Updated ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buses and Vans
Regulatory Process Matters
A. Final Regulatory Assessment (EO 12866)
Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs; tailor the regulation to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives; and, in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits. Important goals of regulatory analysis are to (1) establish whether Federal regulation is necessary and justified to achieve a market failure or other social goal and (2) demonstrate that a range of reasonably feasible regulatory alternatives have been considered and that the most efficient and effective alternative has been selected. Executive Order 13563 also recognizes that some benefits are difficult to quantify and provides that, where appropriate and permitted by law, agencies may consider and discuss qualitatively those values that are difficult or impossible to quantify, including equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts.
The Access Board prepared a final regulatory impact analysis (Final RA) that assesses the likely benefits and costs of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. Expected benefits are discussed and likely incremental. Compliance costs for new requirements are monetized for the projected 12-year regulatory timeframe, including potential costs to small businesses offering OTRB-provided transportation, charter, and sightseeing services. The Final RA also incorporates several “stress tests” to assess the relative impact of hypothetical adjustments to selected cost-related assumptions on overall results. A complete copy of this final regulatory assessment is available on the Access Board’s website (www.access-board.gov), as well the Federal Government’s online rulemaking portal (www.regulations.gov).
1. Costs: Summary of Methodology and Results
On the cost side, the Final RA estimates the economic impact of new or revised requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines that are expected to have an incremental impact relative to the existing guidelines or current transit industry practices. As with the proposed rule, most of the changes in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines are stylistic or editorial only, and thus not expected to have an incremental cost impact. There are, however, five requirements (or related sets of requirements) in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines for which regulated entities are expected to incur incremental compliance costs. One of these requirements (i.e., automated stop and route announcement systems) applies only to certain large transit agencies. The other four requirements—signage for accessible seating and doorways, exterior destination or route signs, public address systems, and stop request systems—while applicable to non-rail vehicles, are only “new” for OTRBs. (Such requirements have been in effect for buses and vans since 1991.)
For purposes of assessing the likely cost impact of these five requirements over the 12-year regulatory time horizon, the Final RA uses a unit cost approach that reflects both initial costs (e.g., equipment, installation, and training) and ongoing costs (e.g., operation and maintenance), as applicable for each respective requirement. While the cost methodology used in the Final RA builds on the cost methodology used in the regulatory assessment that accompanied the proposed rule, see U.S. Access Board, Cost Estimates for Automated Stop and Route Announcements (July 2010) (copy available on agency website), it also incorporates revisions to certain estimates, assumptions and modelling approaches. These changes were made to, among other things, address comments, reflect changes in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines, and incorporate updated research or data. Revisions and updates reflected in the Final RA’s cost methodology include: use of three (rather than two) sets of cost assumptions—low, medium, and high—when estimating incremental costs of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines; incorporation of the four new accessibility requirements for OTRBs into the cost model; evaluation of the cost impact of the automated announcement systems requirement using three size-based “tiers” (Tiers I, II and III) for large transit entities; and, addition of a small business analysis.
In sum, the Final RA estimates annual costs of the five new or revised accessibility requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines with incremental impacts for each of the twelve “regulatory years” and, within each of these years, separately for each of three (i.e., “high,” “medium/primary,” and “low”) cost scenarios. (Annual costs estimates under each cost scenario are generated by respectively indulging all applicable “high” cost assumptions, all “medium” cost assumptions, and all “low” cost assumptions.) Generally speaking, the “medium” cost estimates collectively serve as the primary scenario in the Final RA when calculating incremental costs because it models the most likely set of cost assumptions, while the “low” and “high” cost estimates respectively provide the lower- and upper-bound cost projections.
In terms of results, the Final RA evaluates the cost impact of the new accessibility requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines from three main perspectives: total costs; annualized costs to large transit entities for automated announcement systems; and annualized costs for the four accessibility requirements that are newly applicable to OTRBs. The results for each of these three cost perspectives are summarized below.
