Board Issues Technical Guide on Access to Outdoor Developed Areas

outdoor guide (cover)The Board has issued a technical guide on achieving access to outdoor developed areas. The 100-page document discusses and illustrates provisions of accessibility guidelines the Board issued last fall for outdoor sites developed by the federal government. These guidelines provide detailed specifications for accessible trails, picnic and camping areas, viewing areas, beach access routes and other components of outdoor developed areas when newly built or altered.

The new guide serves as a companion resource to the guidelines by explaining the intent of various requirements and how they can be met. It discusses provisions for trails and trailheads, outdoor recreation access routes, and beach access routes such as those addressing surface characteristics, width, and running and cross slopes. Outdoor constructed features, including viewing areas, camp sites, tent pads and platforms, picnic tables, grills, fire rings, and toilet and bathing facilities are also covered. In addition, the guide explains exceptions in the guidelines that may apply where compliance is not practicable because of terrain, prevailing construction practices, or other specified conditions.

The provisions for outdoor developed areas are part of the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards and apply to federal agencies that develop outdoor areas for recreational purposes, including the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. However, the guidelines and companion guide can be used as a resource by other entities, including those subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in addressing access to outdoor sites.

Visit the Board’s website for further information or contact Bill Botten at (202) 272-0014 (v), (202) 272-0073 (TTY), or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Advisory Committee on Rail Vehicles to Meet September 11 & 12

train The Board's Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee (RVAAC), which is assisting the Board in its update of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles, will hold its next meeting September 11 and 12 in Washington, D.C. The committee is reviewing sections of the guidelines that cover fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail and will make recommendations to the Board on how they should be updated. The agenda includes sessions of each subcomittee and reports on work completed by the subcommittees since the last full committee meeting in April.

Committee meetings are open to the public, and interested persons can attend and communicate their views on issues of interest during designated public comment periods. Members of the public can follow the proceedings remotely through a dial-in option or real-time captioning.

For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Paul Beatty at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 272-0012 (v), or (202) 272-0072 (TTY).

Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee Meeting
September 11 (10:00 – 5:00) and September 12 (9:30 – 3:00)   Preliminary Agenda
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.

Call-in option (listening only):
Dial: (888) 396-7314 (Toll number: (773) 756-0935
Passcode: 7519031
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART):
September 11:
September 12:


Upcoming Board Webinars

ab-laptopThe next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place September 4 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session with Board accessibility specialists. Questions are welcome on the Board’s accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, new standards being developed for medical diagnostic equipment, public rights-of-way accessibility, and other topics related to the Board’s work. For more information, including registration instructions, visit

The webinar series is made available in cooperation with the ADA National Network. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are also available on the site. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits (CEUs).

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series
The Board, in partnership with the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council, also conducts the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series. These webinars provide helpful information and best practices for federal agencies in meeting their obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which ensures access to electronic and information technology in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series will be held September 30 from 1:00 – 2:30 (ET). For further information, visit


DOJ Proposes Rules for Movie Theater Captioning and Audio Description

DOJ sealThe Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued for public comment a proposed rule that would require movie theaters to provide closed captioning and audio description under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This proposal would supplement DOJ’s ADA regulations.

"This proposed rule will allow all Americans, including those with disabilities, to fully participate in the movie-going experience,” stated Attorney General Eric Holder in announcing release of the proposed rule. “With this proposal, the Justice Department is taking an important step to ensure consistent access for people with vision and hearing disabilities."

Through this notice, DOJ intends to set a consistent nationwide standard for closed movie captioning and audio description. Closed movie captioning displays captions not on screens but discreetly through personal display devices provided upon request. Audio description provides people with vision impairments supplementary narration concerning visual elements, including settings, facial expressions, costumes, and scene changes, delivered through a wireless headset. DOJ’s proposal also addresses the minimum number of closed captioning and audio description devices based on seating capacity.

A six-month compliance date is proposed for movie theaters with digital screens. DOJ seeks comment on various topics, including a compliance timeframe for theaters with analog screens. Public comments on the proposal are due by September 30, 2014. Further information is available on DOJ’s website or by calling (800) 514-0301 (v) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).


Bureau of Engraving and Printing to Distribute Free Currency Readers

Bureau of Engraving and Printing seal and currency readerThe Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) will distribute free currency reader devices to people who are blind or visually impaired as part of an effort to improve access to printed money. BEP will begin a four-month pilot program on September 2 in partnership with the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) that will enable NLS patrons to pre-order the devices. NLS administers a free library program that circulates braille and audio materials to approximately 400,000 people through a national network of cooperating libraries. BEP will use this pilot phase to test ordering and distribution processes and to gauge demand.

A nationwide roll-out of the program will be initiated early next year. Starting on January 2, 2015, currency readers will be widely available to all U.S. citizens or persons legally residing in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired. To request a currency reader, those who are not NLS patrons must submit an application signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility. For further information on the program or applying for a currency reader, visit BEP’s website.

The U.S. Department of Education and BEP previously released apps for mobile devices that scan and identify currency images. There is an app for Apple iOS platforms (EyeNote®) and another for Android phones (IDEAL Currency Reader ®).


FCC Adopts Rules to Promote Text-to-911 Availability

FCC sealOn August 8, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules that require text messaging providers to enable 911 texting for emergencies. The four largest wireless carriers previously committed to enabling text-to-911 service by last May. The new rules require other wireless carriers and certain IP-based text application providers to support text-to-911 by year’s end. After that time, text messaging providers will have six months to deploy the service where requested by a 911 call center. The FCC also plans to issue a proposed rule seeking public comment on the continued evolution of text-to-911, including the delivery of location information and support for text-to-911 when roaming.

Text-to-911 availability, while currently limited, is rapidly expanding according to the FCC. Over 100 call centers in 16 states now accept emergency texts. To help protect consumers as text-to-911 is deployed, the FCC previously adopted rules that require text messaging providers to send an automatic “bounce-back” text message where the service is unavailable. For further information, visit the FCC’s website.


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.