NACTO congratulates the U.S. Access Board on today’s adoption of the Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG). Over 20 years in the making, PROWAG represents an important step forward in advancing the rights and mobility of people with disabilities across the United States. As the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Department of Justice, and the Access Board take the next steps to bring PROWAG into effect, NACTO, along with its 96 member city and transit agencies, look forward to working with them to make accessibility a reality in urban areas across the country.
PROWAG provides accessibility requirements–many for the first time–that will result in more accessible streets and sidewalks. Among other requirements, the Guidelines require sidewalks and shared-use paths to have pedestrian access routes that are traversable by those with disabilities; accessible pedestrian signals with audible and vibrotactile features for pedestrians affected by blindness or low vision; curb ramps and detectable warning surfaces at street crossings; and wheelchair-accessible transit stops.
Creating accessible rights-of-way is critical to ensure people of all abilities can travel to jobs, schools, community institutions and all the other resources communities need to thrive. As others have noted, PROWAG provides enforceable requirements for accessible design of these spaces, and fills an important regulatory gap related to the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Previous rules lacked comprehensive, specific guidelines for designing accessible streets and sidewalks.
On its own, PROWAG will not make U.S. streets completely accessible and safe. Some newer, life-saving street design treatments remain unaddressed, and streets can still be built without sidewalks or other pedestrian facilities at all. Creating equitable cities that work for everyone also requires that accessibility improvements be implemented in tandem with high-quality sidewalk, bike, and transit networks as part of a holistic approach to connecting communities. States must ensure that the $300 billion in federal transportation formula funding they receive each year is used to advance the ADA’s vision for safety, sustainability and accessibility.
NACTO is also working closely with our member cities, transit agencies and other key partners to implement and augment the new PROWAG guidance, ensuring city streets are fully accessible to everyone. In addition to convening and supporting members as they bring these Guidelines to life on their streets, our forthcoming update to NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide places a special emphasis on this work.
Accessible cities are safer, fairer, and more equitable cities. NACTO looks forward to working alongside our government partners to build on the momentum of today’s PROWAG adoption and create the cities we all deserve.
About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 96 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit NACTO.org or follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Alex Engel | [email protected]
Billy Richling | [email protected]
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2023