Annualized Cost of New or Revised Accessibility Requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines
Table 3 below provides the annualized cost, under each of the Final RA’s three cost scenarios, for the five new or revised accessibility requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines that are expected to have an incremental cost impact. All monetized costs were estimated over a 12-year time horizon using discount rates of 3% and 7%.
Table 3 - Annualized Cost of New Accessibility Guidelines in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines for Buses, Vans, and OTRBs, All Regulatory Years (3% and 7% Discount Rates)
|Discount Rate||Low Scenario ($millions)||Primary Scenario ($millions)||High Scenario ($millions)|
These results show that annualized costs of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines will, most likely range from $4.5 million to $ 5.0 million, depending on the discount rate. Notably, even under the high scenario, annualized costs are not expected to exceed $8 million. Results from the Final RA thus demonstrate that the expected cost impact of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines falls far below the threshold for economic (monetary) significance of regulatory actions provided in EO 12866. See EO 12866, § 3(f)(1) (defining “significant regulatory action” as, among other things, a rule that would likely have an “annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more”).
Annualized Costs to Large Transit Entities for Automated Announcement Systems
Second, the Final RA also examines likely annualized costs related to the requirement that large transit entities provide automated announcement systems for stop and route identification on their large vehicles operating in fixed route bus service. Large transit agencies, in turn, are defined in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines as public transportation providers operating 100 or more buses in annual maximum service in fixed route bus modes, through either direct operation or contract, based on annual data required to be reported to the National Transportation Database [hereafter, “VOMS 100 threshold”]. See T104.4 (defining “large transit entity”); see also 49 CFR pt. 37 (regulations governing the DOT-administered National Transportation Database). While the scope of the automated announcement systems requirement is thus necessarily limited to larger transit entities, there are still—relatively speaking—a wide range of “sizes” within the community of covered transit agencies, which can range in fleet size from just over 100 buses operating in fixed route bus service to hundreds.
Accordingly, to provide a more refined picture of estimated costs to large transit entities for automated announcement systems, the Final RA separately models costs for this requirement based on three prototypical size-based “tiers”—Tiers I, II & III—with Tier I being on the smaller end of the size spectrum and Tier III on the larger end. These three size-based tiers are intended to represent the typical range of “sizes” of large transit agencies covered by the automated announcement system requirement. Assumptions about relevant cost-modeling characteristics for each of these three tiers of large transit agencies—namely, the number of large buses in annual maximum service in fixed route bus modes, fixed routes, garages, vehicle operators, and mechanics—along with estimates concerning the status and nature of current ITS deployments (if any) by these transit entities, serve as the framework for modeling costs.19 As detailed in the Final RA, assumptions about the number of transit agencies per tier, as well as their respective fixed route bus fleets and current state of ITS deployments, were developed from research by Access Board staff and data reported in the 2014 National Transportation Database. See Final RA, Section 5.1.1.
It also bears noting that the Final RA’s cost model for the automated announcement systems requirement accounts for potential growth by public transit agencies over time. That is, it is assumed that, every third year during the 12-year regulatory timeframe, one transit agency will “cross” the VOMS 100 threshold, and, thereby, become newly subject to the requirement for automated announcement systems. These “new” large transit agencies are assumed to have characteristics similar to—though slightly smaller than—large transit agencies in “Tier I,” based on the assumption that transit entities crossing the VOMS threshold will do so in an incremental fashion. See Final RA, Section 5.1.1.
Presented in Table 4 below are per-agency annualized costs for the automated announcement systems requirement under each of the Final RA’s three cost scenarios. These annualized costs range from about $44,000 (for a Tier I agency under the low scenario) to about $430,000 (for a Tier III agency under the high scenario). Under the primary scenario, which models the most likely set of cost assumptions, per-agency costs for announcement systems are estimated to be as follows: Tier I - $80,659; Tier II - $154,985; and, Tier III: $264,968.
