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About the U.S. Access Board

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Justification

Submitted to:
United States House & Senate Appropriations Committees
Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

May 2021

Contents


Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Justification

This document presents the Access Board’s budget justification for fiscal year (FY) 2022. We are requesting a total budget authority of $9,750,000 (see Appendix A).

Introduction

The Access Board was established in 1973 under section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act and is the only federal agency whose primary mission is accessibility for people with disabilities. The Board is responsible for developing guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), and the Communications Act for ensuring that buildings and facilities, transportation vehicles, and telecommunications equipment covered by these laws are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. We are also responsible for developing standards under the Rehabilitation Act for accessible information and communication technology procured by federal agencies and establishing standards for accessible medical diagnostic equipment.

Under the Help America Vote Act, the Access Board serves on the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Board of Advisors and Technical Guidelines Development Committee, which assist the EAC in developing voluntary guidelines for voting systems, including accessibility for people with disabilities. In addition, under the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, we developed best practices on providing accessible information on prescription drug container labels for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

In October 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act was signed into law. A provision in the law requires the Access Board to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems and if feasible, the ways in which individuals with significant disabilities using wheelchairs, including power wheelchairs, can be accommodated with those systems.

The Access Board enforces and ensures compliance with the ABA and provides training and technical assistance on all its guidelines and standards, and on a variety of other accessibility issues. Additionally, we maintain a research program that develops technical assistance materials and provides information needed for rulemaking.

Our programs will result in accessible buildings and facilities, transportation vehicles, medical diagnostic equipment, telecommunications equipment, and information and communication technology across our country and, ultimately, the full economic and social integration of people with disabilities into our society. Achieving these results will depend not only on our activities, but also on the level of commitment and action taken by other federal agencies, State and local governments, and businesses that are required to comply with or enforce the various laws that guarantee the civil rights of people with disabilities.

The Access Board’s strategic plan includes a vision statement (advancing accessibility and inclusion for all) and a mission statement (promote accessibility through standards and guidelines, education, enforcement, and outreach). The plan includes four goals:

  • Establish state-of-the-art accessibility standards and guidelines
  • Provide training and technical assistance on accessibility
  • Increase Architectural Barriers Act awareness and compliance
  • Expand awareness of the Access Board’s functions and objectives

We established long and short-range goals and annual objectives that describe the strategies we will implement to achieve the goals. In developing objectives and strategies for achieving our goals, we seek to work together with our stakeholders toward common objectives. Our plan is simple: establish guidelines and standards that are fair, reasonable, and derived from broad consensus among stakeholders; where the Access Board has enforcement responsibilities over federal agencies, assist those agencies to achieve full compliance; and involve our stakeholders in developing and disseminating materials and manuals that will help them understand and comply with our guidelines and standards.

Establish State-of-the-Art Accessibility Standards and Guidelines

We will continue to develop and update accessibility guidelines and standards and work cooperatively with organizations that develop codes and standards affecting accessibility. We have the following objectives for this program area:

  • Maximize public participation and stakeholder collaboration in the development of standards and guidelines
  • Anticipate and respond to emerging barriers to accessibility in a changing environment
  • Develop and maintain accessibility standards and guidelines, and keep them up to date
  • Promote accessibility through coordination with standards and codes organizations and harmonization of accessibility requirements

FY 2020 Results — Rulemaking

A summary of recently completed and ongoing standards and guidelines activities is presented below.

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles — Update (rail vehicles)

The Access Board’s existing accessibility guidelines for ADA-covered rail vehicles (e.g., subway, commuter rail, inter-city rail vehicles) were issued in 1991 and have not been subsequently modified or updated. These guidelines are thus in need of a “refresh” to keep pace with newer technologies, changes in rail vehicle design, and incorporate more recently developed national and international consensus standards.

In February 2020, we published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to initiate the regulatory process for potentially updating our accessibility guidelines for rail vehicles. This notice served several purposes. First, this notice informed the public that we were considering updates to our existing guidelines. Secondly, we noted our potential reliance on recommendations from the Access-Board sponsored Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee for proposed, updated accessibility requirements and sought feedback on this approach, including potential impacts on vehicle design, operations, and costs. Lastly, we also sought information on economic data concerning costs and/or benefits of accessible rail vehicles, as well as emerging designs or technologies that improve rail vehicle accessibility.

The public comment period on the Rail Vehicle ANPRM closed in mid-July 2020. We received over 200 public comments in response to this notice. As the fiscal year ends, we are in the process of evaluating and analyzing these comments. We will use information provided by commenters to help frame a future proposed rule.

Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines

The public rights-of-way guidelines will cover pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, including crosswalks, curb ramps, street furnishings, pedestrian signals, on-street parking, shared use paths and other components of the public right-of-way and will consider various constraints posed by space limitations, roadway design practices, slope, and terrain.

The rulemaking began in October 1999 when we created a 31-member federal advisory committee. The committee presented its report in January 2001. In June 2002, we released for public comment draft guidelines based on the committee’s recommendations and then in November 2005, we revised the draft guidelines based on public comments on the initial draft. This action was done to assist us in preparing a regulatory assessment of the impacts of the rule. A proposed rule was published for public comment in July 2011.

On a separate track, we initiated rulemaking to cover shared use paths (paths designed to serve both bicyclists and pedestrians and used for transportation and recreation purposes). We published an ANPRM in March 2011 and then in February 2013, we published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to include requirements for shared use paths as part of the public rights-of-way rule. The next step for this rulemaking is a final rule. The Board is evaluating the timing of the final rule while considering the impacts of Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”.

On a separate track, we initiated rulemaking to cover shared use paths (paths designed to serve both bicyclists and pedestrians and used for transportation and recreation purposes). We published an ANPRM in March 2011 and then in February 2013, we published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to include requirements for shared use paths as part of the public rights-of-way rule. The Board suspended work on this rule in 2017 in light of the requirements of Executive Order 13777 Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, which was rescinded earlier this year. The next step for this rulemaking is a final rule, planned for FY 2022.

Advisory Guidelines for Onboard Wheelchairs

While the Board did not pursue any major rulemaking activities this year, we had several smaller regulatory projects. These included working with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council on revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to incorporate the Board’s revised 508 Standards. The law requires that not later than 6 months after the Access Board revises its standards, the FAR Council shall revise the FAR and each appropriate Federal department or agency shall revise the procurement policies and directives, as necessary, to incorporate the revisions. Our work this year included responding to several highly technical inquiries from the FAR Council and providing comments on multiple sets of their draft rulemaking documents. The FAR Council’s proposed rule has been cleared by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and should be published in the Federal Register in February 2020.

In August 2019, the Board released for public comment advisory guidelines for wheelchairs used on commercial passenger aircraft during flight. These onboard wheelchairs are provided by air carriers as a means of facilitating the transfer of passengers with disabilities to aircraft lavatories since personal wheelchairs cannot currently be used in the cabin. DOT has proposed to supplement its regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act to include an enhanced mandatory performance standard for onboard wheelchairs on single-aisle aircraft and asked the Access Board to prepare technical assistance for the design of these onboard wheelchairs. We developed these proposed non-binding guidelines as technical assistance to air carriers and manufacturers of onboard wheelchairs by providing an example of how to meet DOT’s proposed performance standards.

