Appendix B: Access Board Rulemaking

Status of Current Access Board Rulemaking Efforts

March 2014

Passenger Vessels.  This rulemaking will address access to ferries, cruise ships, excursion boats, and other vessels.  In 1994, the Access Board and the Department of Transportation funded a research project to assess the feasibility and impact of providing access to a variety of vessels. This project was completed in July 1996 and provided valuable information for rulemaking.  The Board and DOT also held an information meeting with organizations representing people with disabilities and the marine industry to determine the scope and complexity of the rulemaking.

In August 1998, the Board created a 22-member Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee to provide recommendations for a proposed rule addressing accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered passenger vessels covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The committee presented its report with its recommendations to the Board in November 2000.

The Board held public meetings in New Orleans (August 2003) and Seattle (September 2003) to gather information and input on viable access solutions that will allow persons with disabilities independent access onto and off of large vessels.  Over 150 vessel designers and operators, pier operators, persons with disabilities, and others attended the meetings.  In advance of the meetings, the Board toured vessels and boarding facilities at area ports. In November 2004, the Board published for public comment an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on access to and in smaller passenger vessels and a notice of availability (NOA) releasing draft guidelines on access to and in larger passenger vessels.

In July 2006, the Board made available for public comment revised draft accessibility guidelines for passenger vessels.  We received approximately 175 comments on the draft guidelines.  Passenger vessel operators, individuals with disabilities, and organizations representing the various interest groups commented that a provision in the draft guidelines, which required emergency alarm systems to comply with “principles of best practice”, was vague and requested additional guidance.  The Board agreed that additional guidance would be helpful and in August 2007 created a Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee to assist in this matter.  The committee’s membership included representatives from disability organizations, the vessel and cruise ship industry and trade groups, and the National Fire Protection Association, among others.  The committee presented its report with its recommendations to the Board in October 2008.  In June 2008, we published revised draft guidelines for the purpose of holding information meetings to collect data necessary for a regulatory assessment.  Meetings were held in August 2008 to collect this data.

On June 25, 2013, the Board released for public comment proposed guidelines for passenger vessels.  On July 15, 2013, the Cruise Lines International Association requested that the 90-day comment period be extended by an additional 120 days to review and more fully assess the proposed rule.  We extended the comment period to January 24, 2014.

  • information meeting - April 15, 1996
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - March 30, 1998
  • notice establishing advisory committee - August 12, 1998
  • full committee meetings: September 24-25, 1998; November 18-21, 1998; February 4-6, 1999; April 21-23, 1999; July 21-23, 1999; October 20-22, 1999; February 9-11, 2000; April 26-28, 2000; September 19-22, 2000
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - November 17, 2000
  • information meetings - August 20, 2003; September 9, 2003
  • notice of availability of draft guidelines and advance notice of proposed rulemaking - November 26, 2004
  • revised draft guidelines for large vessels, ferries, and tenders - July 7, 2006
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - June 25, 2007
  • notice establishing advisory committee - August 13, 2007
  • full committee meetings: September 19-20, 2007; November 28-29, 2007; February 12-13, 2008; August 12-13, 2008
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - October 14, 2008
  • revised draft guidelines for large vessels, ferries, and tenders - June 26, 2008
  • information meeting - August 11, 2008
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - June 25, 2013

Public Rights-of-Way and Shared Use Paths.  When the Board issued final rules for State and local governments in 1998, it decided to reserve provisions for public rights-of-way, due in large measure to the concerns of the transportation community expressed in comment to the Board on proposed and interim final rules for entities covered by title II of the ADA.  Rather than finalizing the guidelines for public rights-of-way, the Board embarked upon an ambitious outreach plan to the highway industry.  We produced a series of videos, an accessibility checklist, and a design guide on accessible public rights-of-way.

Following this outreach, the Board decided to reinitiate rulemaking on accessible pedestrian facilities by convening a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations for guidelines for public rights-of-way.  In October 1999, we created a 31-member Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee.  Representatives of a wide range of stakeholders, including transportation industry organizations and disability and pedestrian advocates developed recommendations for scoping and technical provisions addressing access to sidewalks, street crossings, and related pedestrian facilities.  The committee presented its report with its recommendations to the Board in January 2001.

