be 1:12. The maximum rise for any ramp run shall be 30 inches. Curb ramps and ramps to be constructed on existing sites or in existing buildings or facilities may have slopes and rises, if space limitations prohibit the use of a 1:12 slope or less.
The minimum clear width of a ramp shall be 36 inches.
Ramps shall have level landings at the bottom and top of each run. Landings shall have the following features:
- The landing shall be at least as wide as the widest ramp run leading to it.
- The landing length shall be a minimum of 60 inches clear.
- If ramps change direction at landings, the minimum landing size shall be 60 in. x 60 in.
- If a doorway is located at a landing, then the area in front of the door shall comply with
If a ramp run has a rise greater than 6 inches or a horizontal projection greater than 72 inches, then it shall have handrails on both sides. Handrails are not required on curb ramps.
Handrails shall have the following features:
- Handrails shall be provided along both sides of ramp segments. The inside handrail on switchback or dogleg ramps shall always be continuous.
- If handrails are not continuous, they shall extend at least 12 inches beyond the top and bottom of the ramp segment and shall be parallel with the floor or ground surface.
Cross slope and Surfaces
The cross slope of ramp surfaces shall be no greater than 1:50.
Ramps and landings with drop-offs shall have curbs, walls, railings, or projection surfaces that prevent people from slipping off the ramp. Curbs shall be a minimum of 2 inches high.
Outdoor ramps and their approaches shall be designed so that water will not accumulate on walking surfaces.
Keep in mind that the ADA’s wheelchair ramp specifications are only for public buildings — you can have a ramp installed in or outside of your home according to whichever specifications you wish. For more information see our ramps products.