The inability to use one’s wheelchair on airplanes makes air travel very difficult, if not impossible, for many people with disabilities. Multiple transfers are required between boarding chairs and aircraft seats, posing injury risks. Airline seats are a poor alternative to personal wheelchairs which are typically customized for the user’s safety, comfort, and specific medical needs. Further, passengers’ wheelchairs are usually stowed in the cargo hold and often damaged, mishandled, or lost as a result. To address these challenges, the recent reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration directed the Access Board to assess the feasibility of equipping aircraft with restraint systems so that passengers can remain in their wheelchairs on flights.

We contracted with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to conduct the study. TRB has organized an expert panel that includes experts in aircraft manufacturing, aeronautics, aviation safety, accessibility, disability policy, airline operations, and other disciplines. A peer-reviewed report on the panel’s findings will be published at the conclusion of the project and submitted to Congress; the report is expected by October 2021.

The Access Board is developing voluntary, advisory guidelines for aircraft onboard wheelchairs (OBWAG) used on commercial passenger aircraft to aid the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the department’s separate regulatory initiative to improve access to air travel. DOT, as part of a negotiated rulemaking process, plans to supplement its regulations implementing the Air Carrier Access Act by specifying a performance standard calling for enhanced functionality of onboard wheelchairs relative to current requirements for such devices. (Commercial air carriers are currently required to provide onboard wheelchairs on all aircraft, which facilitate the transfer of passengers with disabilities to in-cabin bathrooms since personal wheelchairs cannot be used on these aircraft.) The Access Board’s OBWAG will specify technical specifications (e.g., dimensions, features, and capabilities) for onboard wheelchairs. The Access Board expects its non-binding guidelines to serve as technical assistance for air carriers and manufacturers by providing an illustrative technical approach for onboard wheelchairs which, if followed, would provide assurance of compliance with DOT’s forthcoming performance standard for onboard wheelchairs.

In FY 2020, the Access Board continued its efforts – which began in summer 2019 – aimed at development and publication of OBWAG. In mid-October 2019, the comment period closed on our “notice of invitation” for public comment on a draft set of advisory guidelines for onboard wheelchairs. (See 84 Fed. Reg. 43100). In this notice, the Board posed 46 questions about specific provisions in the draft guidelines, while also welcoming input on other aspects of this document. (The Access Board also garnered public input on its draft advisory guidelines by holding a public hearing in mid-September 2019.)

Since the close of public comment on the draft advisory guidelines, our efforts have been mostly “behind the scenes” to evaluate public comments and better understand relevant technical issues. Access Board staff analyzed the 40 or so comments received in response to our call for public input on the draft OBWAG, with comments having been submitted by individuals, manufacturers, designers, airline associations, academics, and disability rights organizations. Relatedly, following the close of the public comment period in spring 2020 on DOT’s proposed rule concerning enhanced requirements for accessible lavatories and onboard wheelchairs on commercial aircraft, we reviewed the nearly 340 comments received by DOT to cull those relating to onboard wheelchairs. We will determine the appropriate next steps for OBWAG finalization after evaluating pertinent comments to DOT’s proposed rule (along with those received in response to our prior notice of invitation) and gathering additional technical information, as needed.

Other Initiatives

In addition to the regulatory initiatives and ongoing standards-development work described above, the Access Board also pursued several other projects in FY 2020, which, though not falling neatly within a particular goal-related category, nonetheless broadly supported the agency’s overall mission of advancing accessibility and inclusion for all Americans. Several of these other initiatives are highlighted below.

First, the Access Board provided significant support to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) – by way of assistance on technical and cost-benefit matters related to the Access Board’s Revised 508 Standards (which were published in January 2017) – as the council works to update its Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to incorporate these revised standards, as the Rehabilitation Act requires. The FAR Council published a notice of proposed rulemaking in April 2020 and expects to publish a final rule in FY 2021.

Second, Access Board staff held a series of four (virtual) public forums to promote accessibility in the design of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in partnership with other federal agencies. The AV accessibility forums were held in the first part of FY 2021. Lastly, the Access Board has continued its efforts on a congressionally mandated research study concerning onboard wheelchair securement systems. In the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, Congress tasked the Access Board – in consultation with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other stakeholders – with conducting a study assessing the technical feasibility of, and operational issues that would be posed by, passengers who use wheelchairs using their own mobility devices (properly secured) onboard commercial aircraft in lieu of airline-provided fixed seating. The Access Board is required to complete this feasibility study and report to Congress on its results by October 2021 (i.e., one year after commencing study).

Considering the complex aeronautical and engineering issues at play when evaluating the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair securement systems, the Access Board partnered with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in early October 2019 to conduct this feasibility study. TRB, which is a program unit of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is highly regarded within the transportation research community for its technical expertise and provision of objective, non-partisan, research.

In early 2020, TRB convened a 12-member study committee to carry out the feasibility study, with the committee comprised of experts with a variety of professional disciplines, backgrounds, and interests to ensure a balance of perspectives. From February 2020 through the end of the fiscal year, the study committee held six meetings, three of which were public sessions where the committee heard testimony from a wide range of experts and private stakeholders, including: disability advocates; aircraft manufacturers; airline industry groups; wheelchair designers and manufacturers; accessible transportation consultants; academicians; flight attendants and contract service providers. In addition, both the Access Board and FAA have briefed the study committee on study-related issues falling within their respective agency missions. Looking ahead, the study committee’s remaining meetings in 2021 will be closed sessions to facilitate committee deliberation and report preparation. Publication of the final report is expected by late September 2021.

FY 2021 Planned Activities — Rulemaking

In FY 2021, we expect to publish rulemaking notices in the following two regulatory initiatives:

Self-Service Transaction Machines

For the remainder of FY 2021, we plan to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking concerning potential accessibility specifications for self-service transaction machines (SSTMs). This regulatory initiative, once complete, will provide technical specifications for the accessibility of self-service transaction machines (e.g., kiosks, point-of-sale machines, self-checkout machines), and scoping for those self-service transaction machines that are built-in and thus fall under the Access Board’s regulatory jurisdiction. The Board has previously worked collaboratively with the Departments of Justice and Transportation to develop the technical specifications published by DOT in a 2013 final rule under the Air Carrier Access Act addressing accessibility of web sites and automated kiosks. The first step for this rulemaking will be an ANPRM seeking feedback on our proposed approach to the technical specifications. We expect to publish the SSTM ANPRM in late FY2021.

Medical Diagnostic Equipment

In 2010, amendments to the Rehabilitation Act (codified at 29 U.S.C.§ 794f) tasked the Board with development of minimum technical standards for medical diagnostic equipment (MDE), including examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological equipment, and mammography equipment used by health care providers. Per this congressional mandate, in July 2017, we published an MDE final rule. These MDE Standards allow independent entry to, use of, and exit from diagnostic equipment by individuals with disabilities to the maximum extent possible. As specified in the Rehabilitation Act, these MDE Standards do not impose any mandatory requirements on health care providers or medical device manufacturers. However, other agencies, referred to as enforcing authorities in the MDE Standards, may issue regulations or adopt policies that require health care providers subject to their jurisdiction to acquire accessible medical diagnostic equipment that complies with the MDE Standards.

While the MDE final rule has thus been in effect for several years, there are two technical provisions relating to the adjustability of transfer height surfaces that were made provisional to provide time for completion of additional research or other means of acquiring additional, needed data. That is, section M301.2.1 and M302.2.1 of the MDE Standards establish a range of 17 - 19 inches maximum from the floor (rather a single-height specification) for the low-side transfer position, with these low-height specifications “sunsetting” five years after the rule’s effective date (i.e., January 2022). The Board is still in the process of gathering information needed to develop a technical specification to replace the low-side transfer position range specified in section M301.2.1 and M302.2.1. Consequently, we plan to publish a direct final rule in FY 2021 that will extend the sunset date for M301.2.1 and M302.2.1.

