🚘Chapter 1: Parking Areas

The universal design features in this chapter apply to single-family or multi-family residences that include parking for privately-owned vehicles.

Residential Universal Design Building Code, 2024 version. © The UD Project.

Section 1.1: Measurements

1.1.1 Parking space width ≥ 11 feet.

The width of usable parking space(s) should be no less than 11' (132" or 335cm).

1.1.2 Parking space length ≥ 20 feet.

The length of usable parking space(s) should be no less than 20' (240" or 610cm).

It’s essential to ensure a parking space can accommodate most passenger vehicles, especially those modified for accessibility.

1.1.3 Unobstructed width on all sides of parking space ≥ 3 feet.

The perimeter of a parking space should have no less than 3' (36" or 91cm) of unobstructed width on all four sides.

People need room to move around all sides of a vehicle, regardless of if a mobility device is used. You’ll want enough space to access the front and back of a vehicle, whether to get inside to load/unload items or to perform basic maintenance tasks.

1.1.4 Entrance height ≥ 8 feet.

The entrance height should be at least 8' (96" or 244cm). This refers to the vertical distance between the parking surface and the lowest point of the entrance.

When it's open, this should be measured from the bottom edge of a garage door.

If the clearance isn’t adequate, some vehicles may not fit under a covered area, making entering and exiting a vehicle difficult, especially in adverse weather conditions. This is useful for accessible vehicles and roof attachments, such as luggage boxes or bike carriers.

1.1.5 Parking space slope ≤ 1:50.

The parking area should have a slope of no more than 1:50 (1.15º) in any direction.


If a nearly flat space truly isn’t feasible, slopes no more than 1:20 (2.86º) in any direction are adequate, though expect things on wheels to roll away.

Grading an area as close to level as possible will reduce the likelihood of something rolling away. If a ball can roll in any direction, so can anything with wheels (chair, stroller, cart, luggage, etc).

Section 1.2: Features

1.2.1 Covered and enclosed.

Parking areas should be covered and enclosed (i.e., a garage) for protection from the weather, security, and safety.


Suppose a garage isn’t practical due to finances or other reasons. In that case, a carport or other covered parking area is similarly functional, though the security a fully enclosed parking area provides won’t be available.

Covered and enclosed parking areas (garages) create protection from sun, wind, rain, and snow. Loading and unloading items under a covered structure is easier and more comfortable whether or not a health condition exists. Garages that can be closed and secured also provide extra safety.

1.2.2 Power door opener.

Garage doors (or any doors to access the parking area, e.g., property gates) should be able to be opened or closed without having to exit a vehicle.

A remote-controlled door provides convenience and security, whether activated by pushing a button or triggered by a sensor. Remote controls should have a simple interface with buttons that are easy to see while being operated without twisting, pinching, or grasping motions.

1.2.3 Asphalt or concrete.

The parking surface should be asphalt or concrete, free from cracks, gaps, or bumps.


If brick, pavers, or other solid surfaces are used, they must be level and installed in a way that minimizes the chances of becoming uneven over time, creating unnecessary hazards that can cause people to trip and/or fall.

Asphalt or concrete parking surfaces are the best option for people who rely on support (wheelchairs, canes, etc.) for mobility and are less likely to cause someone to trip, as they are smooth and even when well-maintained.

Small cracks, gaps, or bumps that may seem insignificant can cause a wheel or foot to get caught and throw off someone's balance, creating a safety hazard for anyone using mobility devices. For anyone using objects with wheels – strollers, luggage, etc. – it will be easier if smooth surfaces are present.

1.2.4 Evenly lit.

The entire parking area needs to be evenly lit with minimal areas of shadow. This will most likely require multiple light fixtures.

Evenly lit parking areas are essential. It's inadequate to have one overhead light in the garage or one light pole to light up a driveway. Single lights tend to cast shadows and are potential sources of glare. Multiple lights can illuminate areas that would otherwise be in shadows.

Shadows can hide possible barriers that would be a hazard to anyone walking around their car, especially for those with difficulty with vision and/or decreased balance.

Recommended: indirect and low lighting:

Using indirect ambient lighting and low lighting that illuminates the floor without visible bare bulbs or translucent covers (from a seated or standing position) is ideal. Indirect lighting reduces eye strain and is more calming than direct lighting.

The option to adjust the intensity of ambient lighting (e.g., with a dimmer) should be used wherever possible.

1.2.5 Automatic lighting activation.

Lights need to be able to be activated before exiting a vehicle.

Triggering lights to turn on/off automatically (i.e., hands-free) via proximity or motion-activated switches or on a timer contributes to ease of use and security.

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