Summary Minutes — 2nd Meeting (approved April 10, 2014)
U.S. Access Board
Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee
January 9 – 10, 2014
Washington, DC

Thursday, January 9, 2014

With a quorum present, on behalf of the Access Board, Mr. Christopher Hart opened the second meeting of the Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee at 10 a.m. in the Access Board’s conference room at 1331 F Street NW, room 800, Washington, DC.  Mr. Hart welcomed the committee members, alternates, and members of the public.  Committee members and others in attendance introduced themselves (see attachment A for attendance).  The committee then approved (certified as accurate) the November 2013 meeting summary minutes.

The committee then reviewed the issues list.  New issue “all announcements in American Sign Language as well as text” was added, and the last issue on the list “standards for websites and smart phones” was removed (as the issue does not fall under the Access Board’s Americans with Disabilities Act jurisdiction).  Throughout the remainder of the two-day meeting some other issues were added, edited, or moved to appear under different headings (see attachment B for changes made).

Next, the five educational presentations listed below were made to the committee (copies of the presentation PowerPoints are available at the committee’s electronic docket:!docketDetail;D=ATBCB-2013-0006).  A discussion time followed each presentation.

  1. Federal Railroad Administration Presentation (Ms. Melissa Shurland) – Summary of PRIIA1 Next Generation Equipment Committee Accessibility Accommodations and Other Areas for Consideration
  2. Bombardier Transportation Presentation (Mr. André Gagné) – Toilet Module Footprint
  3. International Centre for Accessible Transportation Presentation (Mr. Uwe Rutenberg) – Integrated Solutions to Accessible Coach Car Elements
  4. Talgo Presentation (Mr. Joshua Coran) – A Brief Description of the Three Distinct “Bi-Level” Passenger Car Designs Currently in Use on the US “General System”
  5. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Presentation (Mr. Glenn Millis) – 7000 Series Rail Car Accessibility Features

A presentation from the Federal Railroad Administration, titled Rail 101, was rescheduled for the April 2014 meeting, to allow further preparation work.  A lunch break occurred between the second and third presentations.

After the last presentation, the committee began a discussion on how to resolve the rail access issues identified in attachment B.  Mr. Paul Beatty presented an idea to the committee for consideration that involved setting up three subcommittees (communications, circulation, and designated spaces).

Toward the end of the day a time of public comment was allowed.  Mr. Bob Reuter addressed the committee.

The committee then recessed for the day around 5:15 p.m.

1 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA)

Friday, January 10, 2014

The second day of the January meeting started around 9:15 a.m.  After further discussion on the subcommittee idea (but no action taken), the committee decided to review the issues list.  During the review, the committee classified the issues as to whether an issue was communication related or spatial in nature, and what vehicle mode (e.g., light rail) it applied to.  These determinations were added to the issue headings in attachment B, and some issues were moved to fall under more appropriate headings.

After lunch, around 1:30 p.m., the committee discussed whether conference calls could be scheduled before the April 2014 meeting on specific issues.  The committee agreed to hold the following conference calls on fixed and variable signage and interior vertical circulation between car levels.

Signage - February 6, 13, and 27, 2014 (1 pm to 3 pm, eastern time).  The February 6 call would provide callers with an understanding of what the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG) would require, if ADAAG was applied to signs on rail vehicles.  Also, review the variable messaging signage requirements in International Code Council/American Standards Institute (ICC/ANSI) standard A117.1 , and review the signage requirements in the current rail guidelines.  This call was not scheduled for discussing the problems in applying ADAAG or ICC/ANSI, but to acquaint callers with the provisions in these two documents as well as the current rail guideline signage provisions.  The February 13 call was tasked with evaluating whether ADAAG and ICC/ANSI signage provisions could be applied to rail vehicles, and if any modifications are necessary.  The February 27 call would be a continuation of the February 13 call, if needed.

Interior Vertical Circulation - March 5, 20, 26, 2014 (1 p.m. to 3 p.m., east coast time).  The three calls seek to answer the question - when is an elevator/lift needed to connect levels in a rail vehicle?  The agenda for the calls will be developed by the Access Board.

Note:  Any recommendations developed from the six calls are not binding on the full committee and will be presented to the full committee for evaluation at the next committee meeting (April 10 and 11, 2014).

The call-in numbers and related material are to be posted on the Access Board’s rail advisory committee website ( prior to the calls.