Table 4 - Annualized Per Agency Costs of Automated Announcement Systems Requirement for Large Transit Agencies (Tiers I, II & III)
|Low Scenario||Primary Scenario||High Scenario|
|Large Transit Agency - Tier I||$44,208||$80,659||$129,305|
|Large Transit Agency - Tier II||$76,678||$154,985||$248,313|
|Large Transit Agency - Tier III||$129,444||$264,968||$429,715|
These annualized cost figures underscore the logical cost corollary that per-agency costs directly relate to agency size, with the “smallest” large transit agencies (Tier I) experiencing the lowest annualized costs under all scenarios, and, conversely, the “largest” large transit agencies (Tier III) having the highest annualized costs. Nonetheless, even for Tier III agencies, costs are not estimated to exceed $450,000 annually under even the high scenario.
Annualized Costs of New Accessibility Requirements for OTRBs
The third set of cost results presented in the Final RA relates to the four new OTRB-related accessibility requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. Because various transportation-related industry sectors use OTRBs for scheduled transportation services, charter services, sightseeing, and other services, these accessibility requirements (unlike the automated announcement systems requirement) do not affect a discrete a set of regulated entities. Consequently, reliable estimates of per-firm costs related to the new OTRB accessibility requirements cannot be made. Instead, the Final RA examines costs for these four requirements on a per-vehicle and per-requirement basis.
With respect to per-requirement costs, the Final RA evaluates the respective costs of each of the four new OTRB accessibility requirements under the three cost scenarios over the projected 12-year term of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. For each cost scenario, results are broken down separately (in nominal dollars) by requirement for each year, and then presented as rolled-up annualized values for all requirements at 3% and 7% discount rates. In sum, the annualized cost for these four new requirements collectively across all OTRBs is estimated to be $0.9 million under the primary scenario at a 7% discount rate, while the low and high scenarios respectively project $0.5 million and $1.4 million in annualized costs using the same discount rate. For a complete presentation of cost-per-requirement results, see Final RA, Section 7.1.3 & Appendices F-1 to F-3.
Second, in terms of per-vehicle costs, the Final RA examines likely costs related to the four new OTRB accessibility requirements. Annualized costs of these new requirements are examined under each of the three cost scenarios, with results presented on a per-vehicle basis using 3% and 7% discount rates. The results from these per-vehicle annualized cost analyses are presented below in Table 5.
Table 5 - Per-Vehicle Annualized Costs of New Accessibility Requirements for OTRBs
|Low Scenario||Primary Scenario||High Scenario|
|3% Discount Rate||$631||$1,124||$1,754|
|7% Discount Rate||$549||$971||$1,513|
As this table demonstrates, the cost of the new OTRB accessibility requirements are expected to be quite modest, when viewed from a per-vehicle perspective, under all three cost scenarios. Indeed, annualized costs per vehicle are only expected to be about $1,100 or less (depending on the discount rate) under the primary scenario.
2. Benefits: Qualitative Summary of Benefits
Benefits of the revised accessibility requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines to persons with disabilities (and others)—while significant—are not quantified or monetized in the Final RA, but instead described from a qualitative perspective. Such benefits are particularly challenging to quantify or monetize due to a variety of considerations. These challenges include: (a) a lack of current, reliable statistics on ridership by persons with specific disabilities on transit buses and OTRBs; (b) the fact that persons with disabilities will experience benefits differently, depending on the nature of their respective disabilities, and the current level of accessibility provided by the transit system or OTRB they wish to use; (c) the unknown extent to which improved accessibility of transit buses and OTRBs may either spur new demand among persons with disabilities who do not currently use such vehicles due to accessibility barriers that are addressed by the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines, or increase demand among current passengers with disabilities; (d) the extent to which persons with disabilities have reliable access to transportation, since, even when accessible, vehicles cannot be used if a potential passenger cannot reach them; (e) personal transportation preferences of persons with disabilities, who, like all individuals, make transit decisions for multiple reasons, some of which are unrelated to accessibility; and (f) the inherent challenges posed by monetization of key benefits of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines, such as equity, fairness, independence, and better integration into society.
While the foregoing factors make formal quantification or monetization of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines’ benefits inherently difficult, their significant benefits can still be amply described. The most significant benefits from the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines are expected to flow from the automated stop and route announcement systems requirement. The failure to announce stops and other identifying route information has been a recurring problem under the existing regulatory regime. See Final RA, Section 3.2. By requiring audible and visible notification of upcoming stops and identifying route information through automated announcements, the new requirement is expected to deliver significant benefits to passengers with vision- or hearing-related disabilities who use fixed route buses and OTRBs, or who would use such services absent communications barriers. Id. at Section 6.
