A wheelchair ramp
is an inclined plane
The inclined plane is one of the original six simple machines; as the name suggests, it is a flat surface whose endpoints are at different heights. By moving an object up an inclined plane rather than completely vertical, the amount of force required is reduced, at the expense of increasing the...
installed in addition to or instead of stairs
Stairway, staircase, stairwell, flight of stairs, or simply stairs are names for a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, called steps...
. Ramps permit wheelchair
A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, designed to be a replacement for walking. The device comes in variations where it is propelled by motors or by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand. Often there are handles behind the seat for someone else to do the pushing...
users, as well as people pushing stroller
Stroller may refer to:*A form of baby transport*Stroller , men's daytime semiformal wear*Stroller , showjumping champion...
A cart is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people...
s, or other wheeled objects, to more easily access a building.
A wheelchair ramp can be permanent, semi-permanent or portable. Permanent ramps are designed to be bolted or cemented in place. Semi-permanent ramps rest on top of the ground or cement pad and are commonly used for the short term. Permanent and semi-permanent ramps are usually of steel or wood. Steel ramps are more durable than wooden ramps but heavier and more expensive. Portable ramps are usually aluminum and typically fold for ease of transport. Portable ramps are primarily intended for home and building use but can also be used with vans to load an unoccupied mobility device or to load an occupied mobility device when both the device and the passenger are easy to handle.
Ramps must be carefully designed in order to be useful. Many jurisdictions have established minimum widths and maximum slopes. A less steep rise can be easier for a wheelchair user to navigate, as well as safer in icy climates.
Wheelchair ramps (or other ways for wheelchair users to access a building, such as a wheelchair lift
A wheelchair lift, also known as a platform lift, is a powered device designed to raise a wheelchair and its occupant in order to overcome a step or similar vertical barrier....
) are required in new construction for public accommodations in the United States by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a 1:12 slope for wheelchairs and scooters for business and public use. The ADA does not apply to residential construction.
UK guidelines as recommended by the DDA and DRC are 1:6 for temporary ramps for assisted wheelchairs, 1:12 for temporary ramps for self-powered wheelchairs, and 1:15 for permanent and semi-permanent ramps.
Ramp systems can be constructed to any length the user wants however the maximum rise of any single section, or run, shall be no more than 30" which translates to 30' of length.