In June 2002, the Board released for public comment draft guidelines on accessible public rights-of-way.  A public meeting on the draft guidelines was held in Portland, OR in October 2002.

In November 2005, the Board revised the draft guidelines based on public comments on the initial draft and released them as a notice of availability.  This action was done to assist the Board in preparing a regulatory assessment of the impacts of the rule on State and local governments.  A proposed rule was published for public comment in July 2011; two hearings were held and the comment period closed in February 2012.

When the Board approved draft final accessibility guidelines for trails, coverage of shared use paths was deferred to a future rulemaking.  Commenters on the outdoor developed areas rule had previously raised concerns about the need for differing guidelines for shared use paths.  Commenters noted that shared use paths differ from trails and typically are located in more developed outdoor areas, as opposed to the more primitive trail settings.  Unlike trails, they are designed to serve both bicyclists and pedestrians and are used for transportation and recreation purposes.

As a result, we initiated rulemaking to cover shared use paths.  On September 13, 2010, we held a public information meeting in conjunction with the ProWalk/ProBike 2010 Conference.  This meeting provided an opportunity for individuals with disabilities, designers of shared use paths, and others with expertise in this area to share information with the Board to assist in the development of new accessibility guidelines.  We published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for shared use paths in March 2011.  In February 2013, we published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) to include requirements for shared use paths as part of the public rights-of-way rule.

  • notice of proposed rulemaking - December 21, 1992
  • interim final rule - June 20, 1994
  • final rule - January 13, 1998 (public rights-of-way not included in the final rule)
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - August 12, 1999
  • notice establishing advisory committee - October 20, 1999
  • full committee meetings: December 2-3, 1999; February 9-11, 2000; May 18-19, 2000; August 16-18, 2000; October 18-20, 2000
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - January 10, 2001
  • draft guidelines - June 17, 2002
  • public hearing - October 8, 2002
  • notice of availability of second set of draft guidelines - November 23, 2005
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 26, 2011
  • information meeting on shared use paths - September 13, 2010
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking on shared use paths - March 28, 2011
  • supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on shared use paths - February 14, 2013

Emergency Transportable Housing.  A federal advisory committee on emergency transportable housing was created to provide recommendations on supplementing our guidelines to specifically cover emergency transportable housing.  Access to such housing proved problematic in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and, after verifying and examining the issues involved, the Board determined that supplementary guidelines was needed.  The committee included representation from disability groups, industry and code groups, and government agencies.  The committee presented its report with its recommendations to the Board in November 2008.  We published a proposed rule in June 2012; the comment period closed in August 2012.  One public hearing was held in July 2012.  At the close of the comment period, we had received 45 comments, including those from the public hearing. The Board approved a final rule in January 2014; it will be sent soon to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - June 25, 2007
  • notice establishing advisory committee - August 23, 2007
  • full committee meetings: September 24-25, 2007; November 19-20, 2007; January 24-25, 2008; February 14, 2008; March 27-28, 2008; July 9, 2008; July 24, 2008; August 21, 2008
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - November 18, 2008
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - June 18, 2012
  • public hearing - July 11, 2012

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles.  In April 2007, the Board released for public comment a preliminary draft of revisions updating its accessibility guidelines for buses and vans covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  We received approximately 90 comments.  The Board used this input to refine the draft and published a second draft in November 2008 for additional comment.  An NPRM to revise and update the accessibility guidelines for buses, over-the-road buses, and vans was published in July 2010.  Two public hearings were held during the comment period.  One important issue was raised after the close of the comment period.  As a result, the Board re-opened the comment period for additional public input related to the late comments.  The commenters raised issues about the 1:6 ramp slope requirements and a new design that locates the shallower ramp partially inside the vehicle.  This design constrains the maneuvering space within the vehicle at the top of the ramp and at the fare box and creates a grade break within the ramp run.  During the extended comment period which ended in October 2102, we held two information meetings to gather input on these issues.  We plan to issue a final rule on the majority of issues raised in the proposed rule and issue a new proposed rule in the future on the remaining issues.

In May 2013, we created a new federal advisory committee to develop recommendations that the Board can use to update its rail vehicle guidelines which were originally issued in 1991. 

