The Access Board is an independent federal agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards. Created in 1973 to ensure access to federally funded facilities, the Access Board is now a leading source of information on accessible design. The Access Board develops and maintains design criteria for the built environment, transit vehicles, public right-of-way, information and communication technology, and medical diagnostic equipment under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and other laws. It also provides technical assistance and training on these requirements and on accessible design, and continues to enforce accessibility standards that apply to federally funded facilities under the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA).
The Access Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among federal agencies and directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Its governing board is a twenty-five member board. Twelve of its governing board members are representatives from most of the federal departments. Thirteen others, who are appointed by the President, are members of the public, and most of them must have a disability. The Access Board also employs approximately thirty staff across four units: Office of Executive Director, Office of Administration, Office of General Counsel, and Office of Technical and Information Services.