At 2:30 p.m. a time of public comment was allowed, with Mr. Michael Chisena, Mr. Gary Talbot, Mr. Paul Grether, and Mr. John Day addressing the committee.

The next meeting will be held April 10 and 11, 2014, in the Access Board’s conference room.  The first day of the meeting will start at 10 a.m. and run to 5 p.m., and the second day will start at 9 a.m. and run to 3 p.m.

The committee adjourned at 3 p.m. 

Note:  A Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) system was used in the meeting to provide an accommodation to persons with hearing loss and persons who are deaf.  The CART output was streamed in real-time and available to the public on the internet during the meeting.  The unedited text of the CART output is available at!docketDetail;D=ATBCB-2013-0006 in the section titled “Supporting Documents” (may have to click “view all”) in four documents starting with the words “2nd Meeting - Unedited CART Text“.  These documents provide the details of the two-day meeting.

Attachment A

U.S. Access Board
Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee – Meeting Attendance
January 9 and 10, 2014

Members Present:

  1. Alstom Transportation - Jon Holbrook
  2. American Council of the Blind - Terry Pacheco
  3. (Amtrak) National Railroad Passenger Corporation - Joseph Slaughter
  4. Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living - Billy Altom (Committee Chair)
  5. Bombardier Transportation - André Gagné, ing.
  6. California Department of Transportation, Division of Rail - Stanton Hunter (day 1) and James Lucas (day 1 and 2)
  7. Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access - Edward Steinfeld
  8. Community Transportation Association of America - Robert Carlson
  9. Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund - Marilyn Golden
  10. Federal Railroad Administration - Linda Martin and Calvin Gibson
  11. Hearing Access Program - Janice Schacter Lintz (day 2)
  12. Hearing Loss Association of America – David Gayle
  13. International Centre for Accessible Transportation - Uwe Rutenberg
  14. Metra & Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation - Justin R. Vonashek
  15. Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York – Michael Wetherell (day 1) and Frank Maldari
  16. National Association of the Deaf – Debra Patkin (day 1) and Andrew Phillips (day 2)
  17. National Association of Railroad Passengers - Ross Capon
  18. National Council on Independent Living - Cliff Perez (day 2)
  19. National Disability Rights Network - Dennis Cannon (day 1) and Kenneth Shiotani
  20. New Jersey Transit – Ed Hoff
  21. Parsons Brinckerhoff - Jackson Xue
  22. RailPlan International – Terry Soebee (day 1)
  23. Ricon Corporation - Stanton D. Saucier
  24. South West Transit Association - Crystal Lyons
  25. Talgo, Inc. - Joshua Coran
  26. United Spinal Association - James Weisman

Members Absent:

  1. Maryland Transit Administration

Access Board Present:

Others Present:

Attachment B

U.S. Access Board
Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee – Issues List
New Vehicles – For all Subparts (January 10, 2014)
January 9 and 10, 2014
Washington, DC

General Considerations Issues

  1. Consider the designs and recommendations resulting from work done by FRA under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA)
  2. Identify best practices and alternative designs used in other countries
  3. Gain a better understanding of legal and structural constraints
    1. How do FRA regulations impact rail vehicle design
    2. How do various types of vehicles differ in terms of structural constraints
  4. Population to be served by accessibility features
    1. Consider the needs of people using differing types of mobility device, seniors, and individuals who are obese
    2. Consider adjusting current clearance and space requirements to accommodate contemporary wheeled mobility device sizes
  5. Consider applying existing accessibility standards (e.g., ADAAG) to features not specifically addressed in the current standards
  6. Avoid redundant regulatory requirements (e.g., FRA and FTA).
  7. How to provide incentives for innovative universal design practices. (from Other)

Communications (Communications, applies to all modes)