  • draft guidelines for buses and vans - April 11, 2007
  • second draft of guidelines for buses and vans - November 19, 2008
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 26, 2010
  • public hearings - September 30, 2010; November 8, 2010
  • re-opening of comment period - August 20, 2012
  • public hearings - September 19, 2012; October 2, 2012
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - February 14, 2013
  • notice establishing advisory committee - May 23, 2013
  • full committee meetings: November 13-14, 2013; January 9-10, 2014

Information Communications Technology.  In July 2006, the Board created an advisory committee to update and revise the Section 508 standards and the Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines.  Forty-one organizations served on the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee.  The committee’s membership included representatives from industry, disability groups, standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, and government agencies, among others.  The committee completed its work and presented its report to the Board in April 2008.  In March 2010, the Board published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and held two public hearings during the comment period.  In response to this input, the Board published a second ANPRM in December 2011.  Two hearings were held.  The Board approved a proposed rule in February 2014; it will be sent soon to OMB for review.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - April 18, 2006
  • notice establishing advisory committee - July 6, 2006
  • full committee meetings: September 27-29, 2006; November 7-8, 2006; February 6-8, 2007; May 22-24, 2007; July 16-18, 2007; September 4-6, 2007; November 13-16, 2007
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - April 3, 2008
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - March 22, 2010
  • public hearings - March 25, 2010; May 12, 2010
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - December 8, 2011
  • public hearings - January 11, 2012; March 1, 2012

Self-Service Transaction Machines.  The Departments of Justice and Transportation (DOT) have related rulemakings on self-service transaction machines.  As a result, we have worked collaboratively with them to develop a single set of technical requirements that can be referenced and scoped by each participating agency.  On November 12, 2013 DOT published its rule on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel: Accessibility of Web Sites and Automated Kiosks at U.S. Airports.  The DOT requirements for automated kiosks at U.S. airports are derived from the technical requirements we helped develop and are consistent with our requirements for automatic teller machines and fare machines, as well as the current requirements of section 508 for self-contained, closed products.  In 2010, DOJ published an ANPRM on Equipment and Furniture that would cover kiosks, interactive transaction machines, and point-of-sale devices, among other things.

Classroom Acoustics.  The Board was petitioned in 1997 to include classroom acoustics provisions in revisions then underway to ADAAG; lack of notice precluded this.  Instead, in 1998 the Board published a Request for Information that was strongly supported in comment by parents and by audiology and acoustics professionals.  Opposition was largely based upon assumed cost increases when weighed against undemonstrated efficacy.  The Board has worked hard to resolve these issues.

Instead of pursuing rulemaking at the time, the Board participated in the development of a voluntary consensus standard on the topic.  In 2002 the ANSI/ASA S12.60 Classroom Acoustics Standard was finalized.  However, the standard is voluntary until it is required to be complied with.  In 2009 the Board worked to revise the standard to make it easier to reference in the International Building Code to make the voluntary standard mandatory.

Revisions to the ANSI/ASA S12.60 Classroom Acoustics Standard were finalized in late April 2010 and the standard was approved by ANSI immediately thereafter.  The Board then sought to have the new standard adopted by the International Code Council (ICC) so that it would be a required part of the International Building Code.  However, the Board’s proposal was not supported at the ICC meetings in mid-May.  Therefore, at its July 2010 meeting, the Board approved a motion to go forward with rulemaking under the ADA and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) to reference the ANSI/ASA standard for new classroom construction and for alterations of significant scope.

  • request for information - June 1, 1998

Medical Diagnostic Equipment.  The Access Board is developing accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment, including examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological equipment, and mammography equipment.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires the Board to issue these standards in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration.  The standards are to address independent access to, and use of, equipment by people with disabilities to the maximum extent possible.

On July 29, 2010, the Board held a public information meeting on this rulemaking to gather information from stakeholders with an interest in the new standards.  A proposed rule was published in February 2012 and two public hearings were held.  The comment period closed in June 2012; 53 comments were received. In March 2012, the Board created a 24-member Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards federal advisory committee to advise the Board on matters associated with the comments the Board received and information it requested in proposing the standards.  The committee completed its work and presented its report to the Board in July 2013.