Consistent and intelligible stop and route announcements, for example, may enable passengers who are blind or have low vision—for the first time—to use fixed route service independently, or permit them to do so more reliably and with greater frequency. Automated announcements are also expected to generate time savings by lessening (if not preventing) situations in which passengers with vision- or hearing-related disabilities disembark at the wrong stop, and then must wait for another bus (or other means of transportation) to transport them to their desired destination. In sum, the automated announcement systems requirement will not only deliver direct and substantial benefits to fixed route passengers with vision- or hearing-related disabilities, but will also promote fairness by ensuring a more consistent approach to announcements on fixed route buses across the country.
Individuals with other types of disabilities may also experience benefits from the automated announcement system requirement. Studies have shown that individuals with cognitive or intellectual disabilities also frequently face communications barriers when using fixed route transit, and, thus will benefit from consistent, reliable stop and route announcements, such as those provided by automated announcement systems.20 Additionally, for individuals with significant mobility impairments, automated stop announcements may mean the difference between getting off at the correct stop and getting off at the wrong stop—due to unintelligible (or non-existent) stop or route announcements—to face a physically arduous or hazardous journey to his or her intended destination (or other location that gets the trip back on track). See Final RA, Section 6 (summarizing findings from transportation research studies on the importance of consistent and intelligible stop and route announcements to passengers with disabilities).
For the new OTRB-related requirements, benefits are expected to be similar to, though perhaps more incremental than, the benefits accruing from automated announcement systems. These four new accessibility requirements—identification of wheelchair spaces and accessible doorways (with the International Symbol of Accessibility) and priority seats (with signs), exterior destination or route signage, public address systems, and stop request systems—are all aimed at addressing communication barriers to use of, or use of accessible features on, OTRBs. Signage of wheelchair spaces and priority seats is expected to enable passengers with disabilities to more readily locate these accessibility features. Signage for accessible seating may also aid in deterring passengers without disabilities from using priority seating or setting packages or strollers in wheelchair spaces (when such spaces are not otherwise occupied by flip-down seating), thereby keeping them available for passengers with disabilities. Similarly, having accessible stop request mechanisms within reach of passengers seated in accessible seating on fixed-route OTRBs ensures that passengers with disabilities who use such seating can independently indicate their desire to disembark at the next designated stop. Public address systems, in turn, enable passengers with hearing-related disabilities (as well as other passengers) to better understand information conveyed by the vehicle operator, which, in the event of an emergency, could be of urgent significance. Lastly, having exterior route or destination signage on the front and boarding sides of OTRBs aids passengers with disabilities by making it easier to ascertain a given vehicle’s route, destination, or identity. Having such signage in both locations is particularly important, for example, at transit hubs, bus terminals, areas where multiple vehicles are parked simultaneously, or other locations where traffic or terrain make circling to the front of the vehicle difficult or hazardous.
Additionally, it bears noting that other individuals and entities, including transit agencies, may benefit indirectly from new accessibility requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. Several research studies on ITS deployments and automated announcement systems have shown that such systems often have the beneficial effect of increasing both customer satisfaction and ridership.21 For large transit agencies that do not yet have automated announcement systems, compliance costs incurred in deploying such systems might thus be offset in part by increases in fixed route ridership and fare revenue. Additionally, bus passengers who are unfamiliar with a particular route, or who are visiting from outside the area, may find the wayfinding assistance provided by automated stop and route announcements to be helpful.