  1. Real-time messages (audible or visible)
    1. Dual mode (audible and visible) messaging
    2. Examine what factors should be used to determine equivalency of audible and visible messages
    3. Explore tri-mode communication
    4. Announcements and screens over doors, typical in Europe and Asia
    5. Variable message signs legibility (e.g., font, case, style, and location)
  2. Audible messages
    1. Clarity of announcements
    2. Assistive listening
      1. Provide assistive listening (induction loops) throughout the train in bathrooms, meal cars, bedrooms and in bi-level rail cars
      2. Evaluate technical feasibility of induction loops on rail cars
    3. all announcements in American Sign Language as well as text
  3. Fixed Signage
    1. Legibility of signs (e.g., font, case, style, and location)
    2. Scoping for certain types of signs (e.g., location, number, etc.)
      1. Menu information accessible
    3. When and how to provide non-visual formats (e.g., tactile) 
    4. Visibility and frequency of station name signs by persons seated on-board in wheelchair space and those standing
  4. New Technologies
    1. Examine the potential for providing messages on hand-held devices such as smartphones – tri-mode communication
    2. Examine how to address onboard route mapping, trainvision, and other real-time communication systems
  5. Emergency Notification
    1. Use of bed shakers and visible door knocks for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
    2. Notification of persons with vision impairments
    3. Back-up power to service emergency notification devices
    4. Visual emergency alerts (flashing fire alarms and such) in all parts of the rail cars -- compartments, main area, restrooms, etc.
  6. Lighting
    1. Lighting in circulation areas, restrooms, sleeping compartments, step wells, and in any other areas
    2. Task lighting and on-demand passenger controls
  7. Other communications issue
    1. How to address the information needs of riders with cognitive disabilities
    2. How to make messages accessible when they are exterior to the vehicle and are not station-based
    3. How to provide access to information where tour-type (docent) service is provided in inaccessible locations, e.g., on the upper level of a car without vertical access
    4. How to make stop request device in vestibules  accessible
    5. Examine potential overlaps with FTA and FRA requirements, e.g., conductor and crew call button
    6. Use of detectable warnings at exit stairs
      1. Characteristics of detectable warnings in these locations
    7. How to identify which doors open on interior & exterior of cars when not all doors may open  (from Boarding/Alighting)
    8. Audible and visible alerts prior to door closing (from Boarding/Alighting)
    9. Scoping for sleeping rooms for persons with communications needs (from Other)

Lighting (moved to Communications, since committee considered lighting a communication issue for all modes)

  1. Lighting in circulation areas, restrooms, sleeping compartments, and in any other areas
  2. Task lighting and on-demand passenger controls

Boarding/Alighting (Spatial, applies to all modes)

  1. Use of devices on-vehicle versus platform-based boarding devices
    1. When is permanent versus temporary installation appropriate
    2. Back-up methods for mechanical lifts
    3. Impact on dwell time / service levels
  2. Platforms
    1. How best to address the use of bus and light rail boarding devices on shared platforms
    2. Definition of level boarding (+/- 5/8") for light/heavy & intercity long trains at level platforms
    3. Evaluate different car types and implications for level boarding 
    4. Commuter railroad shares ROW with freight
  3. Wheelchair lifts
    1. Possibly increase lifting capacity– 800 lbs. minimum
    2. How best to address extreme super-elevations
    3. Lift platform barrier height
    4. Self-operable lifts
  4. Ramps
    1. Rethink the ramp slope and railing requirements
    2. On-board storage of ramps
  5. Bridgeplates
    1. Barriers and crowding conditions
      1. Is space requirement similar to bus ramps/lifts?
    2. Examine how bridgeplates interact with detectable warnings on the platform
    3. Consider alternatives for near level boarding , e.g., low floor vehicles and bridge plates
  6. Light rail
    1. Examine implications of 60-70% low floor vs 100% low floor vehicles
  7. Gaps
    1. Examine the potential for gap filler devices on vehicles or platforms
    2. Examine European pop-out steps
  8. Doors and doorways
    1. Minimum width of doorway and each leaf
    2. Handrails to assist with boarding and alighting
    3. How to provide accessible entry to each boarding and alighting area
      1. Examine the potential for bi-level access from the station
    4. How to identify which doors open on interior & exterior of cars when not all doors may open (moved to communications)
    5. Audible and visible alerts prior to door closing (moved to communications)
  9. Other
    1. Full high-platform level boarding should be the highest priority and most preferred method of boarding on all rail modes, whether light rail, rapid rail, intercity rail, and/or commuter rail.  When level boarding is not required or possible, boarding should be, as often as possible, by ramp or bridge-plate as the primary 100% reliable and quick means for boarding, and clearly making mechanical lifts a back-up alternative when possible. Where mechanical lifts are needed, they should be car-borne, not station-based.
    2. Full level boarding, all doors and all cars should be provided.  When full level boarding is not required, add ramps, bridgeplates, etc.

