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August 21, 2017

During its July meeting, the Access Board met with stakeholders to gather feedback on an agency reform plan for improving its operations and services. Attendees included representatives from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Environmental Health Network, the Great Lakes ADA Center, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Park Service, the National Recreation and Park Association, The Paciello Group, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The Board convened this group to discuss ways it can improve and make more efficient its programs and activities, including technical assistance, training, and enforcement of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

Participants urged the Board to increase its outreach and external communications to make more people aware of its services and resources. They recommended that the Board work with professional and trade associations to disseminate information to their membership. In addition, the Board should expand its communications platform to include blogs, podcasts, and additional webinars.

Stakeholders expressed support for the technical guides and animations on the ADA and ABA Standards that the Board is issuing and recommended that the Board generate further guidance on other topics, such as outdoor environments, historic facilities, and access for people with environmental sensitivities. It was noted that guidance that explains the rationale or “why” behind provisions is especially helpful and that such resources should include best practices to encourage optimum design.

Many in attendance welcomed opportunities to collaborate with the Board on outreach, training, and webinars. The AIA, for example, which is launching a training module on accessibility, expressed interest in partnering with the Board on webinars. The Board will take these recommendations into account in finalizing its reform plan.