USAB - Accessible Play Areas

U.S. Access Board Summary of Accessibility Guidelines for Play Areas Page October 2005 Introduction The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA requires that newly constructed and altered State and local government facilities, places of public accommodation, and commercial facili- ties be readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. Recreational facilities, including play areas, are among the facilities required to comply with the ADA. The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board - often referred to as the “Access Board” - has developed accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered play areas. The play area guidelines are a supplement to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). Once these guidelines are adopted as enforceable standards by the Department of Justice, all newly constructed and altered play areas covered by the ADA will be required to comply. These guidelines also apply to play areas covered by the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Summary This guide is intended to help designers and operators in using the accessibility guidelines for play areas. These guidelines establish minimum accessibility requirements for newly constructed and altered play areas. This guide is not a collection of playground designs. Rather, it provides specifications for elements within a play area to create a general level of usability for children with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that children with disabilities are generally able to access the diversity of components provided in a play area. Designers and operators are encour- aged to exceed the guidelines where possible to provide increased accessibility and opportunities. Incorporating accessibility into the design of a play area should begin early in the planning proc- ess with consideration to layout, circulation paths, and the selection of play components. The play area guidelines were developed with significant public input and carefully consid- ered the balancing of costs, safety, and accessibility. The Access Board sponsored a Regulatory Negotiation Committee to develop proposed guidelines. The public was given an opportunity to comment on the proposed guidelines and the Access Board made changes to the proposed guide- lines based on the public comments. The Regulatory Negotiation Committee represented the fol- lowing groups and associations: American Society of Landscape Architects National Easter Seal Society ASTM Public Playground Committee National League of Cities ASTM Soft Contained Play Committee National Parent-Teacher Association ASTM Playground Surfacing Systems Committee National Recreation and Park Association International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association Spina Bifida Association of America National Association of Counties TASH National Association of Elementary School Principals United Cerebral Palsy Association National Child Care Association U.S. Access Board National Council on Independent Living This guide is designed to assist in using the play area accessibility guidelines and is divided into the following sections: Where Do the Play Area Guidelines Apply? What is a Play Component? How Many Play Components Must Be on an Accessible Route? What Are the Requirements for Accessible Routes? What Other Accessibility Requirements Apply to Play Components? Soft Contained Play Structures Copies of the play area accessibility guidelines and further technical assistance can be obtained from the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, Suite 1000 NW, Washington, DC 20004-1111; 800- 872-2253, 800-993-2822 (TTY); . Alternate formats of this document are also available upon request.