Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education and Literacy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George Haus

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Long

Third Advisor

Dr. Shaila Rao


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that environmental and architectural barriers, such as curbs, be removed to enableindividuals with disabilities to travel about in the community with increased mobility. While installation of ramps benefit individuals with mobility impairments, the absence of curbs results in the loss of information used by individuals with visual impairments for street detection. As a result, truncated domes detectablewarning surfaces were developed to alert visually impaired travelers of potential hazards and vehicular pathways. Research to date is limited and inconclusive regarding the impact of detectable warning surfaces on individuals with mobility impairments. Further, no research to date has been conducted using the most recent ADA accessibility guidelines for truncated domes detectable warning. Twenty-one individuals who use wheelchairs for travel in the built environment were recruited to negotiate ramps installed with detectable warnings in a controlled setting. Participants' perception of safety and ease of negotiating ramps with and without detectable warnings were collected on a Likert-type instrument. Additionally, two raters evaluated videotapes of more than half of the participants' performances. MANOVA findings indicate that detectable warning surfaces did not compromise the safety of the participants or adversely affect their ability to traverse the ramps that had been installed with the warning surfaces. In fact, results of this study suggest that truncated domes detectable warnings may be beneficial for individuals who are wheelchair users.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access