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V1 Media, the publisher of Informed Infrastructure Magazine, is an approved AIA continuing-education provider. AIA-approved courses are a valid form of Learning Units (LU) and Professional Development Hours (PDH) for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries via self-learning courses in all states.

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Designing, Modeling, & Labeling ADA Compliant Ramps With Civil Cells

Course Information

Designing ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps for installation in new or rehabilitated roadway intersections is a common task for civil engineers and other designers. Common, but not routine; adapting the ADA guidelines to particular situations can be tedious, and it’s very possible to make mistakes that lead to change orders and rework. In fact, non-compliant ramps are so common that redesigning ramps for reconstruction also is a common task for designers.

Civil Cells, introduced in Bentley Systems OpenRoads, are an excellent way to simplify and speed up the design of ADA-compliant ramps while ensuring that the final design, in the form of a 3D model, adheres to all relevant guidelines. Civil Cells are 2D or 3D geometric layouts that can be inserted into design environments and manipulated to match planned and existing conditions while preserving necessary geometric relationships. When using an ADA-compliant ramp Civil Cell, for example, it’s easy to keep slope percentages, ramp width, and ramp lengths within allowed minimums and maximums while fitting the ramp to existing conditions. After design, the completed model can be used like any 3D object for automated labeling, rendering, presentations, quantity extraction, printing, etc.


By Kevin Jackson, Technical Director, Civil Infrastructure, Bentley Systems

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this article, the reader should be able to:

• Understand the benefits of Bentley System’s Civil Cells—reusable dynamic modeling units—when designing and modeling ADA-compliant ramps in sidewalks.

• Understand what data need to be imported into design tools before insertion of ADA Ramp Civil Cells.

• Use the ADA Ramp Civil Cell model to automatically create labels, extract quantities, create plans and presentations, etc.


The Professional Development Series is a unique opportunity to earn continuing education credit by reading specially focused, sponsored articles in Informed Infrastructure. This article also is available online at

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