Local Government Steps to Achieve ADA Compliance

Provisions of ADA must be met by local public agencies to be eligible for federal assistance and grants. State and local governments must identify barriers to accessibility, prioritize actions to address the barriers, and set forth a schedule for those actions. ADA Title II administrative requirements states, that public entities must take several steps designed to achieve compliance. These include the preparation of a self-evaluation. In addition, public entities with 50 or more employees are required to:

  • Develop a grievance procedure;
  • Designate an individual to oversee title II compliance;
  • Develop a transition plan if structural changes are necessary for achieving program accessibility; and
  • Retain the self-evaluation for three years.


The first step to APA compliance is identifying barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from access to facilities, programs, services, and activities. Public entities must perform self-evaluations that assess the extent to which the jurisdiction’s services, programs, policies, and practices are compliant and provide equal access and opportunities for persons with disabilities. Public infrastructure and facilities must be accessible. Barriers within public right-of-way should be identified, including curbs, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, pedestrian signals, shared-use trails, parking lots, and bus stops.

If an entity finds that their services are not compliant with ADA standards, “necessary modifications” must be made. The ADA states that during this process, a public entity shall allow stakeholders, including people with disabilities and organizations that represent people with disabilities, to provide feedback and comments on their current services.

Self-evaluation under the ADA.

Article from Delaware T2/LTAP’s Fall/Winter 2014 Newsletter, Info-Change

Transition Plans

After completing a self-evaluation, a public entity is required to create a transition plan to address any issues. According to a presentation created by the Federal Highway Administration, this plan should include the findings of the self-evaluation, a description of the methods that will be used to correct noncompliance, and a thorough schedule to achieve these alterations. It is also important to estimate costs of these updates.

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program has published a Guide to Best Management Practices for ADA Transition Plans. While it is designed to provide state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) with successful practices to develop and update Transition Plans, the Guide may also be useful to local governments.

The Delaware Department of Transportation’s (DelDOT) ADA Self-Assessment and Transition Plan was formally adopted in May 2014 and may inform plans developed or updated by Delaware local governments.   In this presentation, Transitioning to Accessibility, DelDOT ADA Title II Coordinator John McNeal discusses Delaware’s ADA Transition Plan.

ADA Coordinators

In addition to creating a transition plan, entities must appoint an ADA coordinator to ensure that the self-assessment and transition plan are carried out, published, and publicly available. ADA has prepared a State and Local Government ADA Best Practices Toolkit that provides information on administrative requirements of Title II of the ADA, including the mandates to designate an ADA coordinator, give notice about the ADA’s requirements, and establish a grievance procedure.

Process to Develop a Transition Plan

Public entities should take the following steps to develop an ADA Transition Plan:

  1. Identify the official responsible for developing and implementing the plan
  2. Establish a complaint procedure
  3. Adopt design standards, OR identify prescriptive federal and state design standards that will be followed
  4. Engage the community
  5. Develop a self-evaluation that includes:
  6. Necessary physical changes
  7. Prioritization of physical change
  8. Schedule physical changes and maintain documentation
  9. Make the self-evaluation and transition plan documents available for the public


Back to Role of Local Government | Next to Providing Accessible Rights of Way

Comments are closed