Determining the proper length of ramp for handicap access.
- Determine how much of an incline your power wheelchair or scooter can go up (should be listed in your owners manual).
- If it is a straight shot into or up the stairs/step measure the amount of space or distance that you have going straight out from the highest point.
- Take a measurement of the total useable width of the area you plan to have the ramp rest as the ramp width will obviously need to be smaller than this in order to fit.
- Take a measurement of the total vertical(up and down) rise that you are trying to overcome.
- Use the measurements in accordance with the ADA requirements below to find the length of ramp needed for your situation.
ADA requirements:
Residential Use: For loading unoccupied wheelchairs/scooters (unoccupied means nobody is sitting in the wheelchair/scooter while it navigates up the ramp):
ADA recommends a 3:12 slope which means for every 3″ of vertical rise you are required to have at least one foot of ramp (14.5 degrees incline)
To determine the length of ramp needed:
Measure the vertical rise from the ground to where the ramp will sit on the vehicle, stairs or threshold.
Take that measurement (inches) and divide it by 3. This will determine the length of ramp needed for an unoccupied power chair.
Example: 24 inches of rise requires an 8 foot ramp minimum (24 divided by 3).
Residential Use: For loading occupied power chairs/scooters (someone is riding on the power wheelchair/scooter):
ADA recommends a 2:12 slope which means every 2″ of vertical rise requires one foot of ramp (9.5 degrees of incline)
To determine the length of ramp needed for residential usage (Note: Business use requires a 1:12 slope):
Measure the rise from the ground to where the ramp will sit on the vehicle, stairs or threshold.
Take that measurement (inches) and divide it by 2. This will determine the length of ramp needed for an unoccupied power chair.
Example: 24 inches of rise requires a 12 foot ramp minimum (24 divided by 2).
Commercial Use: For loading occupied power chairs/scooters (someone is riding on the power wheelchair/scooter):
ADA recommends a 1:12 slope which means every 1″ of vertical rise requires one foot of ramp (5 degrees of incline).
To determine the length of ramp needed for business usage:
Measure the rise from the ground to where the ramp will sit on the vehicle, stairs or threshold.
This measurement equals the length of ramp needed in feet.
Example: 24 inches of rise requires a 24 foot ramp minimum (24 divided by 1).
Not sure what ramp length you need? Find out with the ramp calculator!
Residential Use Ramp Length Chart |
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Occupied – 2:12 Ratio (9.5 degree angle) |
Unoccupied – 3:12 Ratio (14.5 degree angle) |
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Rise – inches | Required ramp length – feet | Rise – inches | Required ramp length – feet |
4” |
2’ |
4” |
1’ |
6” |
3’ |
6” |
2’ |
8” |
4’ |
8” |
3’ |
10” |
5’ |
10” |
3’ |
12” |
6’ |
12” |
4’ |
14” |
7’ |
14” |
5’ |
16” |
8’ |
16” |
5’ |
18” |
9’ |
18” |
6’ |
20” |
10’ |
20” |
7’ |
22” |
11’ |
22” |
7’ |
24” |
12’ |
24” |
8’ |
26” |
13’ |
26” |
9’ |
28” |
14’ |
28” |
9’ |
30” |
15’ |
30” |
10’ |
The chart below is to help get a better understanding as to degree of angle each ramp length will give you.
(Author: Bob Kay)
Click here to view our portable wheelchair ramps & track ramps.
Hello everybody. Really helpful data. I like to see useful posts like this one. People with disabilities need articles like this. Thanks
Thank you for the feedback! The resources and information available for people with disabilities has certainly grown, but there is still a lot of room for further development. Please let us know if there are other topics you think would be valuable to cover!