FY 2022 Objectives — Rulemaking

In FY 2022, it is our objective to publish the following rulemaking documents:

  • A final rule on the accessibility of public rights-of-way and shared use paths
  • A notice of proposed rulemaking on revisions and updates to fixed guideway system guidelines (rail vehicles)
  • A notice of proposed rulemaking on self-service transaction machines

FY 2020 Results — Codes and Standards

Adoption of Board Guidelines as Enforceable Standards

For the Access Board’s accessibility guidelines to become enforceable, other federal agencies must generally complete rulemaking to adopt the guidelines as standards. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the U.S. Postal Service use our guidelines to develop enforceable standards under the ABA. The Departments of Justice and Transportation use our guidelines to develop enforceable standards under the ADA. The U.S. Postal Service, GSA, the Department of Defense, and the Departments of Justice and Transportation have adopted the Access Board’s guidelines as enforceable standards. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has not acted yet.

Voluntary Consensus Standards

Our long-range goal is to take a leadership role in the development of codes and standards for accessibility. We work with model codes organizations and voluntary consensus standards groups that develop and periodically revise codes and standards affecting accessibility. We have voting membership in several codes and standards organizations and monitor or are actively involved in the development or revision of dozens of other codes and standards affecting accessibility.

We believe this goal enhances our credibility as a knowledgeable source of information regarding technical aspects of accessibility. Additionally, by working cooperatively with model codes organizations and voluntary consensus standards groups, federal and private codes and standards will become more similar, or harmonized, and the Access Board will be more alert to non-federal influences affecting our constituencies. Harmonization between federal and private requirements will make it more likely that buildings and facilities will be accessible, thus reducing the necessity for complaints and litigation.

A recent example of how working cooperatively with model codes organizations and standards-setting organizations has paid off is classroom acoustics. The most recent editions of the International Building Code (2018 and 2021) and the ICC A117.1-2017 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities standard now include provisions for acoustical access in classrooms to improve acoustics in the rooms and to reduce the intrusion of noises from outside the classroom, thereby enhancing the learning environment. This was accomplished largely through Access Board staff developing technical and scoping requirements and working with the codes groups to have these requirements adopted – all without federal rulemaking.

Two Access Board members serve as members of the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) and Board of Advisors, which provide recommendations to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) under the Help America Vote Act. We continue to work with the EAC in the development of updated Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). The VVSG are a set of specifications and requirements against which voting systems can be tested to determine if the systems meet required standards.

In December 2005, the EAC adopted the 2005 VVSG, which significantly increased security requirements for voting systems and expanded access, including opportunities for individuals with disabilities to vote privately and independently. The guidelines are voluntary. States may decide to adopt them entirely or in part. After adopting the 2005 VVSG, EAC tasked the TGDC with developing the next iteration of the VVSG. In March 2015, version 1.1 of the VVSG was adopted. This new version was a complete rewrite of the 2005 guidelines and addresses the next generation of voting systems. Almost immediately following the adoption of VVSG 1.1, a public working group process was developed to help inform the development of the next iteration of voluntary voting system guidelines – called VVSG 2.0. That version was published in the Federal Register in February 2019 for public comment. The EAC adopted the VVSG 2.0 by unanimous vote on February 10, 2021.

While the Access Board was in the process of updating its information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility requirements, a similar process began in Europe to create the first European ICT accessibility standards. Beginning in 2005, the Access Board and the European Commission began to work closely to harmonize ICT accessibility requirements. In early 2014, the three European standardization organizations – European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI); European Committee for Standardization (CEN); and, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) – published the first European specifications on e-accessibility for public ICT procurements, EN 301 549, “Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe.”

The current European standard is largely harmonized with our January 2017 final rule that updated our ICT standards and guidelines. We have been working since publication of our final rule with a European Joint Working Group on eAccessibility to further harmonize the U.S. and European standards and will continue that effort in 2021 and beyond.

Some of the codes and standards groups that we work with include: the International Code Council (ICC) Consensus Committee on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, ICC (ASC A117); American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A18 Platform Lift and Stairway Chair Lift Committee; National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Disability Access Review Advisory Committee; National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard; World Wide Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines Working Group; ASTM Committee on Playground Surfacing Systems; Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Standards Committee on Cognitive Accessibility and Assistive Technology for Air Travel; Transportation Research Board; National Cooperative Highway Research Program; National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices; FCC Disability Advisory Committee; the Chief Information Officers Council’s Accessibility Community of Practice, and many others.

We are also a member of the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy, which is the group that is responsible for overseeing the use of standards by federal agencies in accordance with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act.

FY 2021 Planned Activities — Codes and Standards

We will continue to work with private sector codes and standards organizations to harmonize the Board’s guidelines with model codes and standards. For example, in FY 2021, we are participating in task groups organized by the A117 Committee to develop provisions on adult changing tables and assisted use toilet and bathing facilities for the ICC A117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. We will also continue to work with the EAC on future updates to the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines and with the European Joint Working Group on eAccessibility to further harmonize U.S. and European standards.

FY 2022 Objectives — Codes and Standards

We will continue to collaborate with the EAC and the European Joint Working Group on eAccessibility and will continue our efforts to harmonize the Board’s guidelines with model codes and standards, including the ICC A117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.

Provide Training and Technical Assistance on Accessibility

The Access Board provides technical assistance to a wide variety of people regarding the accessibility guidelines and standards we issue. Our customers include architects, builders, designers, technology companies, manufacturers, people with disabilities, State and local governments, and federal agencies. Our technical assistance program has four components:

  • Responding to customer inquiries. We respond to 5,000 – 6,000 inquiries each year. We have toll-free telephone lines for customers to call with questions. Customers also e-mail and occasionally fax us questions. 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 manuals and other publications. We maintain numerous publications on accessibility issues. These range from manuals on our guidelines and standards, to animations, and an online guide to the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards.

  • Providing training. We conduct about 50 – 70 training sessions each year in person and through webinars and other virtual platforms. Training usually is provided at conferences and seminars sponsored by other organizations; it also includes a series of webinars. Training sponsors generally reimburse us for our travel expenses.

  • Maintaining the Board’s website. Our 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. On the website, we provide downloadable animations illustrating the rationale behind the guidelines and standards showing how accessible features are used by individuals with disabilities. We also maintain a YouTube channel and a Twitter account.

We have the following objectives in this program area:

  • Promote and publicize the Board’s training and technical assistance services to reach more customers
  • Use multiple communications platforms to reach a broader audience
  • Develop and update educational materials to promote understanding of and compliance with accessibility standards and guidelines

Our 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 self-service transaction machines, there will be increased demands for technical assistance from existing and new customer groups. We have 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 our guidelines, standards, and publications are available through these organizations’ on-line networks. We also provide training for these organizations. As we develop new guidelines and standards, there will be opportunities to use these existing partnerships and establish new partnerships to disseminate information about the Access Board’s rulemaking.

FY 2020 Results

To supplement our guidelines and standards, we produce an array of guidance materials. Our popular online guide to the ADA and ABA Standards continues to grow. The guide features animations and technical bulletins that explain and illustrate requirements and address common questions. Bulletins are currently available on the first six chapters of the standards, including application and scoping, building blocks, accessible routes, accessible means of egress, parking and passenger loading zones, stairways, and toilet and bathing facilities. Users can sign-up to receive email updates on the release of other animations and bulletins in the series.

