Federal Government to Enforce Accessibility Guidelines

Local agencies will soon be tasked with adhering to federal right-of-way accessibility rules: comprehensive guidelines for accessible streets and sidewalks.

1 minute read

December 30, 2021, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Federal officials will take action to enforce Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG), a set of standards for accessible streets that remain widely absent on many U.S. streets. According to Don Kostelec, "The United States Access Board develops them as guidelines, but it takes official action by the federal government to turn them into federal standards."

"PROWAG provides a more relevant application of accessibility requirements to street settings than the current standards known as the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, commonly called ADAAG." In contrast with ADAAG, which applies more effectively to buildings and public facilities, PROWAG provides guidance for streets and sidewalks, but remains a draft document that agencies are not mandated to follow. For Kostelec, "This is why making PROWAG the official standard represents a long-awaited shift in the tectonic plates of ADA policy."

However, Kostelec warns that even if PROWAG becomes law, it will take a long time to ensure compliance by local agencies. "All of this means that, even when made the standard, the public will be reliant on pressuring many federal, local, and state agencies to make PROWAG their own."

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