U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content

Civil Rights

Home / Programs / Civil Rights / Programs / ADA/Section 504

Civil Rights

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504)

The primary purpose of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) program is to ensure that pedestrians with disabilities have opportunity to use the transportation system in an accessible and safe manner. As part of FHWA's regulatory responsibility under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504), the FHWA ensures that recipients of Federal aid and State and local entities that are responsible for roadways and pedestrian facilities do not discriminate on the basis of disability in any highway transportation program, activity, service or benefit they provide to the general public; and to ensure that people with disabilities have equitable opportunities to use the public rights-of-way system.

Laws and regulations require accessible planning, design, and construction to integrate people with disabilities into mainstream society. Further, these laws require that the actions of government highway entities do not discriminate in their programs and activities against persons with disabilities.

Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 93-112) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in Federally assisted programs. Section 504 requirements for USDOT administrations are covered under 49 CFR Part 27 (USDOT), Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs and Activities Receiving or Benefiting from Financial Assistance. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990, Public Law 101-336) is a broader civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life.

The ADA addresses State and local government services, activities and policy making under the Department of Justice's ADA Title II implementing regulations. The ADA, under Title II, Subpart A, covers public rights-of-way. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has rulemaking authority and enforcement responsibility for Title II, while USDOT is legally obligated to implement compliance procedures relating to transportation, including those for highways, streets, and traffic management. The FHWA Office of Civil Rights oversees the DOT requirements in these areas.

Section 504 responsibilities not detailed specifically in Title II of the ADA are: Rest areas on Interstate highways must be accessible; and pedestrian overpasses, underpasses, and ramps constructed with Federal financial assistance must be accessible.

Key FHWA Stewardship/Oversight Responsibilities

Contacts/phone numbers/email addresses

Sharon Field
ADA Program Team Leader
(202) 366-4634


The Americans with Disabilities Act (42 USC 126)

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act Implementing Regulation (28 CFR 35)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC 794, et seq).

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Implementing Regulation 49 CFR 27

Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)

Public Rights-of-Way (PROWAG) Notice of Proposed Rule Making, July 26, 2011

Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS)


Useful Links

U.S. Department of Justice's ADA website

U.S. Access Board

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Civil Rights

The Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC)

Page last modified on June 8, 2018
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000