In FY 2020, we released a major installment to the online guide that include comprehensive technical bulletins on restrooms, bathing facilities, and drinking fountains. This material explains specifications for water closets, toilet compartments, showers, bathtubs, and drinking fountains in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards. A significant portion of the technical inquiries the Board receives concern access to toilet and bathing facilities. Each bulletin clarifies common sources of confusion, answers frequently asked questions, and offers recommendations for best practice. Examples of compliant restrooms and bathing rooms are included to illustrate how various requirements can be met.

We continue to offer our very successful monthly webinar series through a partnership with the National Network of ADA Centers. Sessions are conducted monthly for built environment issues and bi-monthly for information and communication technology issues (in conjunction with the Chief Information Officers Council Accessibility Community of Practice) with most webinars scheduled for 90 minutes. Sessions also provide an opportunity to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) for a fee, but general attendance is free.

In FY 2020 we devoted our monthly webinar series on built environment issues to a chapter-by-chapter review of the ADA Standards. These standards govern the construction and alteration of a wide range of facilities covered by the ADA. The sessions covered similar standards that apply under the ABA to facilities that are federally funded. Presenters focused on common sources of confusion in the ADA and ABA Standards and frequently asked questions. The first session reviewed application of the standards (Chapter 1). Presenters explained how the ADA and ABA Standards apply in new construction, alterations, and additions, dimensions for adults and children, equivalent facilitation and modifications or waivers, construction tolerances and other conventions, referenced standards, and definitions. Subsequent webinars addressed Chapter 2: Scoping - New Construction (Part 1); Chapter 2: Scoping – Alterations (Part 2); Chapter 3: Building Blocks; Chapter 4: Accessible Routes; Chapter 5: General Site and Building Elements; Chapter 6: Plumbing Elements and Facilities; Chapter 7: Communication Elements and Features; and Chapter 8: Special Rooms, Spaces, and Elements (Part 1). Three additional sessions in early FY 2021 covered the remaining chapters of the standards.

Webinar sessions in FY 2020 on information and communication technology issues included: Section 508 in the Acquisition Lifecycle, Section 508 Questions and Answers with the Access Board and GSA, Accessible Social Media, Accessible Office Documents, Accessible Virtual Meeting Platforms, and Managing for Accessibility Throughout the Acquisition Lifecycle.

This year our accessibility specialists responded to about 5,300 technical assistance requests. We upgraded options on our phone system to improve the level of service our customers receive. We efficiently and seamlessly transitioned to office-wide telework due to the pandemic without any interruption in the daily provision of technical assistance to the public through our help line or by email.

In FY 2020, we conducted a total of 70 trainings sessions: 48 webinars and 22 in-person trainings. With the onset of the pandemic we cancelled all in-person trainings scheduled for the latter half of the fiscal year. However, despite these cancellations, we increased the amount of people trained over FY 2019 by 20% as a result of our successful transition to distance learning and remote training. We trained 17,115 people this past year, compared to 14,231 in FY 2019. Overall, we reached 22,410 people through technical assistance, training events, and webinars.

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 when they need it. The usage of our website continues to grow. In FY 2020, there were approximately 1,070,000 visitors to the site, almost 1.6 million user sessions, and over 3.4 million page views.

We distributed six issues of Access Currents, a free newsletter we issue every other month by e-mail. Our Twitter page – @AccessBoard – also provides a good method of communicating with our customers; we currently have over 1,800 followers. We continued to provide information, including videos and animations on accessibility, through our YouTube channel. We have 1,830 subscribers and have logged 149,344 total views of its nine videos and animations since creating the channel three years ago.

FY 2021 Planned Activities

Online Guide, Webinars, and Website

We will develop additional materials for the online guide to the ADA and ABA standards. Planned are technical guides and animations covering remaining section s of Chapter 6 and as well as Chapter 7 of the standards. The additional Chapter 6 guides will address lavatories and sinks, washing machines and clothes dryers, and saunas and steam rooms. The Chapter 7 guides will address communication elements and features including fire alarm systems, telephones, detectable warnings, assistive listening systems, automatic teller machines and fare machines, and two-way communication systems. Future installments to the guides will be released as they become available. Users can sign-up to receive email updates on the release of other animations and bulletins in the series.

We will continue to offer our very successful webinar series for the built environment and on section 508 issues. In FY 2021, sessions on the built environment will cover: Recreation Facilities, Built-In Elements. Interior and Exterior Accessible Routes, Vertical Access, Medical Care and Long-Term Care Facilities, Play Areas, Accessible Public Rights-of-Way, Assembly Areas, and three additional sessions.

Sessions planned for section 508 issues include: Creating accessible websites using the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) and the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA), Review of the Revised 508 Standards (Parts 1 and II), Section 508 Compliance and Assistive Technology: Providing Accessibility to ICT for Federal Employees under the Rehabilitation Act (Sections 504 and 508), and two additional topics.

Technical Assistance and Research Projects

In FY 2019, the President signed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act. A provision in the new law requires the Access Board to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems and if feasible, the ways in which individuals with significant disabilities using wheelchairs, including power wheelchairs, can be accommodated with such systems. The Board is undertaking this study through the Transportation Research Board (TRB). TRB is due to complete the study and issue a final report by September 2021.

The following research and technical assistance projects are planned for FY 2021:

  • Regulatory assessment for the Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines final rule

FY 2022 Objectives

We will continue to improve our website, including releasing additional modules for the web-based guide for the ADA and ABA standards.

The following research and technical assistance projects are planned for FY 2022:

  • Regulatory assessment for updated ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Rail Vehicles
  • Regulatory assessment for supplementary guidelines on self-service transaction machines

Increase Architectural Barriers Act Awareness and Compliance

The Access Board enforces the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA), which requires that most buildings designed, constructed, altered, or leased by the federal government and certain other federally financed facilities be accessible to people with disabilities. Complaints we receive concern post offices, national parks, military facilities, veterans’ hospitals, courthouses, and a variety of other facilities. When we have jurisdiction and find that the applicable accessibility standards were not followed, we require a corrective action plan and monitor the case until the barrier is removed. Even when we do not have jurisdiction, or no violation is found, we attempt to negotiate voluntary barrier removal.

We have the following objectives in this program area:

  • Proactively promote compliance through outreach to federal agencies and design professionals
  • Educate the public about rights under the ABA and the complaint process
  • Improve the efficiency of the complaint resolution process

In addition to enforcement, we work with federal agencies and others to ensure compliance with the ABA and make the federal government a model of accessibility. Our experience with resolving complaints is that most violations are not intentional. When violations are found, it is usually because the people responsible for designing buildings, reviewing plans, and on-site construction did not have a good understanding of the accessibility standards or how to apply them. For covered buildings where corrective action is required, we have a 100% compliance rate.

Those responsible for building planning and design at headquarters, regional and field offices, and local sites must have a working knowledge of the accessibility standards if compliance is to be achieved. As federal agencies are reorganized and personnel assignments and responsibilities change, it is important that agencies have effective systems for training new staff responsible for applying the accessibility standards and for monitoring compliance with the ABA. Training has become even more important now that new accessibility standards for the ABA are being implemented by the standard-setting agencies.

