U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Office of Civil Rights
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 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 an equal opportunity to use the public rights-of-way in the transportation system. FHWA's regulatory responsibilities under Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) include oversight of State and local entities and recipients of Federal funds that are responsible for roadways and pedestrian facilities to ensure that they do not discriminate on the basis of disability in any highway transportation program, activity, service or benefit they provide to the public.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990, Public Law 101-336) is a broad civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Title II of the ADA prohibits disability discrimination by State and local government entities. Subpart A of Title II covers public rights-of-way. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has rulemaking authority and enforcement responsibility for Title II, while USDOT is charged with ensuring compliance relating to transportation. The FHWA Office of Civil Rights oversees compliance with DOT requirements for highways, streets, and traffic management.
Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (42 USC 126) 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. Section 504 requirements not detailed specifically in Title II of the ADA include accessibility in rest areas on Interstate highways and in pedestrian overpasses, underpasses, and ramps constructed with Federal funds.
Key FHWA Stewardship/Oversight Responsibilities
- Ensure that public entities, recipients and sub-recipients are informed of their responsibilities to provide accessibility in their transportation programs, activities, and facilities.
- Ensure that public entities, recipients and subrecipients are applying accessibility standards to all transportation facilities.
- Ensure that all complaints filed under the ADA and/or Section 504 are processed in accordance with established complaint procedures.
Page last modified on March 9, 2021