  • information meeting - July 29, 2010
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - February 9, 2012
  • public hearings - March 14, 2012; May 8, 2012
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - March 13, 2012
  • notice establishing advisory committee - July 5, 2012
  • full committee meetings: September 27-28, 2012; December 3-4, 2012; January 22-23, 2013; February 26-27, 2013; March 26-27, 2013; May 7-8, 2013; June 17, 2013
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - July 10, 2013
  • committee report completed - December 6, 2013

Completed Access Board Rulemakings

March 2014

ADAAG Revision and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines.  This rulemaking makes revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), updates the Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design (MGRAD) for federal facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), and creates new guidelines for accessible housing.

The rulemaking consists of separate scoping and application sections for each law and one set of technical requirements for both the ADA and the ABA.  The ADA scoping section is based on recommendations of the Board’s ADAAG Review Advisory Committee and covers private facilities (places of public accommodation and commercial facilities) and state and local government facilities.  The other scoping section addresses federally funded facilities covered by the ABA.  New scoping and technical provisions for accessible housing are included in this rule and are based on requirements for “Type A” dwelling units contained in the 1998 edition of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard, “Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.”

The Board established a 22-member ADAAG Review Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations for updating ADAAG to ensure that it remains consistent with technological developments and changes in model codes and national standards and continues to meet the needs of people with disabilities.  The committee developed a comprehensive set of recommendations for changes to sections 1-10 of ADAAG.  The recommendations address the format of the guidelines, its numbering system, and changes to the scoping provisions and technical requirements.  Cited as an outstanding example of reinventing government, the committee and the Board received the Vice Presidential Hammer Award in July 1996. 

The Board issued a proposed rule in November 1999.  The comment period closed on May 15, 2000.  Over 2,500 comments were received on the proposed rule.  The Board held two public hearings on the proposed rule.  One hearing was held in Los Angeles, CA on January 31, 2000; the second hearing was held in Arlington, VA on March 13, 2000.  The Board also held informational meetings in Washington, DC in October 2000 to hear from industry associations and disability groups on issues regarding automated teller machines, reach ranges, and captioning equipment for movie theaters.  The Board required further information on these issues before deciding on how they will be addressed in the final rule.  On April 2, 2002, the Board placed in the docket for public review a draft of the final guidelines to promote the harmonization of the Board’s guidelines with the International Code Council (ICC)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities and the International Building Code.  The ANSI Committee and the ICC are currently in the process of revising the private sector accessibility provisions.  Without taking this step, an important opportunity would have been missed to harmonize the Board’s guidelines with those of the private sector.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - April 6, 1994
  • notice establishing advisory committee - September 14, 1994
  • full committee meetings: October 24-25, 1994; January 26-27, 1995; April 26-29, 1995; February 26 - March 1, 1996; July 7-9, 1996; August 26-28, 1996  (numerous subcommittee meetings were also held)
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - July 10, 1996
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - November 16, 1999
  • public hearing - January 31, 2000; March 13, 2000
  • information meeting - October 24-25, 2000
  • draft final rule - April 2, 2002
  • final rule - July 23, 2004
  • U.S. Postal Service adopted guidelines - May 17, 2005
  • General Services Administration adopted guidelines - November 8, 2005
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - October 30, 2006
  • Department of Defense adopted guidelines - October 31, 2008
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - September 15, 2010

ADAAG for Buildings and Facilities (Sections 1-9).  ADAAG initially consisted of nine sections.  Sections 1 through 4 contain general sections, scoping provisions, and technical specifications applicable to all types of buildings and facilities.  The scoping provisions specify which and how many elements and spaces of a building or facility must be accessible (e.g., parking spaces, entrances, toilet rooms).  The technical specifications describe how to design the elements and spaces covered by the scoping provisions so that they are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  Sections 5 through 9 contain additional scoping provisions and technical specifications for the following facilities: restaurants and cafeterias (section 5); medical care facilities (section 6); mercantile establishments (section 7); libraries (section 8); and hotels, motels, and transient lodging (section 9).  The Department of Justice adopted ADAAG sections 1 through 9 on July 26, 1991 as the standard for accessible design in its regulations for title III of the ADA.

  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - August 31, 1990
  • public hearings - February 11, 1991 through March 7, 1991
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - January 22, 1991
  • final rule - July 26, 1991
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 26, 1991
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 6, 1991

ADAAG for Transportation Facilities (Section 10).  This rulemaking added section 10 to ADAAG which contains additional scoping provisions and technical specifications for transportation facilities.

  • supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking - March 20, 1991
  • final rule - September 6, 1991
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 6, 1991
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - January 18, 1994

State and Local Government Facilities (Sections 11-12).  This rulemaking added two special application sections to ADAAG for certain State and local government facilities covered by title II of the ADA.  The two sections are 11 — Judicial, Legislative, and Regulatory Facilities, and 12 — Detention and Correctional Facilities.  The rule also covers miscellaneous provisions that apply to State and local government facilities.

The Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking and conducted five public hearings on the proposed rule.  Following an analysis of the comments, the Board published an interim final rule asking for additional comments.  Provisions regarding accessible residential housing and public rights-of-way were proposed as part of the NPRM and the interim final rule.  However, no action was taken on either of these subjects in the final rule.  Provisions for accessible residential housing were proposed as part of the Board’s ADAAG Revision and ABA Accessibility Guidelines rulemaking.  The Board convened a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations on access to public rights-of-way.  The Board published the final rule on January 13, 1998.

  • notice of proposed rulemaking - December 21, 1992
  • public hearings - February 22, 1993 (two hearings); March 2, 1993; March 9, 1993; March 15, 1993
  • interim final rule - June 20, 1994
  • final rule - January 13, 1998
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

Automated Teller Machines.  In response to a petition for rulemaking, on July 15, 1993, the Board issued a joint final rule with the Department of Transportation amending the reach range requirements for accessible automated teller machines and fare vending machines.  The Department of Justice adopted the amended requirements on January 18, 1994.

  • notice requesting public comment on petition for rulemaking - May 6, 1992
  • public hearing - May 28, 1992
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - September 8, 1992
  • final rule - July 15, 1993
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - July 15, 1993
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - January 18, 1994

Children’s Elements.  This rulemaking added provisions to ADAAG for building elements designed for children’s use.  The Board published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in February 1993 seeking comment on general issues, such as the scope of the guidelines and the ages or grades that should be covered.  Following an analysis of the comments, the Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking in July 1996.  The Board published the final rule on January 13, 1998.

  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - February 3, 1993
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 22, 1996
  • final rule - January 13, 1998
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

Play Areas.  The Board convened a 27-member advisory committee to make recommendations on issues related to making various recreation areas accessible.  The committee met from July 1993 - May 1994.  Some issues remained where consensus was needed for play areas including the extent to which an accessible surface is provided in an exterior play area and what the specific requirements for accessible play equipment should be.

The Board created a 17-member Play Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee to achieve consensus requirements for access to play areas.  The committee presented its consensus report to the Board in July 1997.  At the same meeting, the Board approved an NPRM on access to play areas.  The Board published the NPRM in April 1998 and held one public hearing in Denver, CO to receive additional feedback during the comment period.  The final rule was published on October 18, 2000.  On November 20, 2000 the Board published an amended advisory note to the accessibility guidelines for play areas in the Federal Register.  The amended advisory note clarifies that play components that are attached to a composite play structure and can be approached from a platform or deck are elevated play components.  These play components are not considered ground level play components also, and do not count toward meeting the number of ground level play components that must be located on an accessible route.

  • notice of intent to establish regulatory negotiation committee - December 22, 1995
  • notice establishing regulatory negotiation committee - February 14, 1996
  • full committee meetings: March 5-7, 1996; May 8-10, 1996; August 4-6, 1996; October 26-28; January 6-9, 1997; April 2-4, 1997; July 8-9, 1997
  • committee presented report to the Board - July 9, 1997
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - April 30, 1998
  • public hearing - June 3, 1998
  • final rule - October 18, 2000
  • amended advisory note - November 20, 2000
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

Recreation Facilities.  This rulemaking addresses recreation facilities including sports facilities, places of amusement, golf, and boating and fishing facilities.  The Board convened a 27-member advisory committee to make recommendations on issues related to making these areas accessible.  The committee met from July 1993 - May 1994.  After receiving the committee’s report, the Board published it as an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).  Over 600 comments were received on the report and questions asked in the ANPRM.  The Board also sponsored an information meeting on access to miniature golf facilities in September 1996 to obtain additional information on some issues related to access to miniature golf courses.

