Research of the Great Lakes ADA Center

Read about our research findings on community plans for pedestrians with disabilities

ADA transition plans and their role in the development of accessible cities

What is the goal of this project?

The goal of this research project is to describe the current status of Public Rights-of-Way (PROW) ADA transition plans in the U.S. in order to improve understanding and identify where additional resources are needed for local planning and implementation of Title II of the ADA. PROW plans focus on the locations where people walk in a community - sidewalks, paths and intersections.

Why is this research important?

All local public agencies with 50 or more employees were required to have a transition plan under Title II of the ADA. Those who build or maintain roads are required to develop a plan about their public rights-of-way. Development of these plans as been slow and it is not clear how many communities actually have a plan. The ADA transition plan can serve as an important marker that a community is ready and committed to ensuring that people with disability have equal opportunities to get around their communities and access public and private locations by walking/rolling or using public transportation.

How will we learn about ADA transition plans?

This comprehensive study of ADA transition plans will take place in three parts:

  1. Research staff at UIC will systematically review a representative sample of PROW ADA transition plans in the U.S. to get an idea of how many communities have plans and 'where communities are at' in their process of implementation. An audit tool was developed through input from an expert panel of engineers, lawyers, ADA coordinators, architects and consultants; some of whom are people with disability. This systematic review will identify 1) the percentage of Local Public Agencies (LPAs) with transition plans, 2) how much of communities' infrastructure are still in need of improvement, 3) the characteristics of communities that have developed transition plans, 4) The level of public engagement in the development of transition plans, and 5) best practices in ADA implementation.
  2. The second phase of this project will involve conducting qualitative interviews with ADA coordinators and urban planning professionals involved in local government and municipal implementation to identify barriers and facilitators to self-evaluations, transition plans, and possible connections to other urban planning efforts.
  3. The final phase of this study will involve a geospatial analysis of the pedestrian infrastructure to better understand how the PROW transition plans lines up with what has actually been built on the ground in a sample of communities in the U.S.

How will this research be used to advance knowledge and implementation of the ADA?

The results of this research will be used to develop new resources and targeted technical assistance to local public agencies responsible for developing ADA transition plans for the public rights-of-way. The audit tool developed for the systematic review will be converted to a technical assistance tool that is useful for professional and lay audiences to examine the quality of their own transition plans or to prepare future transition plans. The resource will include best practices found as part of the review and interviews as well as 'stories from the field'. Results from this research will be shared through ADA networks as well as professional planning and engineering networks through reports, manuscripts and plain language summaries.

Who is conducting this research?

Research staff for this project include:

  • Principal Investigator: Yochai Eisenberg
  • Co-Investigators: Robert Gould, Robin Jones
  • Research Assistants: Amy Heider
  • Volunteers: Jessica Pitts, Genesis Murillo

Yochai Eisenberg, MUPP
Senior Research Specialist
Center on Health Promotion Research for Persons with Disabilities
Great Lakes ADA Center
Adjunct Lecturer
College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs
University of Illinois at Chicago
1640 W. Roosevelt Rd. M/C 626
Chicago, IL 60608
Contact Yochai


Last Updated on:
Fri Jul 24, 2020