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, 2023 version. © The Universal Design Project.
The width of usable parking space(s) should be no less than 11' (132" or 335cm).
The length of usable parking space(s) should be no less than 20' (240" or 610cm).
It’s important to make sure a parking space can accommodate most types of passenger vehicles, especially those modified for accessibility.
The perimeter of a parking space should have no less than 3' (36" or 91cm) of unobstructed width on all 4 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.
The entrance height should be a minimum of 8' (96" or 244cm). This refers to the vertical distance between the parking surface and the lowest point of the entrance.
This should be measured from the bottom edge of a garage door when it's open.
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 some accessible vehicles and roof attachments, such as luggage boxes or bike carriers.
The parking area should have a slope of no more than 1:50 (1.15º) in any direction.
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).
Parking areas should be covered and enclosed (i.e., a garage) for protection from the weather, security, and safety.
Covered and enclosed parking areas (garages) create protection from sun, wind, rain, and snow. Loading and unloading items under a covered structure are easier and more comfortable whether or not a health condition is present. Garages that can be closed and secured also provide extra safety.
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.
The parking surface should be asphalt or concrete, free from any cracks, gaps, or bumps.
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 to use if smooth surfaces are present.
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 not adequate 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. The use of 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:
The use of 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.
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.
Last modified 4mo ago