3. Alternative Regulatory Approaches: Automated Announcement Systems
In promulgating a 100-bus VOMS threshold for large transit agencies subject to the automated announcement systems requirement, the Access Board considered other potential regulatory alternatives. Ideally, when determining the most appropriate numeric VOMS threshold for large transit agencies subject to the automated announcement system requirement, the Access Board would have evaluated the net (monetized) benefits of potential alternate thresholds as part of the regulatory calculus were such data available. See, e.g., OMB, Circular A-4, Regulatory Analysis 2-3, 7-9, 16-17 (Sept. 17, 2003). However, as noted above, data constraints, along with the inherent challenges posed by formal assessment of key benefits of the final rule for persons with disabilities (e.g., equity, fairness, independence, and better integration into society) precluded monetization of benefits attributable to the automated announcement systems requirement, or, more generally, the final rule. Accordingly, it was not possible to determine, from the perspective of economic efficiency, which VOMS threshold would be the most beneficial to society. The Access Board thus used other available information and considerations – such as analyzing NTD annual data – to tailor a VOMS threshold that reduces the burden of the automated announcement systems requirement on small entities, while, at the same time, ensuring that automated announcement system-equipped transit buses will be available to greatest number of persons with disabilities who use these vehicles.
As originally proposed, automated announcement systems requirement would have applied to all transit agencies regardless of the size of their large, fixed-route bus fleets. See Sections II (Regulatory History) & III (Major Issues – Automated Stop Announcements). The VOMS 100 threshold was initially added to the 2008 Draft Revised Guidelines at the behest of commenters who sought an exemption for smaller transit agencies. Id. Specification of this particular threshold was intended as a means of tailoring coverage of the automated systems requirement to larger, urbanized transit entities that were most likely to serve a significant population of persons with disabilities, as well as have the financial and technological resources to deploy automated announcement system functionality. Id. In this way, the Access Board views the VOMS 100 threshold as striking a reasonable balance between competing interests (e.g., improved communication accessibility versus not overburdening smaller transit agencies) while also remaining consistent with the ADA’s goals of reducing transportation barriers, and, more generally, ensuring consistent accessibility standards nationwide. See, e.g., 42 U.S.C. 12101.
Establishment of a VOMS 100 threshold for automated announcement systems in the final rule – as opposed to specification of a different numeric threshold – was based on not only these policy and legal considerations, but also quantitative analysis of data from the National Transportation Database (NTD). As detailed in the Final RA, the Access Board downloaded pertinent information from the 2014 NTD annual data to assess how drawing different numeric lines for the VOMS threshold might impact transit agencies of various sizes. See Final RA, Section 8. In sum, the resulting dataset encompassed nearly 700 urban transit entities of all sizes that reported operating one or more fixed-route bus modes. Id. Based on this data, the Access Board conducted comparative analyses of potential alternate VOMS thresholds (i.e., VOMS 50 and VOMS 250 thresholds) from several perspectives, including projected population of persons with disabilities in transit agencies’ respective service areas, estimated bus ridership by disabled passengers, and potential availability of Federal funds for ADA-related capital expenditures (such as deployment of automated announcement systems). Id. These comparative analyses of potential alternate VOMS thresholds showed, from a quantitative perspective, that the VOMS 100 threshold struck a reasonable, middle-ground metric in terms of the scope of covered large, urban transit agencies.
B. Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires Federal agencies to analyze the impact of regulatory actions on small entities, unless an agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. See 5 U.S.C. 604, 605 (b). Based on the results from the Final RA, the Access Board does not believe that the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines will have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. Nonetheless, to promote better understanding of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines as applied to small entities operating in transportation-related business sectors, the Access Board provides below a final regulatory flexibility analysis consistent with section 604 of the RFA.
Summary of the need for, and objectives of, the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that the Access Board establish accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles that are acquired or remanufactured by entities covered by the ADA. See 42 U.S.C. 12204, 12149(b). The Access Board’s guidelines for transportation vehicles were initially promulgated in 1991, and thereafter amended in 1998 to include accessibility requirements for OTRBs. Given the passage of nearly two decades, these existing guidelines are in need of a “refresh” for two primary reasons: to incorporate new accessibility-related technologies, such as automated announcement systems and level boarding bus systems, and ensure that the transportation vehicle guidelines are consistent with the agency’s other guidelines and standards issued since 1998.
