Events Celebrate the ADA’s 25th Anniversary

ADA 25th AnniversaryOn July 23, the Access Board joined the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a celebration of the ADA and its 25th anniversary. Attorney General Loretta Lynch opened the event which was held at the historic Great Hall at DOJ headquarters. She and other speakers, including EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Vanita Gupta, paid tribute to the ADA and its achievements as well as to those within and outside government who made its passage possible.

Attendees also heard remarks from members of Congress who played key roles is passing the ADA, including former Senators Robert Dole and Tom Harkin and Representative Steny Hoyer. The event also featured panels of members of the public who described how their civil rights were upheld by the ADA through enforcement actions by DOJ and EEOC. The event can be viewed online on DOJ’s ADA website.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at White House ADA reception.In addition, a reception celebrating the ADA was held at the East Room of the White House on July 20. Board Chair Sachin Pavithran and Executive Director David Capozzi attended. President Barack Obama spoke at the event and called attention to those who helped make the ADA reality, including legislators, activists, and others, many of whom were in attendance. He also touted the achievements of the ADA. “Thanks to the ADA,” the President declared, “the places that comprise our shared American life -- schools, workplaces, movie theaters, courthouses, buses, baseball stadiums, ... -- they truly belong to everyone."

Other anniversary events included:

  • A panel discussion, “Next 25 Years of the ADA,” at the Department of Labor featuring Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and former Senator Tom Harkin (July 21);
  • A consumer panel organized by the Federal Communications Commission on how advances in communication access have improved the personal and professional lives of people with disabilities (July 23);
  • Webable.tv held a special ADA 25th anniversary online town hall event that included an interview with Board Executive Director Capozzi (July 23);
  • A public celebration at the U.S. Department of Education that brought together policy and program leaders, community organizations, and youth to examine the ADA’s implementation and to explore new milestones to advance civil rights for people with disabilities (July 24);
  • Special exhibits and panel discussions on the ADA at the National Museum of American History (July 24 – 26); 
  • 10 days of free programs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts dedicated to the ADA, the culture of the disability community, and the 40th anniversary of VSA, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program (July 16 – 26); and
  • The Department of Transportation celebrated 25 years of implementing the ADA (July 29).

 


 

Board Releases Next Installment of the Online Guide to the ADA and ABA Standards

The next installment of the Board’s online guide to accessibility standards issued under the ADA and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) is now available. This material features a series of technical bulletins covering requirements for accessible routes in Chapter 4 of the ADA and ABA Standards, including doors and gates, ramps and curb ramps, and elevators and platform lifts. There is also a bulletin on referenced requirements for accessible means of egress. The documents explain and illustrate requirements in the standards, answer common questions, and offer best practice recommendations.

These bulletins join those released last year when the Board launched the online guide. The first installment provides guidance covering the first three chapters of the standards, including application and use of the standards, scoping in new construction, alterations, and additions, and basic “building block” technical provisions.

The online guide also features a popular series of animations that covers wheelchair maneuvering, entrances and doors, and toilet and bathing facilities. The new installment adds to the series an animation on hazards that protruding objects pose to people with vision impairments. This animation demonstrates standard cane technique, different examples of wall-mounted and free-standing protruding objects, and various treatments to reduce hazards and to make objects comply with specifications in the standards.

The Guide to the ADA Standards covers design requirements for places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities covered by the ADA. The Guide to the ABA Standards addresses similar standards that apply under the ABA to facilities that are designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds.

Future installments to the guides will be published as they become available. Users can sign-up to receive email updates on the release of new technical guides in the series.

 


Board Advisory Committee Submits Report on Rail Car Accessibility

train The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee (RVAAC) has submitted to the Board a final report on refreshing the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles. The committee's report provides detailed recommendations on updating provisions in the guidelines for fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail. Recommendations from the committee address rail car communications, boarding and alighting, on-board circulation, seating, and rooms and spaces.

The advisory committee, which the Board organized in 2013, includes representatives from advocacy organizations, transit operators, rail car manufacturers, and other stakeholders. Committee members reviewed the existing ADA guidelines and identified areas that need to be updated because of accessibility issues, advances in technology, changes in car design, and other factors.

Committee and subcommittee chairs briefed members of the Board on the report at a presentation on July 29. They highlighted key findings and recommendations of the report. These include recommendations for enhanced communication access through hearing induction loops, visual message systems, and tactile signs, greater use of level boarding, reducing gaps between vehicles and station platforms, and improved toilet room design.

At a later date, the Board will propose updates to its ADA vehicle guidelines based on the committee’s report and will make them available for public comment. The Board is currently finalizing updates to sections of the vehicle guidelines covering buses and vans which were previously released for public comment.

The committee’s report and related material is available on the Board's website. For further information, 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).

 


Upcoming Board Webinar

ab-laptopThe next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place September 3 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, and other topics related to the Board’s work. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session (total limited to 25) or can be posed during the webinar.

For more information, including registration instructions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits (CEUs). Archived copies of previous Board webinars are also available on the site. The webinar series is made available in cooperation with the ADA National Network.

 


DOJ Issues Guidance on Service Animals

DOJ sealADA regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) include specific provisions for the accommodation of service animals used by people with disabilities.  DOJ receives many inquiries on this subject and recently issued a new guidance that answers many common questions about service animals and ADA rules.  The 9-page document, “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA,” is intended to help covered entities understand their responsibilities under the ADA to accommodate people with disabilities and their service animals through "reasonable modifications" in policies, practices, or procedures.

 


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