Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee Operating Procedures

Approved Nov 13, 2013

1.  Mission.  The advisory committee will make recommendations to the Access Board on revising and updating the portion of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles that addresses passenger vehicles that use fixed guideway systems (e.g., rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, and intercity rail).  The Board’s guidelines are codified at 36 CFR part 1192.  The guidelines contain minimum scoping and technical criteria to ensure that transportation vehicles are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  The guidelines apply to the acquisition of new, used, and remanufactured transportation vehicles, and the remanufacture of existing transportation vehicles to the extent required by regulations issued by the Department of Transportation.  The guidelines for transportation vehicles using fixed guideway systems have not been revised since established in 1991, 56 FR 45530, September 6, 1991.  The guidelines for transportation vehicles that address buses, over-the-road buses, and vans have been the subject of another rulemaking project of the Access Board, 75 FR 43748, July 26, 2010, and these types of vehicles are not included in the scope of this advisory committee work. 

2.  Interests Represented on Committee.  The committee is comprised of organizations appointed by the Chair of the Access Board to represent the interests of groups affected by the revised and updated guidelines, including manufacturers of transportation vehicles that use fixed guideway systems, transportation providers that operate fixed guideway systems, individuals with disabilities, and other interested parties.  The Federal Railroad Administration has been appointed as an ex-offico member of the committee.

3.  Committee Members and Alternate Members.  Each organization appointed to the committee will designate a member and an alternate member to represent the organization on the committee subject to approval by the Chair of the Access Board.

4.  Additional Committee Members.  Additional committee members may be added to represent a stakeholder group which is not adequately represented and/or to achieve balance of points of view among committee membership.  Upon approval of three quarters of the advisory committee membership, additional members may be recommended to the Access Board chairperson for membership.  Additional committee members added through this process shall begin service upon appointment by the Chairperson of the Access Board.

5.  Committee Member Responsibilities.  Committee members will attend committee meetings, participate fully and openly in discussions, exchange information to the fullest extent possible, consider alternatives, and make a good faith effort to reach consensus on recommendations for the revision and update of the guidelines.  When alternate members attend committee meetings, they have the same responsibilities as committee members.

6.  Attendance at Meetings.  Committee members should attend committee meetings in person.  If committee members cannot attend committee meetings in person, they may attend by teleconference.  Alternate members are encouraged to attend committee meetings.  If an alternate member does not attend committee meetings, the committee member should brief the alternate member on the committee discussions.  If an organization is not represented by a committee member or an alternate member at two consecutive committee meetings, the Chair of the Access Board may remove the organization and its members from the committee.

7.  Technical Advisors.  Committee members may be accompanied by technical advisors.  Technical advisors may participate in committee discussions.  If the discussion becomes unwieldy, any committee member may request that technical advisors be allowed to speak only if permitted by the Chair of the committee.

8.  Designated Federal Official (DFO).  In accordance with 41 CFR 102-3.120, the DFO must, for both the full committee and subcommittees, approve the call of the meetings, approve the agenda, and attend the meetings.

9.  Committee Chair.  The Chair of the committee will consult with the DFO regarding meeting agendas, will chair committee meetings as directed by the Board chair, and (per 41 CFR 102-3.165) will certify the accuracy of the summary minutes of committee meetings within 90 calendar days of the meeting.

10.  Committee Meetings.  Committee meetings will be conducted in accordance with Federal Advisory Committee Management Regulations at 41 CFR Part 102-3, Subpart D.  Committee meetings are expected to be held in the Access Board Conference Room.  Notice of committee meetings will be published in the Federal Register at least 15 calendar days prior to each meeting.  Committee meetings will be open to the public.  During each day of committee meetings, there will be time for public comment.  Persons attending committee meetings are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of other participants.

11.  Meeting Agendas.  The DFO will prepare agendas for committee meetings in consultation with the Chair of the committee.  A summary of the agenda topics to be discussed at each committee meeting will be included in the Federal Register notice announcing the meeting.

