Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public facilities must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Many hallways have a narrow construction and need to support a high volume of pedestrian traffic walking in more than one direction at the same time. As a result, it can be difficult for those with disabilities to access and maneuver in crowded hallways. To ensure that disabled people can comfortably access hallways and corridors in public facilities, there are established ADA hallway width requirements for all public buildings.
ADA Hallway Width
Hallways in public buildings must provide an adequate amount of space to conveniently accommodate people in wheelchairs. The minimum required ADA hallway width is 36 inches. The standard commercial hallway width is also 36 inches, to account for ADA standards.
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.
Hallway Passing Spaces
In addition to ADA hallway width, corridors must give people room to pass others. To ensure that individuals in wheelchairs can pass other people (or be passed by others), all hallways or corridors should have a clear width of 60 inches.
Hallways with a clear width of less than 60 inches must provide passing spaces at reasonable intervals. The maximum intervals of the passing zones is 200 feet, and the clearance width of the zones must be at least 60 inches by 60 inches. An acceptable passing place under ADA is a T-intersection of two corridors or walks.
Hallway Head Room
To protect disabled, blind and visually impaired people from head injuries, the ADA mandates that all hallways, passageways and corridors 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.
Hallway Ground Surface
To protect people from injuries caused by falling, the ADA requires ground and floor surfaces of walkways and hallways in all public facilities be stable, firm and slip-resistant. If the floor is carpeted, the carpet must be securely fastened to the floor surface. The maximum allowable pile thickness for carpet is one-half inch. Exposed edges of carpet must be attached to the floor surface and have trim along the entire length of the exposed edge.
If the hallway has a change in level of more than one-half inch, it must be ADA-compliant to accommodate those with disabilities. A ramp, elevator or platform lift must be installed in that instance.
Doorways connected to hallways must also be ADA compliant. Doorways must have an opening of at least 32 inches, when measured with the door open 90 degrees.
These standards are the minimum for public structures to be in compliance with ADA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act established requirements for hallway width, head room and flooring to make public buildings accessible to those with disabilities.
Leslie Bloom earned a J.D. from U.C. Davis’ King Hall, with a focus on public interest law. She is a licensed attorney who has done advocacy work for children and women. She holds a B.S. in print journalism, and has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of print and online publications, including the Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy.