The U.S. Access Board celebrates the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This landmark civil rights law has impacted the lives of millions of people with disabilities in the U.S. by improving access to public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into Titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life:
- Title I: Employment
- Title II: State and local government services
- Title III: Places of public accommodation and commercial facilities
- Title IV: Telecommunications for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments through telecommunications relay services, and requires closed captioning of federally funded public service announcements
The law extended the Board’s mission to issue accessibility guidelines for buildings, facilities, and transit vehicles based on research, public engagement with businesses, organizations, and individuals with disabilities, and collaboration with federal agencies through its rulemaking process.
On the first anniversary of the ADA in 1991, the Board published the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) that contain detailed design requirements for buildings and facilities in the private and public sectors. On the same day, the Department of Justice adopted ADAAG as the basis of its enforceable standards, which made compliance with the requirements mandatory under the ADA. A few weeks later, the Department of Transportation adopted the guidelines as its enforceable ADA standards for transportation systems.
The Board continues to develop technical assistance documents and ADA and ABA guides that explain requirements in the current editions of the ADA Guidelines and ABA Standards. The guides offer clearly labeled recommendations for best practices that exceed the minimum requirements. The Board’s website provides access to a complete list of the Board’s guidance documents, including its animations on accessibility to help design professionals understand the reason and method of application of the requirements in the standards.
The Board recently released its Design Recommendations for Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, a technical assistance document that reviews existing requirements and new recommendations for making electric vehicle (EV) charging stations accessible. This technical assistance will aid in the development of a national network of EV charging stations that is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
The Board also continues to manage a toll-free helpline and provides technical assistance via phone at 1-202-272-0800, extension 3 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm ET weekdays and email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Board also provides accessibility trainings, as well as free monthly webinars on the built environment and Section 508 best practices through its partnerships with the ADA National Network and the Federal Chief Information Officers Council’s Accessibility Community of Practice, respectively.