FY 2020 Results — ABA Compliance

During FY 2020, we received 140 new complaints, and closed 167 pending complaints. These included complaints investigated under the ABA, and those concerning facilities not covered by that law but potentially covered by other laws, such as the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. The total number of ABA complaints filed this year represented a 17% drop relative to complaints filed in the prior fiscal year (FY 2019). Anecdotally, we believe this decrease in ABA complaint filings is most likely pandemic-related in the sense that, since mid-March 2020, many Americans have been staying home more than they normally would be and, thus, federal facilities, such as post offices and national parks, are being visited less frequently and therefore and less violations are being reported. Of the closed complaints, 55 resulted in the remediation of accessibility barriers at buildings and facilities around the country, including: improvements to accessible lodging at the Kilauea Military Camp (a Department of Defense Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) facility in Volcano, Hawaii); parking improvements at U.S. Navy Shipyards in Philadelphia and Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Philadelphia; and the installation of access ramps at the Rockaway Boardwalk in Far Rockaway, New York, which had been rebuilt following Superstorm Sandy using funds from federal grants. The 55 complaints closed following corrective action represent a 15% increase from FY2019.

We resolved many of these complaints with the support of other federal agencies and through bi-monthly conference calls with senior leaders from DoD, the General Services Administration (GSA), and other agencies. We posted a summary list on our website of all ABA corrective actions taken in fiscal year 2020.

With respect to the other closed complaints, our investigations revealed that we did not have jurisdiction in 7 matters and that there was no violation of the applicable federal accessibility standards in 15 matters. Finally, we referred another 43 complainants to other agencies for action when we determined, prior to commencing our investigations, that there was no violation of the ABA or we did not have jurisdiction, and closed 47 other complaints for administrative reasons. Notably, case closures for administrative reasons significantly increased in FY 2020, rising 81% relative to last fiscal year. Administrative closures of ABA complaints occur for a variety of reasons ranging from unintelligibility or “spam” filings to complaints that provide insufficient information to discern the nature of the allegations and enforcement staff do not lack contact information for the complainant to gather additional/clarifying information. This year, the bulk of our administrative closures resulted from complaints that raised pandemic-related matters clearly falling outside our ABA jurisdiction — such as, filers who sought assistance with stimulus checks or raised objections to public health orders issued by states or local governments. Still others provided only pandemic-related conspiracy theories or political commentary.

We respond quickly to all new complaints. Most complainants now file their complaints with us on-line; they receive immediate notice that their complaint has been received, together with a complaint tracking number for their future reference. It is our practice to keep complainants informed on a regular basis throughout the course of our investigations. We periodically contact complainants to provide updates on the status of their complaints. We find that these contacts can be helpful in obtaining additional information about actions being taken that may not have been provided by respondent agencies. Upon completing investigations, we always give complainants an opportunity to comment on determinations we have made and actions that have been taken before closing complaints. At the end of the complaint process, we seek feedback through a Customer Satisfaction Survey. The survey is voluntary, and respondents may respond anonymously, or provide their name and complaint number if they wish.

We continue to refine program processes based on performance measures developed earlier to better increase efficiency in the operation of the compliance and enforcement program. We consider the input we receive from our Customer Satisfaction Survey to assist us in these efforts. To make the survey easier to use for customers, and to expedite the processing and refine the recordkeeping for completed surveys, we converted it from a paper survey to an online survey platform. In addition, we continue to update and revise our software system for managing and tracking ABA complaints to optimize system performance and further expedite complaint handling.

We continue to work with the United States Postal Service (USPS), DoD, GSA, and other agencies to ensure that ABA-covered facilities comply with all applicable accessibility standards. In addition, we continue to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to encourage its adoption of the current ABA accessibility standards.

FY 2021 Planned Activities — ABA Compliance

We will continue to investigate complaints under the ABA. We will continue to issue our formal acknowledgment to complainants within an average of 3 business days after we receive the complaint and will continue to provide periodic updates to complainants on the status of their complaints.

Based on complaint closures to date in the current fiscal year, we expect to receive 150 new complaints, and close180. Of the 180, we expect to close 60 following investigations and the completion of corrective action, with an additional 35 investigations resulting in determinations that we lacked jurisdiction or that the complaint allegations did not amount to a violation of the standards. Finally, we expect to refer complainants to other federal agencies in 65 matters, when it is clear – prior to our commencing an investigation – that the allegations relate not to the ABA but instead to another disability-related or civil rights law.

We will continue to refine program processes based on performance measures developed earlier to better increase efficiency in the operation of the compliance and enforcement program. We will consider the input we receive from our Customer Satisfaction Survey to assist us in these efforts. In addition, we will continue to update and revise our software system for managing and tracking ABA complaints to optimize system performance and further expedite complaint handling. We plan to release a new, more user-friendly and 100% accessible (508-compliant) Online ABA Complaint since most ABA complaints (75%) are submitted in that manner. We also plan to produce an overview video on the ABA that covers our jurisdiction, what facilities are likely or unlikely to be covered, and how complaints are investigated. We also plan to publish a year-end news story on our website that summarizes the ABA cases that were closed during the fiscal year.

FY 2022 Objectives — ABA Compliance

We will continue to investigate complaints under the ABA. Based on historical data, we estimate that we will receive 180 new complaints, and close 170. Of the 170, we expect to close 65 following investigations and the completion of corrective actions, and 30 following investigations and determinations of no jurisdiction or no violation. We expect to refer complainants in another 70 matters to other federal agencies. We will continue to provide good customer service and increase efficiency in the operation of the compliance and enforcement program.

FY 2020 Results — Working in Partnership with Agencies

We completed certain performance-optimizing updates to our Complaint Tracking and Management System so that Board staff can more quickly update complaint data and track progress in open complaints. In addition, we continued to use our Customer Satisfaction Survey for ABA complaints. Because the survey is voluntary, and because individuals responding are permitted to do so anonymously, we are using this data for anecdotal purposes.

FY 2021 Planned Activities — Working in Partnership with Agencies

We will continue to work with the Department of Defense, Postal Service, and the General Services Administration and agencies covered by its accessibility standards to ensure that covered facilities comply with requirements in the ABA standards. We will continue to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the development and adoption of its accessibility standards under the ABA. We will continue to work with agency contacts to increase their customers’ awareness of the ABA and the availability of the ABA complaint process.

FY 2022 Objectives — Working in Partnership with Agencies

We will continue working with the ABA standard-setting agencies to ensure that newly constructed, altered, and leased facilities are following the applicable accessibility standards promulgated under the ABA.

Expand Awareness of the Access Board’s Functions and Objectives

We have the following objectives in this program area:

  • Engage other organizations and pursue partnerships to promote the Access Board’s work
  • Promote accessibility throughout all segments of society, including holding events in various locations across the country

FY 2020 Results

The Access Board holds six meetings each year. Typically, five are business meetings in Washington, DC, and the sixth is held outside the Washington, DC area and serves as an opportunity for the Board to examine innovations in accessible design undertaken around the country and to promote accessibility throughout our society. As a result of the pandemic, the Board conducted its meetings virtually during the latter half of FY 2020. It also cancelled a planned out-of-town meeting in Philadelphia in May.

The Board focused on virtual events and used the opportunity to expand is remote audience. In July, we held a virtual celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The event featured a discussion with Judy Heumann, a leader in the disability rights movement and lifelong advocate for people with disabilities, on the accomplishments of the ADA. There also was a screening of an 11-minute documentary by a high school student for a National History Day competition that provided a vivid picture of the world before the ADA, including widespread discrimination of people with disabilities and early achievements of the disability rights movement. In addition, Board Member and architect Karen Braitmayer, FAIA gave a presentation on how the ADA has spurred architecture and design to be more inclusive of everyone. Over 930 people in the U.S. and around the world attended the event.

