Parking & Transportation Overview
SUMMARY: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has given us inspiration, guidance, and specific rules about parking and transportation.
Accessible Parking and Transportation Makes a Difference
The ADA begins with a list of findings from Congress (Section 12101). Findings are a conclusion based on investigation. All these findings relate to the need for accessible parking and transportation, but two in particular stand out.
Finding 5 points out that discrimination is a serious issue for people with disabilities, and it names transportation as an example of a barrier:
Individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including outright intentional exclusion, the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers, overprotective rules and policies, failure to make modifications to existing facilities and practices, and…
Finding 7 describes goals of the United States:
The Nation’s proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency…
To meet these goals, accessible transportation must be available. And, because a car is the transportation method of choice for many Americans, accessible parking is essential. Without the ability to get around safely, efficiently, and independently, people with disabilities are excluded from many events and places. These places include parks and schools, court houses and post offices, stores and restaurants, offices and factories, spas and fitness centers, and so much more. These places are where community, civic, and work life takes place.
Which Rules Go Where?
When assessing a transportation-related service or facility—bus line, airport, subway, and more—for accessibility, it is important to understand which aspects of the ADA apply. Depending on the specifics of the service or facility, different titles of the ADA may apply. And, in fact, other laws may also apply, such as the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). For parking, in addition to complying with the ADA, parking facilities must also follow any state or local rules. For example, New York State has different rules for the design of accessible parking spaces.
Keeping the Goal in Mind
The main take-away is that a goal of the ADA is to ensure that transportation-related barriers are removed—or never created—so everyone has an equal chance to get around and participate in the community. All the rules and details are simply meant to support this goal.
Want to know more? Additional articles on this website have more detail about how the ADA applies to parking and transportation. They explain some of the differences relating to public and private transportation, and to different locations.