Onboard Circulation (Spatial, applies to all modes)

  1. Features of the circulation path
    1. Characteristics of circulation paths, including walking surfaces, protruding objects, maneuvering clearances within vestibules, changes in level, thresholds, and other onboard circulation features 
    2. Doors
      1. How best to make doors and flexible connections between cars accessible
      2. Address operation of sliding doors, consider power doors and locks
    3. Aisle width in each type of car
    4. Stanchion and handhold criteria
    5. Consideration of an on-board lift to access bi-level cars, especially dome or viewing cars
  2. Spaces within the train
    1. Consider hardware solutions to ensure the availability of accessible features when they are used to store luggage; as additional standing space, etc.
    2. Access to and within special cars, e.g., observation cars, dining cars, lounge cars
    3. Determine how best to address accessibility in various types of bi-level cars. 
  3. Escape and Egress
    1. Operation of emergency egress devices window controls 
    2. Features to support use of emergency evacuation devices and storage for such devices Onboard evacuation chairs, etc.
  4. Other
    1. Connections to service animal relief areas (from Other)

Wheelchair Space and Other Seating (Spatial, applies to all modes, except baggage area for intercity)

  1.  Scoping
    1. Number of wheelchair spaces according to vehicle type
    2. Examine the possibility of requiring readily removable seats to provide additional spaces for people using mobility devices
    3. Number and location of priority seating
  2. Wheelchair Space Design
    1. Maneuvering space to access wheelchair spaces
    2. Minimum size of wheelchair space
      1. Consider sizes in PRIIA, i.e., 32” X 59”
      2. Consider whether minimum spaces should vary according to vehicle type
    3. Amenities and controls within wheelchair spaces equivalent to those provided people in inaccessible seating, e.g., tray tables, cell charging outlets, lighting, operable windows, movies, etc.
    4. Availability of windows adjacent to wheelchair spaces
    5. Space for baggage on inter-city
  3. Specific features associated with wheelchair seating
    1. Knee and toe clearance under tables
    2. Define minimum table size 
  4. Consider the need for and characteristics of wheelchair securement devices
  5. Other types of accessible seating
    1. Transfer seats
      1. Need tray tables and ability to seat in the direction of travel
    2. Seating to accommodate service animals
      1. Minimum  space needed, number, and location
    3. Larger and stronger seats for passengers who are larger and heavier

Rest Rooms (Spatial, applies to all modes with rest rooms)

  1. Consider alternate designs in existing accessibility standards and in use in other countries
  2. Accommodate dependent and independent transfers
  3. Examine PRIIA, CAL train, and Acela restroom designs vs. existing standards
  4. Turning radius in toilet rooms (some think California does this well)
  5. Consider sidewall alongside toilet

Sleeping Compartments (Spatial, applies to Intercity)

  1. Scoping for sleeping rooms for persons with communications needs (moved to Communications)
  2. Ensure that controls and amenities are accessible
    1. Controls within reach
      1. Light controls reachable from the bed and seating
      2. Outlet locations
      3. Redundant accessible controls where controls are inaccessible
    2. Accessible solid surface tables with knee and toe space beneath
    3. Define minimum table size
    4. Visual doorbells/knockers so that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can lock their doors and be alerted when someone needs to enter
  3. Bed heights that permit transfer from a wheelchair
  4. Minimum space requirements
    1. With and without bed deployed
    2. Turning space
    3. Egress and emergency operation of doors
    4. Space to access features, clear space, location, etc.
  5. Evaluate bathroom design, including showers, when located within the compartment
  6. Space for service animals
  7. Access to other sleeping car amenities outside of the sleeping compartment
  8. Power doors and locks on sliding doors

Dining (Spatial, applies to all modes with dining)

  1. Accessible tables with knee and toe space
  2. Accessible service counters
  3. Accessible self-service, e.g., vending machines, condiments, coffee, etc.
  4. Consider recommendations for access to bi-level dining


  1. Connections to service animal relief areas (moved to Onboard Circulation)
  2. How best to address (crewless) automated rail systems
  3. How to provide incentives for innovative universal design practices (moved to General)
  4. Recognize that not all access concerns have an architectural solution
  5. Need car design information, such as drawings, to assess feasibility of ideas
  6. Consider operational equivalencies
  7. Standards for websites and smart phones (deleted)
  8. Consideration of accessibility on bi-level cars where level change is not possible
  9. Consideration of international solutions