In 2020, the widespread transition to telework due to the corona pandemic made virtual meetings and conferences commonplace. The Board used this opportunity to call attention to the importance of ensuring that virtual platforms and events are accessible to, and inclusive of, everyone, including people with disabilities. We conducted a webinar session on this topic that explained features and considerations for providing access to various types of virtual platforms. It also covered best practice recommendations and resources for platform accessibility. Due to its popularity, the Board provided a similar presentation to the public in FY 2021 as part of its January Board meeting.

The Board’s website continues to serve as a leading resource on accessible design and federal accessibility guidelines and standards. Through this site, the Board provides updates to the public on initiatives in rulemaking, research, ABA enforcement, and other programs. The Board’s guidelines and standards, published guidance, animations, and other resources, are also available on the site.

In FY 2020, we overhauled and refreshed the Board’s website at www.access-board.gov. The new site, which launched early in FY 2021, features a streamlined design to make information easier to find. New menus and cross links enhance navigation of key resources, including the ADA Accessibility Standards and the Section 508 Standards. In addition, the site updates information on Board programs and services, including training and filing of complaints under the ABA. Our new site is based on the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) which helps federal agencies create websites that are accessible, fast, and easy to use on mobile devices. The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act requires agencies to aims to update their websites using the USWDS to improve the digital experience for government customers.

FY 2021 Planned Activities

In FY 2021, we will continue to promote awareness of the work of the Board and the services it provides to the public.

The Board’s existing equity-centric mission is to advance full access and inclusion for all individuals with disabilities, a community that has been historically underserved and subject to discrimination, exclusion, and a lack of access to such resources as: public and commercial buildings, sites, and facilities; streets and sidewalks, healthcare, transportation vehicles, passenger vessels, and information and communication technology. Over the course of its nearly 50-year history, the Access Board has worked to support the removal of accessibility barriers for all segments of society and looks forward to continuing to do so in the years ahead, while taking into account equity for other underserved communities. In the latter half of FY 2021, we will undertake initiatives to enhance equity for other historically underserved communities. As part of this effort, we will target our outreach to minority-led organizations, including the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC). The outreach plans will apprise these organizations of the Board’s technical services, such as free training on the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards (in-person and online webinars) and a free technical assistance hotline (phone and email) to help design and construction professionals and other members of the public implement and meet various accessibility standards.

In addition, the Access Board plans to target an outreach program to new stakeholders in emerging industries. New technologies and innovations are transforming communication, interaction with the built environment, and transportation. For example, the manufacturers of autonomous vehicles and interactive kiosks, and alliances or associations representing them, have consulted the Board on how to appropriately integrate accessibility into their designs and concepts. Beginning in FY 2021 and continuing in FY 2022, the Board will undertake an awareness campaign targeted to this new and growing audience to ensure that accessibility is considered and included in new designs.

In FY 2021, we will conduct four-part series of virtual meetings on making autonomous vehicles (AV)s accessible to passengers with disabilities. Self-driving vehicles stand to revolutionize road transportation in the U.S. and around the world. Their cutting-edge technologies and engineering innovations have the potential to significantly expand transit options for many people, including those with disabilities. It is important that AVs are designed to be inclusive of everyone. We will provide an open forum where members of the public and stakeholders can discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing accessible AVs. The sessions will cover accessibility for passengers with mobility, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. Attendees will be able to pose questions and share comments, suggestions, and information. The Board is undertaking this initiative jointly with other agencies, including the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Community Living.

We also will promote access to self-service transaction machines such as point-of-sales machines and ticket kiosks. These and other automated transaction machines and service kiosks can be very “smart” but are not always accessible. We will initiative a public dialogue on this subject by hosting virtual panel discussions in May. One panel will include representatives from advocacy organizations who will discuss usability issues and accessibility barriers. Another panel will address efforts by research and industry to improve access to self-service transaction machines.

FY 2022 Objectives

We will continue to reach out to professional associations, trade groups, and other organizations whose members can benefit from our technical assistance services as well as to historically underserved communities. We will contact and meet with representatives from identified organizations using prepared outreach materials to promote our technical assistance services. Technical staff will log information from technical assistance inquiries to determine the effectiveness of the outreach efforts. In addition, staff will follow up with targeted professional and trade associations to assess additional opportunities for partnership with the Access Board, such as webinars, trainings, or technical assistance materials.

To further our objective of promoting accessibility throughout all segments of society, we plan to conduct our annual out-of-town meeting in New Orleans, a city with a known history of accessibility challenges, especially with respect to pedestrian facilities in public rights-of-way. In addition, the Board continues to receive a growing number of inquiries on how disability rights laws and accessibility standards apply to an array of new products, designs, and innovations. The Board notes that emerging industries often contain stakeholders who may be unfamiliar with accessibility standards and the work of the Board, including the technical assistance we offer. The Board plans to work with trade groups, industry associations, professional societies, other Federal agencies, and advocacy organizations in this targeted outreach effort.


Appendix A

Access Board Budget

Description FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 Request
BUDGET TOTAL 9,200,000 9,200,000 9,750,000
       
PERSONNEL 5,254,300 5,501,900 5,550,500
Salary 3,969,500 4,158,200 4,199,500
        Staff 3,730,100 3,916,800 3,946,200
        Board 239,400 241,400 253,300
Benefits 1,284,800 1,343,700 1,351,000
       
BOARD MEETINGS / PUBLIC HEARINGS 330,300* 332,800* 343,100
       
TRAVEL 20,000 20,000 20,000
Advisory & Ad-Hoc Committee Meetings 0 0 0
Training / Site Visits / Other 20,000* 20,000* 20,000
       
SPACE MANAGEMENT 803,200 765,000 807,800
       
RESEARCH 406,400 200,000 400,000
Technical Research 406,400 200,000 150,000
Cost Assessments / RIA 0 0 250,000
       
ADMIN SUPPORT SERVICES 802,000 778,000 997,500
       
IT SUPPORT SERVICES 1,459,000 1,457,500 1,486,200
       
PRINTING 40,000 60,000 60,000
       
MISC OPERATING EXPENSES 84,800 84,800 84,900
Postage / Courier / Mailing Services 5,000 5,000 5,000
Staff Training 15,000 15,000 20,000
Equipment 5,000 5,000 5,000
Supplies 10,000 10,000 10,000
Drug Testing 800 800 800
Audits 34,000 34,000 34,100
Books 5,000 5,000 5,000
Other 10,000 10,000 5,000
       
RECEIPTS FOR PUBLICATIONS AND TRAINING 50,000 50,000 50,00

* Note: Costs related to board meetings, board salaries, and staff travel all were impacted significantly in FY 2020 and FY 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was little to no travel during the last half of FY 2020 and most of FY 2021. Our budget estimates for both FY 2020 and FY 2021 were formulated prior to the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are anticipating that travel activity will return to pre-pandemic levels in FY 2022.


Cost Discussion

The Board is requesting a total budget authority in FY 2022 of $9,750,000. Pub. L. 116-260, the FY 2021 Omnibus and COVID Relief and Response Act, provided the Board with $9,200,00 in funding.

FY Cost Discussion
PERSONNEL

We anticipate the Board will use 32 FTE in FY 2022. We are planning on 5 days of pay per public Board member (Presidentially appointed) for each of the 5 regular Board meetings and 5 days of pay for the one out-of-town meeting. In addition, we have included funds for the following:

  • Salaries for a total of 10 additional days for information meetings where some of our public Board members participate in committee meetings or represent the agency in other meetings (such as meetings of the Election Assistance Commission).