The Board published an NPRM for sports facilities, places of amusement, golf, and boating and fishing facilities in July 1999 and held two public hearings to receive feedback during the comment period.  The NPRM was based on the recommendations of the advisory committee and public comments received in response to the ANPRM and information meeting.  The comment period closed on December 8, 1999.  Over 300 comments were received on the proposed rule.  The Board also sponsored an information meeting on access to amusement rides in December 1999 to clarify concerns raised by the amusement industry during the public comment period.

In an effort to provide the public with more opportunities for input into the provisions for a final rule, in July 2000, the Board placed in the docket for review and comment, a summary of recommendations made by an ad hoc committee of the Access Board for the final recreation facilities guidelines.  The summary reflected the ad hoc committee’s consideration of comments on the proposed rule and information gathered at meetings sponsored by the committee.  The Board held two informational meetings in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA to discuss the summary.  On September 3, 2002, the Board issued a final rule.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - February 3, 1993
  • notice establishing advisory committee - June 10, 1993
  • full committee meetings: July 15-16, 1993; October 23-25, 1993; January 28-30, 1994; March 18-20, 1994; May 20-22, 1994 (numerous
  • subcommittee meetings were also held)
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - July 13, 1994
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - September 21, 1994
  • information meeting on miniature golf facilities - September 16, 1996
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 9, 1999
  • information meeting on amusement rides - December 1, 1999
  • public hearing - August 26, 1999; November 17, 1999
  • notice of draft final guidelines summary and informational meetings - July 21, 2000
  • information meetings - August 21-22, 2000; September 6-7, 2000
  • final rule - September 3, 2002
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

Detectable Warnings Temporary Suspension.  In response to a petition for rulemaking, in 1994 the Board, DOJ, and DOT suspended temporarily until July 26, 1996, the requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools so that a research project on this subject could be considered in determining whether any changes in the requirements are warranted.  The research showed that intersections are complex environments and that blind and visually impaired travelers use a combination of cues to detect and cross intersections.  Although detectable warnings helped these individuals locate and identify curb ramps and provided a useful cue, the research suggested that detectable warnings may be redundant at most intersections.  Other technologies may be as effective and less costly.

In March and April 1995, the Board received petitions from two transit agencies and an organization of blind persons to review the requirements for detectable warnings at transit platform edges.  The Board’s ADAAG Review Advisory Committee also considered the requirements for detectable warnings within the context of the committee’s complete review of ADAAG provisions.  The committee recommended that the requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools that are currently suspended be eliminated.  The committee recommended requiring detectable warnings at platform edges in transit stations, and allowing an “equivalent tactile surface,” and “equivalent detectability.”  Since any amendment to the detectable warning requirements will be done as part of the scheduled review and update of ADAAG, in July 1996, the Board, DOJ, and DOT published a final rule to extend the temporary suspension until July 26, 1998 to allow the ADAAG revision process to be completed.  Because the ADAAG revision rulemaking was not completed by July 1998, the temporary suspension was continued until July 26, 2001.

  • proposed rule to temporarily suspend the requirements - July 9, 1993
  • final rule to temporarily suspend the requirements - April 12, 1994
  • proposed rule to extend the temporary suspension - April 12, 1996
  • final rule to extend the temporary suspension - July 29, 1996
  • proposed rule to extend the temporary suspension - June 1, 1998
  • final rule to extend the temporary suspension - November 23, 1998

ADAAG for Transportation Vehicles.  A separate ADAAG was issued for transportation vehicles which covers the following vehicles and systems: buses and vans, rapid rail vehicles, light rail vehicles, commuter rail cars, intercity rail cars, over-the-road buses, automated guideway transit vehicles, high-speed rail cars, monorails, and trams and similar vehicles.  The Department of Transportation adopted ADAAG for transportation vehicles on September 6, 1991 as the standard for accessible design in its ADA regulations.

