California Department of Transportation

California Department of Transportation

Date:       July 30, 2015
District:   Headquarters
Contact: Tamie McGowen
Phone:    (916) 657-5060

Caltrans Commemorates 25th Anniversary of ADA,
Reaffirms Commitment to Improving Access

SACRAMENTO – As the nation and California commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Caltrans celebrates the progress that has been made and recommits to its efforts to allocate $1.1 billion over thirty years to improve access on its sidewalks and other pedestrian facilities for persons with disabilities.

“Caltrans is committed to addressing the mobility needs of all Californians and has even made that pledge of providing reliable and accessible mobility one of our department’s main goals,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “The ADA has expanded opportunities for Americans with disabilities by reducing barriers and, here at Caltrans, we will continue to work to do the same.”                                                                                                                         

Since the early 1990s, Caltrans has been improving sidewalk access through its roadway and bridge rehabilitation programs. In 2010, Caltrans committed to:

  • Developing and designing projects totaling $1.1 billion over the next 30 years to improve pedestrian access. Caltrans’ goal is to remove more than 1,500 pedestrian access barriers each year.
  • Ensuring that each new construction or rehabilitation project addresses access barriers as part of that project.
  • Revising design guidance to ensure that any maintenance projects performed by Caltrans adjacent to pedestrian facilities, such as sidewalks, include the installation or upgrade of curb ramps.  Additionally, in cases where projects include work on lanes and shoulders that would be used by pedestrians, Caltrans must ensure they comply with accessibility requirements. 

Caltrans also created the ADA Infrastructure Program in 2010 as a single statewide focal point for infrastructure-related ADA compliance issues. This program’s primary functions are to develop and coordinate guidelines and policy improvements. For example:

  • Starting in 2011, Caltrans made it easier for people with disabilities and the public to let it know which access barriers are of greatest concern through Caltrans’ online access request form. As a result, the department has removed more than 400 access barriers based on public requests.
  • Caltrans also formed the Caltrans Access Advisory Committee (CTAAC), which includes members from various ADA organizations statewide, to provide input on the department's policies, practices, procedures, project priorities and methods of communications with departmental divisions and community advocates.

Caltrans operates and maintains an extensive statewide pedestrian system with more than 4,000 miles of sidewalk, 2,190 on & off ramps, 300 pedestrian under-crossings and overcrossings, 336 park-and-rides and more than 300 rest areas and vista points—all with pedestrian paths. The majority of this pedestrian infrastructure is also located on routes that pass through urban centers and regular maintenance and upgrades are required to keep the system functioning and accessible.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 and is the “Bill of Rights” for people with disabilities, covering employment, public accommodations, government services and telecommunications. The ADA forbids any discrimination on the basis of disability, by both public and private entities. California’s laws guaranteeing individuals with disabilities the right to access publicly funded facilities and privately funded public accommodations have been on the books for more than 30 years. Under these laws, people with disabilities have a right to accessible public transportation, including properly designed facilities.