Most of the revisions in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines are editorial only. These revised guidelines use a new organizational format that is modelled after the Access Board’s current guidelines for buildings and facilities that were issued in 2004. Additionally, as part of its efforts to update the existing guidelines, the Board has also endeavored to write the final rule in terms that make its requirements simpler and easier to understand. There are, however, five areas in which technical requirements in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines have substantively changed relative to the existing guidelines. One of these requirements (i.e., automated stop and route announcement systems) only applies to large transit entities and, therefore, does not impact any small entities. The other four requirements—identification of wheelchair spaces and accessible doorways (with the International Symbol of Accessibility) and priority seats (with signs), exterior destination or route signage, public address systems, and stop request systems—while applicable to all non-rail vehicles, are only “new” for OTRBs. (Such requirements have been in effect for buses and vans since 1991.) The revisions in the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines will help ensure that buses, vans, and OTRBs are readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. Compliance with the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines is not required until the Department of Transportation (DOT) adopts these revised guidelines as enforceable accessibility standards for ADA-covered buses, OTRBs, and vans.
Summaries of significant issues raised by public comments in response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis and discussion of regulatory revisions made as a result of such comments. Commenters did not raise any issues related to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis presented in the 2010 NPRM.
Estimates of the number and type of small entities to which the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines will apply. Small governmental jurisdictions (i.e., state or local government units with a population of less than 50,000) and small businesses (i.e., small private entities that meet the size standards established by the Small Business Administration (SBA)) will be affected by the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines only to the extent they are subject to DOT’s ADA regulations covering transportation services for individuals with disabilities (49 CFR Part 37) , which, in turn, must be “consistent with” the Access Board’s accessibility guidelines.
The Final RA also provides a small business analysis that evaluates the number of small entities potentially affected by the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines, and the likely economic impact on such entities. See Final RA, Sections 4.3 & 8. In sum, the Final RA’s small business analysis finds as follows. First, the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines are only expected to have an economic impact on small (private) firms that operate OTRBs in fixed route service. No small governmental jurisdictions are expected to incur compliance costs under the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines given that the automated announcement systems requirement only applies to large transit entities (i.e., transit agencies operating 100 or more buses in annual maximum service in fixed route bus modes). According to the current (2014) National Transit Database, none of transit entities that report operating 100 or more buses in annual maximum service in fixed route bus modes have service areas or urbanized area (UZA) populations under 50,000.22
Second, the Final RA’s small business analysis evaluates the number of small businesses that potentially may be affected by the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. Small firms operate OTRBs for a variety of purposes, but predominant uses include: provision of fixed route passenger service within or among cities, passenger charter services, airport shuttle services, sightseeing tours, and packaged tours. While these services do not squarely align with any single business sector the under the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), they best “map” to the following four 6-digit NAICS codes: 485113 (Bus and Other Motor Transit Systems); 485210 (Interurban and Rural Bus Transportation); 485510 (Charter Bus Industry); and 487110 (Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Land).23 Data were compiled from the 2012 U.S. Economic Census (released in June 2015) to determine the number of small OTRB firms within each of these four transportation-related NAICS codes. The Economic Census data show that firms within these four transit/transportation/charter/sightseeing industry sectors are, based on SBA-defined size standards, overwhelmingly small businesses. The number and percentage of small businesses in each of the four NAICS codes are provided below in Table 6.
Table 6 - Number and Percentage of Small Businesses in Four OTRB-Related Business Sectors
|2012 NAICS Code||NAICS Description||Total Firms||Small Business Firms||Small Business Firms\|
|(% of Total Firms)|
|485113||Bus and Other Motor Vehicle Transit Systems||625||584||93.4%|
|485210||Interurban and Rural Bus Transportation||397||369||92.9%|
|485510||Charter Bus Industry||1,265||1,211||95.7%|
|487110||Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Land||543||517||95.2%|
It bears noting, however, that firm data in Table 6 above likely overestimates the number of small firms affected by the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. This is due to the fact that the four listed NAICS codes encompass transportation, charter, and sightseeing services provided by vehicles other than OTRBs, such as trolley buses, transit buses, or historic rail cars. In other words, these NAICS codes are not restricted to transportation services provided exclusively by OTRBs. There are no NAICS codes, however, directed solely to OTRB-provided transportation or other services. Accordingly, despite their limitations, these four NAICS codes nonetheless provide the best available framework (given current data limitations) for estimating the number of small firms that may operate OTRBs and, thereby, potentially incur compliance costs under the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines.
