Many hallways have a narrow construction and must support a high volume of pedestrian traffic walking in all directions at once. As a result, it can be difficult for the disabled to access and maneuver in crowded hallways. To ensure that disabled people can comfortably access hallways and corridors in public facilities, the United States Department of Justice has established provisions in the American with Disabilities Act that set hallway requirements for all public buildings.
Hallways in public buildings must provide an adequate amount of space to conveniently accommodate people in wheelchairs. According to section 4.3.3 of the ADA, the minimum clear width of an accessible hallway route must be 36 inches. Additionally, if a hallway contains any obstructive objects in turning areas, the clear width must expand to provide a sufficient amount of space for people in wheelchairs to successfully and safely make the turn.
When hallways are crowded with pedestrian traffic, people who are walking fast typically must pass other people in front of them, who are walking at a comparatively slower pace. To ensure that individals in wheelchairs are able to pass other people (or to be passed by others), all hallways or corridors with a clear width of less than 60 inches must provide passing spaces at reasonable intervals. The intervals of the passing zones must not exceed 200 feet and the clearance width of the zones must be at least 60 inches by 60 inches.
Many head injuries can occur when objects inappropriately protrude from the walls or ceilings. To protect disabled, blind and visually impaired people from receiving head injuries, the ADA -- under section 4.4.2 -- mandates that all hallways, passageways and corridors must provide at least 80 inches of clear head room. If the vertical clearance of an area that adjoins an accessible route is suddenly reduced to less than 80 inches, a physical barrier to warn blind or visually-impaired people must be present.
To protect disabled people from injuries caused by falling, the ground and floor surfaces of walkways and hallways in all public facilities must be built to ensure that the surfaces are stable, firm and slip-resistant. Furthermore, if the floor is carpeted, the carpet must be securely fastened to the floor surface. The maximum pile thickness must be 1/2 inch; exposed edges of carpet must be attached to the floor surface and have trim along the entire length of the exposed edge.