Access Currents: January/ February 2013

 


Board Issues Supplemental Rule to Address Access to Shared Use Paths

The Board has released for public comment proposed requirements for accessible shared use paths used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and others for transportation or recreation. These requirements would supplement guidelines the Board is developing for public rights-of-way that were previously made available for comment.

shared use pathThe proposed rights-of-way guidelines, which cover access to sidewalks, streets, and other pedestrian facilities, provide requirements for pedestrian access routes, including specifications for route width, grade, cross slope, surfaces, and other features. The Board's proposal would apply these and other relevant requirements to shared use paths as well. It also would add new provisions tailored to shared use paths that address grade, cross slope, surfaces, and protruding objects. One provision, for example, specifies that the grade of shared use paths not exceed 5% or, if contained within a street or highway right-of-way, the general grade of adjacent street or highway but includes an exception where constraints imposed by terrain, infrastructure, or other factors make compliance impracticable. In addition, curb ramps and blended transitions located along shared use paths would be required to extend the full path width.

This supplemental rule is responsive to feedback the Board received from the public on its proposed rights-of-way guidelines as well as on separate guidelines it is developing for trails and outdoor developed areas. Comments from the public on these rules urged the Board to specifically address access to shared use paths since they are distinct from sidewalks and trails. Shared use paths, unlike most sidewalks, are physically separated from streets by an open space or barrier. They also differ from trails because they are designed not just for recreation purposes but for transportation as well. In addition, the Board invited comment on this subject in an earlier notice.

The proposed supplemental provisions on shared use paths are further described in a published notice which includes instructions for submitting comment. The deadline for comments is May 14, 2013. For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Scott Windley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (202) 272-0025 (voice), or (202) 272-0028 (TTY).




Board to Form Advisory Committee on Update of Rail Vehicle Guidelines

The Board is organizing an advisory committee to assist in the review and update of its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles and seeks nominations for membership. The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee will develop consensus recommendations for the Board's use in updating sections of the guidelines that cover vehicles of fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail. The committee's work will not extend to portions of the guidelines that address buses and vans, which the Board is already in the process of updating.

The Board seeks to include representatives from rail vehicle manufacturers, transit providers, disability groups, and other stakeholders and interested parties on the committee. The committee will be balanced in terms of interests represented. A notice issued by the Board provides further details, including application instructions. The deadline for applications is April 1.

Meetings of the advisory committee will be open to the public and will provide opportunities for all interested parties to provide information. Its work will be conducted in accordance with regulations governing Federal advisory committees. Committee membership is voluntary, and members will not be paid or reimbursed for their services.

For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Paul Beatty at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (202) 272-0012 (voice), or (202) 272-0072 (TTY).




President Obama Appoints Michael Graves to the Board
Michael Graves, FAIA

President Barack Obama has named Michael Graves, FAIA, of Princeton, New Jersey to the Access Board. Graves is the founding principal of Michael Graves & Associates, an architecture and design firm that he founded in 1964, and of Michael Graves Design Group. He is also the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University, where he taught for nearly 40 years. Graves has received a number of awards, including the Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame (2012), the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medal (2010), the AIA Gold Medal (2001), and the National Medal of Arts (1999), and was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Healthcare Design by the Center for Health Design in 2010. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome. Graves received a B.S.Arch from the University of Cincinnati and an M.Arch from Harvard University.

The Access Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Its governing Board is comprised of 13 members from the public appointed by the President and representatives from 12 Federal departments.



Board Advisory Committee on Medical Diagnostic Equipment to Meet

The Board's Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee will hold its next meeting February 26 and 27 at the Board's Conference Center. The Board chartered this committee to advance its development of new accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment which it proposed for public comment last year.

The meeting agenda and other details are posted on the Board's website. Committee meetings are open to the public.

MDE Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee Meeting
February 26 and 27
Access Board Conference Center
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C.
Note: For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

Call-in option (listening only):
Dial: (517) 308-9365 or (888) 603-7094 (toll-free)
Passcode: 6317703

Real-time transcription:
[The link will be posted on the MDE homepage]




Upcoming Board Webinars

The next webinar in the Board's free monthly series will take place March 7 from 2:30 - 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session with Board accessibility specialists on the ADA and the ABA Accessibility Standards. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance of the session through the webinar site. Questions also can be posed during the webinar.

Subsequent Board webinars will cover:

  • Restaurants and Cafeterias (April 4)
  • Elevators and Platform Lifts (May 2)
  • Fire Alarm Systems (June 6)

For more information, including registration instructions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Archived copies of previous webinars can be accessed on this site.




 

Group photo of Jesse Davis of CMT, Mark Ackermann and Lester Marks of Lighthouse International, and Board Vice Chair Karen Braitmayer

 

Presenters included (l-r) Jesse Davis of CMT and Mark Ackermann and Lester Marks of Lighthouse International seen here with Board Vice Chair Karen Braitmayer.

 

Board members Sachin Dev Pavithran and Marc Guthrie trying out the fare payment touch screen with CMT President Jesse Davis

 

Board members Sachin Dev Pavithran (l) and Marc Guthrie (c) try out the fare payment touch screen with CMT President Jesse Davis (r).

Board Hosts Demonstration of Accessible Taxi Payment Technology

At its January meeting, the Board hosted a demonstration of new taxicab technology that makes fare payment accessible to passengers with visual impairments. Developed by Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT) in partnership with Lighthouse International, the software enhancement has been installed in hundreds of New York City taxicabs.

The system features an audible touch screen with large easy-to-navigate sections and step-by-step prompts and verbal instructions. The adaptive software announces fares at regular intervals during a trip and facilitates each step of payment by cash or credit card, including verification of fare and selection of payment options and tip percentages. It can be activated independently by riders through the touch screen or a free swipe card issued by Lighthouse International, as well as by drivers upon request.

Mark Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International and CMT President Jesse Davis briefed Board members on the system and its installation in New York City cabs. They also demonstrated a sample system that Board members were able to try out for themselves. The software, according to Ackermann "is an excellent example of the private sector working with government leaders and advocates to voluntarily change a system that has excluded the independent participation of millions of people who are blind or visually impaired for far too long."

The software is responsive to a New York City law mandating taxi payment options that are accessible to passengers with vision impairments. In addition to its New York City roll-out, CMT plans to install the system in about a dozen other cities, including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

CMT, established in 2005 by taxi industry leaders, equips over 20,000 taxicabs in 60 different cities with interactive and communication technologies and enhancements. Lighthouse International is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment, and empowerment. Further information is available from CMT's website at www.creativemobiletech.com and Lighthouse International at www.lighthouse.org.



Access Currents is a free newsletter issued by the Access Board every other month by mail and e-mail. Send questions or comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (800) 872-2253 ext. 0026 (voice) or (800) 993-2822 (TTY). Mailing address: 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000; Washington, D.C. 20004-1111.