Description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines. As noted below in Section V.E., discussing the Paperwork Reduction Act, the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines impose no reporting or record-keeping requirements on any entities, regardless of size. The Access Board acknowledges that there may be other minor, indirect administrative costs incurred by regulated entities—including small businesses—as a result of the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines, including such tasks as becoming familiar with the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines, or keeping track of the operational status of onboard equipment for automated announcement systems. However, such compliance costs are expected to be neither significant nor disproportionately borne by small entities.
Description of the steps taken by the Access Board to minimize the economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of the ADA. In the 2007 Draft Revised Guidelines, the Access Board considered requiring all public transit agencies to provide automated announcement systems on large fixed route buses, regardless of the size of the agency. Several commenters, including the American Public Transit Association, expressed concern that the cost of providing such announcement systems would be prohibitive for small transit agencies. Consequently, in the NPRM, the Access Board proposed to limit application of the automated announcement system requirement to large transit agencies. This limitation, as noted above, has the practical effect of excluding all small public transit agencies from the automated announcement systems requirement.
C. Executive Order 13132: Federalism
The final rule adheres to the fundamental federalism principles and policy making criteria in Executive Order 13132. The 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines are issued pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is civil rights legislation that was enacted by Congress pursuant to its authority to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to regulate commerce. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of transportation services. See 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The ADA requires transportation vehicles acquired or remanufactured by covered entities to be readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. The ADA recognizes the authority of state and local governments to enact and enforce laws that provide for greater or equal protection for the rights of individuals with disabilities.
D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act does not apply to proposed or final rules that enforce constitutional rights of individuals or enforce statutory rights that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or disability. Since the 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines are issued pursuant to the ADA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, an assessment of the rule’s effect on state, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector is not required.
E. Paperwork Reduction Act
Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Federal agencies are generally prohibited from conducting or sponsoring a ‘‘collection of information’’ as defined by the PRA, absent OMB approval. See 44 U.S.C. 3507 et seq. The 2016 Non-Rail Vehicle Guidelines do not impose any new or revised collections of information within the meaning of the PRA.
F. Availability of Materials Incorporated by Reference
Regulations issued by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) require Federal agencies to describe in their regulatory preambles the steps taken to ensure that incorporated materials are reasonably available to interested parties, as well as summarize the contents of referenced standards. See 1 CFR part 51.
The final rule incorporates by reference one voluntary consensus standard in T603.5, a standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) concerning securement systems for rear-facing wheelchair positions in transportation vehicles. In keeping with OFR regulations, the Access Board provides below the requisite information on the availability of this standard and a summary of its contents.
ISO 10865-1:2012(E), Wheelchair containment and occupant retention systems for accessible transport vehicles designed for use by both sitting and standing passengers — Part 1: Systems for rearward facing wheelchair-seated passengers, First Edition, June 5, 2012 [ISO Standard 10865-1:2012(E)]. The primary purpose of this standard is to limit movements of rear-facing wheelchairs and other mobility devices that could result in hazardous contact with vehicle interiors or injury to other passengers. The standard is applicable to vehicular securement systems used mainly in fixed route service when operated under normal and emergency driving conditions, where passengers are permitted to travel both sitting and standing. Specifications include design and performance requirements and associated test methods. Availability: This standard is available for inspection at either the U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111, (202) 272-0080 (voice), (202) 272-0082 (TTY), or the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html. Additionally, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has agreed to make an online read-only version of this standard available to the public without charge. This standard is also available for purchase from the International Organization for Standardization, ISO Central Secretariat, 1, ch. de la Voie-Creuse, CP 56, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store.htm).
List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 1192
Civil rights, Incorporation by reference, Individuals with disabilities, Transportation.
Approved by vote of the Access Board on May 23, 2016.
David M. Capozzi,