GSA publishes final rule adopting new accessibility guidelines

New rule will make it easier for people with disabilities to access government buildings

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced a final rule amending the Federal Management Regulation to adopt the new accessibility guidelines issued by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board)

The Access Board’s guidelines establish that pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way dedicated to transportation are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. GSA has adopted these guidelines, creating a uniform federal standard that aims to ensure all new and modified pedestrian facilities, such as sidewalks and crosswalks, are accessible and meet the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, as amended.

With over 300,000 federal buildings nationwide, the federal government, led by GSA as the nation’s largest landlord, is the country’s biggest property manager. In support of President Biden’s Executive Order Nos. 13985, 14035 and 14091, executive agencies are leading by example to make the federal government more accessible to the communities it serves. 

Adopting the Access Board’s guidelines is another way for GSA to formalize its commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities by requiring enhanced accessibility features, including pedestrian signals and alternate access routes.

“Government works best when it works for everyone, and one of the ways we do that is by ensuring all members of the community have equitable access to the government, its services, and its facilities,” said GSA Deputy Administrator Katy Kale, who serves as vice-chair of the Access Board.  

“Federal buildings are oftentimes the primary way members of the public interact with their government,” said GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Elliot Doomes. “By promoting physical accessibility, this policy will continue to make human-centered design central to our work, while also providing employees and visitors with disabilities the opportunity to take part in all the programs, services and activities in our buildings.”

Examples of how this new rule will benefit the public, and people with disabilities in particular, at new and modified pedestrian facilities, include:

  • Shortening travel distances from on-street parking to building entrances, making it easier   to access government buildings while increasing efficiency for everyone who uses street parking; 
  • Increasing sidewalk sizes and widths makes it easier for people to pass on the sidewalk, reducing accidental collisions and better accommodating mobility aids such as walkers, rollators, and both manual and electric wheelchairs.
  • Regulating the ground slope at passenger loading zones prevents them from being too steep for people with mobility disabilities to climb.
  • Better audio and tactile warning systems, including audio signal warnings, truncated domes, and detectable warning pavers, increases pedestrian safety by alerting them to an imminent street crossing or to when they have the right-of-way to cross the street.

“This rule sets and clarifies a national federal standard policy for pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way,” said GSA Office of Government-wide Policy Acting Associate Administrator Mehul Parekh. “Critical work is being done at GSA and throughout the federal government to advance inclusion for all and this rule now provides clear, specific, enforceable technical standards for accessibility in public rights-of-way.”

This new rule ensures GSA’s federal new construction, alteration and renovation projects will comply with the Access Board’s guidelines. GSA will update its informational content related to design and construction, as well as its training for architects and engineers, and client agencies. For leased buildings, GSA will revise the current Leasing Desk Guide template by adding new contract language, leasing policy and procedures, as well as adding training for lease contracting officers and lease managers.


About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet, overseeing approximately $100 billion in annual contracts, and delivering technology services that serve millions of people across dozens of federal agencies. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. For more information, visit and follow @USGSA.