We have calculated benefits (including the transit subsidy) based on our experience with the benefit packages employees have chosen in the past. Benefits for public Board members include only the Social Security and Medicare allotment from the employer.

We currently have one vacant position which we plan to fill in FY 2022.

Per direction by OMB and OPM, awards have been capped at 1.5 percent of salary for GS employees since FY 2010. OMB has directed that the 1.5 percent cap will be lifted and that award calculations for FY 2021 shall include an increase of no less than 1 percent above that amount. Our personnel staff salary line includes an award amount equal to 4 percent of GS salaries. This will allow us to provide meaningful recognition for annual performance awards and provide for special act awards where warranted.

FY 2021 $5,501,900
FY 2022 $5,550,500
BOARD MEETINGS / PUBLIC HEARINGS

This budget line includes all costs related to our board meetings and public hearings, except for salaries. This includes travel expenses, meeting space rental, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and sign language interpreters for all board and other public meetings (at a total cost of approximately $2,000 per day).

FY 2021 $ 352,800
FY 2022 $ 363,100
TRAVEL

The Access Board’s travel budget primarily covers our travel expenses related to attendance at annual trade meetings related to our accessibility-related mission. Examples include the annual CSUN technology exposition and meetings of building code groups of which we are a standing member, such as the ANSI A117 committee. Occasionally we conduct site visits related to Architectural Barriers Act complaints. In conjunction with some rulemaking, the Access Board occasionally establishes special committees, and the travel for those committees would be included on this budget line; however, none is planned for FY 2022.

FY 2021 $ 20,000
FY 2022 $ 20,000
SPACE MANAGEMENT

Our rent is set by the General Services Administration. Our current lease expires in December 2021. GSA finalized a new lease agreement, which starts in January 2022 and ends in December 2036. The FY 2022 amount includes the rent projection by GSA under the new lease agreement. This amount also includes other costs related to our space, such as maintenance and security.

FY 2021 $ 765,000
FY 2022 $ 807,800
RESEARCH

Contracting for research to assist in our guidelines and standards development and to provide technical assistance materials is crucial to the Board’s mission. Funds also are used to conduct required regulatory assessments for our rulemaking. Historically, we have requested a research budget of approximately $400,000. The research funds requested will allow us to move forward with our rulemaking agenda, which includes the issuance of new guidelines and updating existing guidelines.

FY 2021 $ 200,000
FY 2022 $ 400,000
ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SERVICES

We contract with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) in the Department of the Treasury to provide procurement, financial, payroll, and personnel services. Approximately $763,000 of our costs are for services we receive from BFS. The cost for administrative support services from other Federal agencies has increased significantly in the past two fiscal years. Additional costs are for support of our webinars, through which most of our training is conducted. We also have contracted for records management consulting services, and have another contract for GovDelivery, which supports our public outreach initiative.

FY 2021 $ 778,000
FY 2022 $ 997,500
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT SERVICES

This is the yearly cost of the Board’s telephone and desktop computing needs including desktop and laptop computers, assistive technology, local area network servers, software, printers, and maintenance and support services (including website hosting and internet service). A large portion of our IT budget goes toward the provision of network security and operational integrity of the Board’s network. This includes a network certification and Authority to Operate, Trusted Internet Connection, and use of the Einstein system to comply with OMB Memorandum M-17-25, “Reporting Guidance for Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.” These expenditures will help us meet the Federal Information Security Management Act and provide certification of the Board’s network, required to access other agency networks (e.g., the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s HR Connect System for personnel services). Funds also will be used to provide annual security network maintenance for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Cybersecurity program, computers, assistive technology, local area network servers, software, printers, and maintenance and support services (including website hosting and internet service). A large portion of our IT budget goes toward the provision of network security and operational integrity of the Board’s network. This includes a network certification and Authority to Operate, Trusted Internet Connection, and use of the Einstein system to comply with OMB Memorandum M-17-25, “Reporting Guidance for Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.” These expenditures will help us meet the Federal Information Security Management Act and provide certification of the Board’s network, required to access other agency networks (e.g., the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s HR Connect System for personnel services). Funds also will be used to provide annual security network maintenance for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Cybersecurity program.

FY 2021 $1,457,000
FY 2022 $1,486,200
PRINTING

Publishing proposed and final rules in the Federal Register is a relatively high cost for the Board. Printing in the Federal Register costs $453 per page. Other items in this category include printing our final rules in the Code of Federal Regulations.

FY 2021 $ 60,000
FY 2022 $ 60,000
MISCELLANEOUS OPERATING EXPENSES

Expenditures in this category include postage, overnight shipping, and in-town delivery service. We contract with the Interior Business Center in the Department of the Interior to provide services for the mandatory drug testing program. Other expenditures are for a reader to provide audio tapes as alternate format publications and miscellaneous operating expenses not reflected elsewhere. Our yearly financial audit is included along with book purchases for our library collection of accessible design materials, staff training, office supplies, and equipment purchases.

FY 2021 $ 84,800
FY 2022 $ 84,800
RECEIPTS FOR PUBLICATIONS AND TRAINING

We expect to receive approximately $50,000 in FY 2022 in reimbursements for travel associated with accessibility training, as authorized under 29 USC 792.

FY 2021 $50,000
FY 2022 $50,000

Appendix B

Status of Current Access Board Rulemaking Efforts

May 2021

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles – Update (rail vehicles)

This rulemaking would update the Board’s existing accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles that operate on fixed guideway systems (e.g., rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, and intercity rail) covered by the ADA. The existing rail vehicles guidelines were initially promulgated in 1991, and need an update to, among other things, keep pace with newer accessibility-related technologies, harmonize with recently developed national and international consensus standards, and incorporate recommendations from the Board’s Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee’s report. In May 2013, we created a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations that the Board can use to update its rail vehicle guidelines which were originally issued in 1991. The committee met from November 2013 through June 2015 and provided its final report to the Board in July 2015. The next step for this rulemaking is an ANPRM planned for FY 2020. Compliance with any revised rail vehicles guidelines would not be required until they are adopted by DOT in a separate rulemaking. Past and recent efforts related to this regulatory initiative include:

  • 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; April 10-11, 2014; September 11-12, 2014; February 26-27, 2015; April 23-24, 2015; June 4-5, 2015
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board – July 29, 2015
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking – February 14, 2020
  • notice of public hearing – February 27, 2020
  • notice of extension of comment period – April 10, 2020

Public Rights-of-Way (including 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 began 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 by convening a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations for the guidelines. 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 to the Board in January 2001.

In June 2002, the Board released for public comment draft guidelines based on the committee’s recommendations. 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. 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 in more developed outdoor areas, as opposed to the more primitive trail settings. Unlike trails, shared use paths 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. In September 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 then published an ANPRM for shared use paths in March 2011. In February 2013, we published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to include requirements for shared use paths as part of the public rights-of-way rule. The Board suspended action on this rule in 2017 in light of Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, which was rescinded earlier this year. The next step for this rulemaking is a final rule, planned for FY 2022.

  • 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

Passenger Vessels

This rulemaking will address access to ferries, cruise ships, excursion boats, and other vessels. In 1994, the Access Board and DOT 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 ADA. The committee presented its report 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 ANPRM on access to and in smaller passenger vessels and a notice of availability 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 to the Board in October 2008. In June 2008, we published revised draft guidelines to collect data necessary for a regulatory assessment. Meetings were held in August 2008 to collect this data.