12.  Agenda Materials.  Committee members should submit agenda materials in MS Word format to the DFO at least five business days before committee meetings.  Agenda materials will be posted on the committee webpage in advance of the meeting.  Agenda materials will be provided in accessible formats for committee members and alternate members who request such formats.  Committee members who hand out written materials at committee meetings shall provide a sufficient number of copies for committee members, including accessible formats for committee members and alternate members who request such formats.

13.  Quorum.  A quorum of two thirds of the committee membership is required to make recommendations on behalf of the full committee.  If a committee member is absent and an alternate member is present at a meeting, the alternate member is counted for purposes of establishing a quorum.  In the absence of a quorum, the committee may meet for the purpose of discussion, but may not make recommendations on behalf of the full committee.

14.  Minutes.  The DFO will prepare summary minutes of committee meetings.  The committee will review the minutes at its next meeting and the Chair of the committee will certify the accuracy of the minutes.  Where the next meeting is more than 90 days, the approval of the minutes will be conducted by email.  An email will be sent to committee members (and alternates) who attended the meeting.  Ten business days will be allowed for review and comment.  Committee members must respond supporting the minutes or noting corrections.  Once a majority of committee members approve the minutes, the minutes will be considered approved by the committee.  Approved minutes of committee meetings will be posted on the committee webpage. 

15. Subcommittees.  The committee may establish subcommittees to discuss matters within the scope of the committee’s mission subject to approval by the DFO.  Subcommittees will report their recommendations to the full committee for discussion.  Persons who are not committee members or alternate members may participate as subcommittee members.  Subcommittee members will be appointed by the Chair of the full committee in consultation with the DFO.  Subcommittees will be chaired by a full committee member selected by the subcommittee.  Subcommittees may meet between full committee meetings or at full committee meetings.   Subcommittee chairs will submit subcommittee meeting schedules and agendas to the DFO for approval, if meetings are scheduled in advance of full committee meetings or outside the dates of the full committee meetings.  Notice of subcommittee meetings will be published in advance of meetings on the committee webpage when subcommittees meet between full committee meetings, and in the Federal Register when subcommittees are scheduled to meet during the dates of the full committee meetings.  If a subcommittee meets by teleconference, the teleconference number will be posted on the committee webpage in advance of the meeting and the teleconference will be open to the public.  The same procedures that apply to committee agenda materials will apply to subcommittee agenda materials.  The DFO or alternate DFO must (per 41 CFR 102-3.120) be present at subcommittee meetings.

16.  Caucuses.  Groups of committee members may caucus in private to discuss their positions.  Positions discussed during caucuses are confidential and may not be disclosed outside the caucus unless authorized by the caucus members.  Breaks during committee meetings for caucuses should be held to a minimum.   Caucuses are not required to be open to the public.

17.  Final Committee Report.  The committee will prepare a final report containing its recommendations.  The recommendations should be based on a consensus of the committee to the extent possible.  Committee members should ensure that the organizations they represent agree with the recommendations in the final committee report.  If an organization does not agree with one or moreof the recommendations in the final committee report, the organization may submit a minority report stating its position on the matter.  Ex-offico members are not required to agree with the recommendations in the final committee report or submit a minority report.  The Access Board will consider all recommendations in the final report and any minority reports when developing the proposed rule for the guidelines.

18.  Committee Webpage.  The Access Board will maintain a webpage on the committee’s activities.   Committee meeting notices, agendas, agenda materials, summary minutes, draft recommendations and reports, and the final committee report and any minority reports will be posted on the webpage.  In general, anything submitted to the full committee will be posted.  Subcommittee meeting notices and agendas will also be posted, and when directed by the subcommittee chair, agenda materials.

19.  Media Announcements.  Committee members may not make announcements to or hold discussions with the media unless authorized by the DFO.

20.  Discontinue if Unproductive.  The Access Board may discontinue committee meetings at any time if the meetings are not productive.