  • notice of proposed rulemaking - March 20, 1991
  • final rule - September 6, 1991
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 6, 1991

Over-the-Road Buses.  The ADA requires the Board and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue guidelines and regulations for access to over-the-road buses.  The Board and DOT co-sponsored an information meeting on over-the-road bus issues and in March 1998, the Board published an NPRM to amend the technical provisions for over-the-road buses to include provisions for wheelchair access and other miscellaneous provisions.  The Department of Transportation also published an NPRM on accessible over-the-road bus service.  After reviewing the comments received in response to the NPRM, the Board issued final guidelines which include technical provisions for lifts, ramps, wheelchair securement devices, moveable aisle armrests, and revisions to specifications for doors and lighting.  The Department of Transportation adopted the Board’s guidelines on September 28, 1998 as the standard for accessible design in its ADA regulations.

  • information meeting - October 21, 1993
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - March 25, 1998
  • final rule - September 28, 1998
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 28, 1998

Telecommunications Equipment.  The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the Board to issue accessibility guidelines, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission, for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment.  The Board is also required to review and update the guidelines periodically.  The Board convened a 33-member Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee to assist the Board in fulfilling its mandate to issue these guidelines.  The committee presented its recommendations to the Board in January 1997.  Based on the committee’s recommendations, the Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking in April 1997.  The Board published a final rule on February 3, 1998.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - March 28, 1996
  • notice establishing advisory committee - May 24, 1996
  • full committee meetings: June 10‑12, 1996; August 14-16, 1996; September 25-27, 1996; November 6-8, 1996; December 16-18, 1996; January 13-14, 1997
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - January 15, 1997
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - April 18, 1997
  • final rule - February 3, 1998
  • Federal Communications Commission adopted guidelines - November 19, 1999

Electronic and Information Technology.  On August 7, 1998 the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which includes the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, was signed into law.  Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments requires that when federal departments or agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, they shall ensure that the technology is accessible to people with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency.

Section 508 required the Board to publish standards setting forth a definition of electronic and information technology and the technical and functional performance criteria for such technology.  The Board and the General Services Administration are required to provide technical assistance to individuals and federal departments and agencies concerning the requirements of section 508.

In developing its standards, the Board was required to consult with various federal agencies, the electronic and information technology industry, and appropriate public or nonprofit agencies or organizations, including organizations representing individuals with disabilities.  The Board is also required to periodically review and, as appropriate, amend the standards to reflect technological advances or changes in electronic and information technology.  The Board convened a 27-member Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee to assist it in developing its standards.  The Committee presented its report with recommendations to the Board in May 1999.  The Board issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on access to electronic and information technology in March 2000.  A final rule was published on December 21, 2000.  On April 25, 2001, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council incorporated the Board’s standards into revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - August 24, 1998
  • notice establishing advisory committee - September 29, 1998
  • full committee meetings: October 15-16, 1998; December 1-2, 1998; January 5-6, 1999; February 8-9, 1999; March 29-30, 1999; May 11-12, 1999
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - May 12, 1999
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - March 31, 2000
  • final rule - December 21, 2000
  • Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council incorporated the Board’s standards into revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations - April 25, 2001

Outdoor Developed Areas.  The Board created a 26-member Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee to achieve a consensus approach and requirements for making outdoor developed areas accessible.  The Committee presented its report to the Board in September 1999.  In October 2001 the Board sponsored an information meeting on the final report on Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas.  The meeting was attended by about 50 individuals and was held in Denver, CO during the annual meeting of the National Recreation and Park Association.  The meeting was informal and provided an opportunity for a dialogue with Board members about the report.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for federal facilities covered by the Architectural Barriers Act was published in June 2007.  The Board held three public hearings on the proposed guidelines in Denver, CO; Washington, DC; and Indianapolis, IN (in conjunction with the National Recreation and Park Association’s annual congress).  In October 2009 the Board released draft final guidelines for public comment.  Approximately 80 comments were received.  A final rule was published on September 26, 2013. Proposed guidelines for non-federal sites will be published for comment at a future date.

  • notice of intent to establish regulatory negotiation committee - April 18, 1997
  • notice establishing regulatory negotiation committee - June 4, 1997
  • full committee meetings: June 26-27, 1997; September 24-26, 1997; December 14-16, 1997; January 31-February 2, 1998; May 18-21, 1998; August 11-14, 1998; October 21-24, 1998; January 19‑22, 1999; April 27-30, 1999; July 15-16, 1999
  • committee presented report to the Board - September 15, 1999
  • information meeting - October 4, 2001
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - June 20, 2007
  • draft final rule - October 19, 2009
  • final rule - September 26, 2013