In June 2013, the Board released for public comment proposed guidelines for passenger vessels. The comment period ended in January 2014. The next step for this rulemaking is a final rule. The Board suspended work on this rule in 2017 in light of the requirements of Executive Order 13777 Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, which was rescinded earlier this year. The Board is now evaluating the timing of the final rule in the context of the agency’s other rulemaking priorities.

  • 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

Medical Diagnostic Equipment

Section 510 of the Rehabilitation Act required the Board to issue accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment, including examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological equipment, and mammography equipment in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration. The standards were required to address independent access to, and use of, equipment by people with disabilities to the maximum extent possible.

In July 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 issued its final report in December 2013. A final rule was published in January 2017; however, there are two technical provisions relating to the adjustability of transfer height surfaces that were made provisional to provide time for completion of additional research or other means of acquiring additional, needed data. That is, sections M301.2.1 and M302.2.1 of the MDE Standards establish a range of 17 - 19 inches maximum from the floor (rather a single-height specification) for the low-side transfer position, with these low-height specifications “sunsetting” five years after the rule’s effective date (i.e., January 2022). The Board is still in the process of gathering information needed to develop a technical specification to replace the low-side transfer position range specified in sections M301.2.1 and M302.2.1. Consequently, we plan to publish a direct final rule in FY 2021 that will extend the sunset date for M301.2.1 and M302.2.1.

  • 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 draft recommendations to the Board – July 10, 2013
  • committee report completed – December 6, 2013
  • final rule – January 9, 2017

Completed Access Board Rulemakings

May 2021

ADAAG for Buildings and Facilities (Sections 1-9)

The ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) initially consisted of nine sections. Sections 1 through 4 include 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 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).

  • 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

ADAAG for Transportation Vehicles

A separate ADAAG was issued for transportation vehicles for 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.

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

Automated Teller Machines

In response to a petition for rulemaking, on July 15, 1993, the Board issued a joint final rule with DOT amending the reach range requirements for accessible automated teller machines and fare vending machines.

  • 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 ANPRM 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 in January 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

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. We convened a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations on access to public rights-of-way. We published a final rule in January 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

Telecommunications Equipment

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

Over-the-Road Buses

The ADA requires the Board and 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, we 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.

  • 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

Detectable Warnings Temporary Suspension

In response to a petition for rulemaking, in 1994 the Board, DOJ, and DOT suspended temporarily until July 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 were warranted.

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 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 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

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. This included play areas, playground surfaces, and play equipment.

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 in October 2000. In November 2000, the Board published an amended advisory note to the accessibility guidelines which clarified 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

Electronic and Information Technology

In August 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 were 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. We convened a 27-member Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee to assist in developing our standards. The Committee presented its report 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 in December 2000. In April 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

Recreation Facilities

This rulemaking addresses recreation facilities including sports facilities, places of amusement, golf, and boating and fishing facilities. We 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 ANPRM. Over 600 comments were received on the report and questions asked in the ANPRM. We 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 in December 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.

To provide more opportunities for input, 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. We held two information meetings in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA to discuss the summary. In September 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

ADAAG Revision and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines

This rulemaking revised ADAAG, updated the Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design (MGRAD) for federal facilities covered by the ABA, and created 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 addressing 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-President’s Hammer Award in July 1996.

We issued a proposed rule in November 1999. The comment period closed in May 2000. Over 2,500 comments were received on the proposed rule. The Board held two public hearings (Los Angeles, CA on January 31, 2000 and Arlington, VA on March 13, 2000). We 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. In April 2002, we 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 were 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

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 in September 1999. In October 2001, we sponsored an information meeting on the committee’s report in Denver, CO during the annual meeting of the National Recreation and Park Association.

An NPRM for federal facilities covered by the ABA was published in June 2007. We held three public hearings in Denver, CO; Washington, DC; and Indianapolis, IN. In October 2009, we released draft final guidelines for public comment. Approximately 80 comments were received. A final rule was published in September 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

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 were needed. The committee included representation from disability groups, industry and code groups, and government agencies. The committee presented its report 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. A final rule was published in May 2014.

  • 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
  • final rule – May 7, 2014

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles – Update (non-rail vehicles)

In April 2007, the Board released for public comment a preliminary draft of revisions updating our accessibility guidelines for buses and vans covered by the ADA. We received approximately 90 comments. We used this input to refine the draft and then 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, we 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. A final rule was published in December 2016.

  • 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
  • final rule – December 14, 2016

Medical Diagnostic Equipment

Section 510 of the Rehabilitation Act required the Board to issue accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment, including examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological equipment, and mammography equipment in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration. The standards were required to address independent access to, and use of, equipment by people with disabilities to the maximum extent possible.

In July 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 issued its final report in December 2013. A final rule was published in January 2017.

  • 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 draft recommendations to the Board – July 10, 2013
  • committee report completed – December 6, 2013
  • final rule – January 9, 2017

Information and Communication 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, we published an ANPRM and held two public hearings during the comment period. In response to this input, we published a second ANPRM in December 2011; two hearings were held. A proposed rule was published in February 2015. Three public hearings and a webinar on the proposed rule were held during the comment period. A final rule was published in January 2017.

On January 22, 2018, we issued a correction to our updated accessibility requirements for ICT to restore provisions on TTY access that were inadvertently omitted. The original Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines required that devices with two-way voice communication support use of TTY devices which provide text communication across phone connections for persons with hearing or speech impairments. In its ICT refresh, the Board had proposed replacing this provision with a requirement for real-time text (RTT) functionality, a new technology with significant advantages over TTYs. In finalizing the rule, however, the Board chose to reserve the RTT requirement because the Federal Communications Commission had initiated its own rulemaking to address RTT functionality. In doing so, the Board intended to add the original TTY provision back into the rule, but the necessary language was unintentionally omitted. The correction notice restored the TTY requirement with minor editorial changes for consistency with the new format and terminology of the updated requirements and corrected two typographical errors in other sections of the rule.

Corrections to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Final Standards and Guidelines Direct final rule; request for comments

  • 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
  • notice of proposed rulemaking – February 27, 2015
  • final rule – January 18, 2017
  • correction notice (direct final rule; request for comments) – January 22, 2018

Appendix C

Architectural Barriers Act Cases
  FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021
(est.)
FY 2022
(est.)
Complaints pending at start of the fiscal year 98 104 77 47
Complaints received during the fiscal year 168 140 150 180
Total complaints closed during the fiscal year … 162 167 180 170
  after our investigation resulted in completed corrective action 48 55 60 65
  after our investigation resulted in a determination that we did not have jurisdiction 2 7 15 10
  after our investigation resulted in a determination that there was no violation of the standards 16 15 20 20
  after the issuance of a waiver or modification by the standard-setting agency 0 0 1 0
  after a referral absent an investigation 70 43 65 70
  for administrative reasons 26 47 19 20
Complaints pending at end of the fiscal year 104 77 47 77

Appendix D

Technical Assistance Data
  FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021
(est.)
FY 2022
(est.)
Technical Assistance Calls and Faxes 6,278 5,300 5,500 6,000
Website User Sessions 938,000 1,555,142 1.7 million 1.9 million
  in-person webinars in‑person webinars in‑person webinars in‑person webinars
Training Sessions 39 17 22 48 5 65 25 60
Training Participants 4,764 9,467 2,049 15,066 465 20,300 2,500 22,500