Access Board Issues Correction to ICT Refresh Final Rule

Section 508 and 255 Refresh with reload icon

On January 22, the Access Board issued a correction to its updated accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) to restore provisions on TTY access that were inadvertently omitted. The action applies to the final rule the Board published last January to jointly refresh its Rehabilitation Act (Section 508) standards for ICT in the federal sector and its Communications Act (Section 255) guidelines for telecommunications equipment.

The original Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines required that devices with two-way voice communication support use of TTY devices which provide text communication across phone connections for persons with hearing or speech impairments. In its ICT refresh, the Board had proposed replacing this provision with a requirement for real-time text (RTT) functionality, a new technology with significant advantages over TTYs. RTT transmits text in virtual real-time as each character is typed, whereas TTY messages can only be sent individually in sequence. Also, RRT technology is directly compatible with wireless and Internet protocol (IP) based networks.

In finalizing its rule, however, the Board chose to reserve the RTT requirement because the Federal Communications Commission had initiated its own rulemaking to address RTT functionality over TTY compatibility in IP-based telecommunication environments. In doing so, the Board intended to add the original TTY provision back into the rule, but the necessary language was unintentionally left out. The recent correction restores the TTY requirement with minor editorial changes for consistency with the new format and terminology of the updated requirements (Section 412.8). It also corrects a couple typographical errors in other sections of the rule. The corrections become effective March 23, 2018 without further action unless adverse comments are received.

For further information, visit the Board’s website or contact Timothy Creagan at (202) 272-0016 (v), (202) 272-0074 (TTY) or Bruce Bailey at (202) 272-0024 (v), (202) 272-0070 (TTY); email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 


Access Board to Hold Next Meeting on March 14

laptop with Board meeting on screen

The Access Board will hold its next meeting March 14 from 1:30 – 3:00 (ET) at the Board's conference space in downtown Washington, D.C. The public is welcome to attend in person or through a live webcast of the meeting. The meeting agenda includes election of Board officers and other activities.

A public comment period will be held during the final 15 minutes of the meeting. Those interested in making comments in person or by phone should send an email to Rose Bunales at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with “Access Board meeting - Public Comment” in the subject line. Please include your name, organization, state, and topic of your comment in the body of the message.

Meeting of the U.S. Access Board      
March 14, 1:30 – 3:00
Webcast link: www.access-board.gov/webcast
Access Board Conference Center 
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 
Note: For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

 


Upcoming Board Webinarslaptop with Access Board seal

The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place March 1 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and feature an open question-and-answer session. Questions are welcome on any of the Board’s guidelines or standards, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards and new standards for medical diagnostic equipment, as well as other topics related to the work of the Board. Questions can be submitted in advance or during the session.

Subsequent webinars in the series will cover:

  • Accessible Shared Streets: Notable Practices and Considerations for Accommodating Pedestrians with Vision Disabilities (April 5)
  • Recreation Facilities: A Refresher (May 3)
  • Federal Facilities & the ABA Accessibility Standards (June 7)
  • Transportation Facilities (July 12)
  • Accessible Airport Terminals (August 2)
  • Open Q & A (September 6)

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits (CEUs). Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site. The webinar series is made available in cooperation with the ADA National Network.

 


Staff DeparturesNeil Melick, Earlene Sesker, and Rex Pace

Two staff members of the Access Board will be leaving the agency in coming weeks. Neil Melick, Director of the Office of Administration, is retiring from government service in March. Melick joined the Board staff in November 2012 and before that served as a Board member. A native of Florida, he previously headed the West Palm Beach Construction Services Department and was a certified building official and active member of the regional codes community.

He will be succeeded by Earlene Sesker, a Board Accessibility Specialist for over 20 years who also currently serves as the agency’s Training Coordinator. Sesker was also active in the Board's development of new accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment (MDE). She joined the Board in 1993 as a compliance specialist.

Rex Pace, the Board’s Technical Assistance Coordinator, is heading to the General Services Administration (GSA) to serve as its National Accessibility Officer and to oversee its National Capital Region. In that capacity, he will also serve as GSA’s liaison to the Board. He joined the Board in 2011 where he coordinated its technical services and worked with Sesker on developing the MDE Standards. Prior to that, he worked at the Department of Justice’s Disability Rights Section and the Center for Universal Design. He also operated his own consultancy and has over 30 years of experience in accessible and universal design.

 


FAA Updates Guidance on Airport Accessibility

FAA logo

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has updated its guidance on airport accessibility to address relief areas for service animals and other topics. The revised Advisory Circular on Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities includes requirements and recommendations on service animal relief areas and lists advocacy and other organizations that can be consulted when installing them. It also provides guidance on accessible communications tools and signage, vehicle and transportation systems, aircraft and air carrier facilities, and boarding assistance. The circular explains requirements airport operators have under the ADA, the Air Carrier Access Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Architectural Barriers Act. Visit the FAA’s website for further information.

 


Access Currents is a free newsletter issued by the Access Board every other month by mail and e-mail. Send questions or comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (800) 872-2253 ext. 0026 (voice) or (800) 993-2822 (TTY). Mailing address: 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 1000; Washington, D.C. 20004-1111.