Educate About Accessibility

The Board provides technical assistance to a wide variety of people regarding the accessibility guidelines and standards it issues.  The Board’s customers include architects, builders, designers, manufacturers, people with disabilities, State and local governments, and federal agencies.  The Board’s technical assistance program has four components:

  • Responding to customer inquiries.  The Board responds to about 13,000 customer inquiries each year.  We have toll-free telephone lines for customers to call with questions.  Customers also e-mail and occasionally fax us questions.  Many literally are sitting at a drawing table or computer with a design problem.  They want accurate, reliable, and timely advice.  Our customers value being able to discuss their questions directly with our accessibility specialists who developed the guidelines and standards.
  • Developing and disseminating bulletins, manuals, and other publications.  The Board maintains about 30 publications on accessibility issues.  These range from short bulletins responding to frequently asked questions about specific issues such as accessible parking, to manuals on the Board’s guidelines and standards.
  • Providing training.  The Board conducts about 90 training sessions each year.  Training usually is provided at conferences and seminars sponsored by other organizations.  Training sponsors generally reimburse us for travel expenses.
  • Maintaining the Board’s website.  The Board’s website (www.access-board.gov) has become a very effective way to distribute information to the public.  Customers can download our publications and view our accessibility guidelines and standards from our website.

We have the following two objectives in this program area:

  • Broaden education and outreach efforts.
  • Use new technologies to deliver training and guidance.

The Board’s long-range goal is to be known as the leading source of information about accessibility and to disseminate information to our customers in effective ways.  As we develop guidelines for new areas such as passenger vessels, public rights-of-ways, and emergency transportable housing, there will be increased demands for technical assistance from existing and new customer groups.  The Board has informal partnerships with organizations such as the National Association of ADA Coordinators and the ten Regional ADA National Network Centers to disseminate information about the Board’s programs.  Many of the Board’s guidelines, standards, and publications are available through these organizations’ on-line networks.  The Board also provides training for these organizations.  As we develop new guidelines and standards, there will be opportunities to use existing partnerships and establish new partnerships with customer groups to disseminate information about the Board’s rulemaking.

FY 2013 Results

The Board is developing an online guide on the ADA and ABA standards that will consist of illustrated technical bulletins covering all sections of the guidelines and a supplementary series of short animations that will dynamically explain various requirements and the rationale behind them.  Complete drafts of technical bulletins covering Chapters 1-3 of the ADA and ABA standards along with illustrations and four animations on bathing facilities, wheelchair maneuvering, doors, and toilet rooms were distributed to Board members and federal liaisons for review in FY 2013.

We continue to offer our very successful monthly webinar series through a partnership with the National Network of ADA Centers.  Sessions are conducted on a monthly basis with most scheduled for 90 minutes.  Sessions also provide an opportunity to earn continuing education credits for a fee, but general attendance is free.  In 2013 we expanded our webinar series by adding an additional six webinars per year on section 508 issues in conjunction with the Chief Information Officers Council Accessibility Community of Practice and eFedLink.

We redesigned our website and implemented a content management system to aid in the ability to more easily update the site on a regular basis.  We unveiled the new website in July 2013.  Our last redesign was in June 2005.

The Board responded to 13,575 customer inquiries, distributed 1,240 information packets, and conducted 85 training sessions that were attended by approximately 7,865 people.  An information packet usually contains several publications.  Since we do not collect data on publications disseminated through partner organizations, the actual number of publications disseminated to our customers is greater than our current data indicate.

We have used our website to provide copies of the Board’s guidelines and standards and answers to frequently asked questions so that more customers can get the information they need.  The usage of our website continues to grow.  There were approximately 3.8 million user sessions and 51 million “hits”. We also distributed six issues of Access Currents, a free newsletter the Board issues every other month by e-mail.

FY 2014 Planned Activities

Online Guide, Webinars, and Website

In March 2014, we plan to release the first installment of our online guide on the ADA and ABA standards.  This first portion will consist of illustrated technical bulletins covering Chapters 1-3 of the ADA and ABA standards and a supplementary series of short animations that will dynamically explain various requirements and the rationale behind them.  Additional materials on the remaining chapters will be released as they become available.  During FY 2014 we will draft content and illustrations for technical guides covering Chapters 4 and 5 of the standards.

We will continue to offer our very successful monthly webinar series.  Sessions in 2014 are planned on Accessible Routes on Sites and an Open Question and Answer session.  We will also continue our webinar series on section 508 issues with the Chief Information Officers Council Accessibility Community of Practice and eFedLink.

We are developing a technical assistance guide to accompany the September 2013 final rule on Outdoor Developed Areas.  The guide is being developed in partnership with the Missoula Technology and Development Center (part of the U.S. Forest Service).  We expect to post the technical assistance guide on our website in May 2014.

Technical Assistance and Research Projects

The following research and technical assistance projects are planned for FY 2014:

  • Ramp slope and maneuvering space requirements in transit vehicles (phase one)
  • Regulatory assessments.  We will fund regulatory assessments for the following rules: Medical Diagnostic Equipment (final), Passenger Vessels (final), and Self-service Transaction Machines (proposed)

FY 2015 Objectives

We will develop training and technical assistance materials on final rules.  As we publish final rules, we make every effort to ensure that training and technical assistance materials are available to organizations and individuals that must apply the new requirements.  The Board will continue to improve its website including releasing additional modules for the web-based guide on the ADA and ABA standards.

The following research and technical assistance projects are planned for FY 2015:

  • Ramp slope and maneuvering space requirements in transit vehicles (phase two)
  • Regulatory assessments.  We will fund regulatory assessments for the following rules: Transportation Vehicles: bus (maneuvering space and ramp issues) (proposed), Transportation Vehicles: rail (proposed), Information and Communications Technology (final), and Self-service Transaction Machines (final)