February 14, 2020; updated April 10, 2020

train

The Access Board is initiating rulemaking to update its accessibility guidelines for rail cars covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and seeks public comment on this effort. As indicated in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking it published today, the Board plans to update provisions in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles that apply to vehicles used in fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, and intercity rail. The Board requests information from the public for its use in developing a proposed rule.

 Public Hearing on the ANPRM 

March 10, 2020 2:00 – 4:00 (ET)
Hearing Notice
Call-In Option: (888) 396-7314 or International: 1 (773) 756-0935, Participant Code: 6538820
Communication access real-time translation:  www.streamtext.net/player?event=USAB
Contact: Rose Marie Bunales, (202) 272-0006, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Access Board Conference Center
1331 F Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC  20004-1111

For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

The Board intends to update these guidelines, which were published in 1991, according to an advisory panel it organized. The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee, which included representatives from advocacy organizations, transit operators, rail car manufacturers, and other stakeholders, reviewed the existing guidelines for rail vehicles and recommended how they should be updated to address accessibility issues, advances in technology, changes in car design, and other factors. The Committee’s report provides recommendations on provisions for vehicle communications, boarding and alighting, on-board circulation, seating, and rooms and spaces.

The advance notice discusses the committee’s report and includes questions posed by the Board. The Board seeks comment on both the substance of the recommendations from the committee as well as related questions about the feasibility or potential impacts on vehicle design, operations, and cost. It is also interested in research, data, and technologies on improved accessibility to rail vehicles.

Questions raised in the notice address coverage of new and remanufactured vehicles, variable message signs, hearing induction loops, vehicle ramps and lifts, car doors, between-car barriers, handrails and stanchions, wheelchair spaces, and vertical access in bi-level cars. The Board will use the information collected to draft a proposed rule which also will be made available for public comment.

The advance notice, which includes Instructions for submitting comments, is posted at www.regulations.gov (Docket ATBCB-2020-0002). Comments are due July 14, 2020. [Note: The comment period was extended 60 days to July 14, 2020, as indicated in a published notice.]

In addition, the Board will hold a public hearing on March 10 from 2:00 – 4:00 (ET) that will provide an opportunity to submit comments either in person or by phone. Those who wish to provide testimony should contact Rose Marie Bunales at (202) 272-0006 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For further information, visit the vehicles page or contact Juliet Shoultz at (202) 272-0045 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for technical questions or Wendy Marshall at (202) 272-0043 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for legal questions.