Access Board Rulemaking

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and several other laws, the Access Board develops guidelines and standards for the built environment, transportation systems, information and communication technologies, and medical diagnostic equipment.  These include the:

  • ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities
  • ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles
  • Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines
  • Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (Section 508)
  • Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines
  • Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards


How the Board Develops Guidelines and Standards

In developing its guidelines and standards, the Board follows a process common to most federal regulations that provides the public an opportunity for comment. It has become standard practice for the Board to organize an advisory committee or regulatory negotiation committee as part of this process.  Such committees allow stakeholders and interested parties to develop consensus recommendations on the substance of a rule.  Board rules must be cleared by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in proposed and final form before they can be published.  OMB usually is allotted 90 days to complete its review.  The Board also must prepare a regulatory assessment that estimates the costs and other impacts of a rule.  

These are the typical steps of a Board rulemaking:

  1. Create an advisory committee to develop consensus recommendations on the rule;
  2. Draft a proposed rule based on the committee’s recommendations and a preliminary regulatory assessment and submit to OMB for clearance;
  3. Publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public comment; hold public hearings during the comment period (usually 90 – 120 days);
  4. Review public comments and revise the rule accordingly;
  5. Submit the final rule and regulatory assessment to OMB for clearance;
  6. Publish the final rule in the Federal Register.


Rulemaking History

Final guidelines and standards issued by the Board include:

  • August 4, 1982 - Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design (the basis for the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards)
  • July 26, 1991 – ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Buildings and Facilities
  • September 6, 1991 – ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Facilities
  • September 6, 1991 – ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles
  • January 13, 1998 – ADAAG Supplement for State and Local Government Facilities
  • January 13, 1998 – ADAAG Supplement for Building Elements Designed for Children’s Use
  • February 3, 1998 – Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines
  • September 28, 1998 - Over-the-Road Buses
  • October 18, 2000 – ADAAG Supplement for Play Areas
  • December 21, 2000 –  Section 508 Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards
  • September 3, 2002 – ADAAG Supplement for Recreation Facilities
  • July 23, 2004 – Updated ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines
  • September 26, 2013 - Supplement to the ABA Accessibility Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas


Advisory and Regulatory Negotiation Committees

In the course of its rulemaking activities, the Board has organized these advisory or regulatory negotiation committees:

  • Recreation Access Advisory Committee (1993 - 1994)
  • ADAAG Review Advisory Committee (1994 - 1996)
  • Play Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee (1996 - 1997)
  • Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee (1996 - 1997)
  • Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee (1997 - 1999)
  • Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee (1998 - 1999)
  • Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee (1998 - 2000)
  • Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee (1999 - 2001)
  • Courthouse Accessibility Advisory Committee (2004 - 2006)
  • Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (2006 - 2008)
  • Emergency Transportable Housing Advisory Committee (2007 - 2008)
  • Passenger Vessels Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee (2007 - 2008)
  • Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee (2012 - 2013)
  • Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee (2013 -  )