Board  to Hold Panel Discussions in New York City on May 15

Jacob K. Javits Federal BuildingThe Access Board will conduct public briefings on its work and hold several panel discussions on accessibility in New York City on May 15. The agenda also includes public question and answer sessions. The briefings will cover guidelines for outdoor developed areas on federal sites that the Board issued last year and new supplementary guidelines it will soon issue for emergency transportable housing.

Several panel discussions will be held on various topics, including New York's experience improving access to taxicabs, enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and rebuilding efforts after Super Storm Sandy. Briefings and panel discussions will take place in a morning session and an afternoon session. Both sessions will include open forums where members of the public can pose questions or comments on these or other topics of interest concerning accessibility.

All events are open to the public and will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in lower Manhattan. People can attend all events or just those of particular interest. For further information, contact Kathy Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 272-0041 (voice), or (202) 272-0065 (TTY). The Board requests that attendees refrain from wearing perfume, cologne and other fragrances for the comfort of all participants.

U.S. Access Board Briefings and Panel Discussions
May 15, 9:30 – 4:00
Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, 6th Floor, Conference Rooms A/B
26 Federal Plaza at Broadway and Worth (use Broadway entrance)

9:30 – 12:00

  • Board Briefing: Final Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas
  • Panel Discussion: Taxicab Accessibility in New York City
  • Including: Jim Weisman, United Spinal Association Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program, Ashwini Chhabra, Deputy Commissioner, NY City Taxi & Limousine Commission, and Marc Klein, Vice President, Airports Nationwide, Clean Energy
  • Panel Discussion: U.S. Department of Justice ADA Enforcement Actions
  • featuring David Kennedy, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
  • Public Question and Answer Period

1:30 – 4:00

  • Board Briefing: Supplementary Guidelines on Emergency Transportable Housing
  • Panel Discussion: Rebuilding after Super Storm Sandy
  • including: Susan Dooha, Executive Director for the Center for Independence of the Disabled, Rosemary Lamb, Director, Division of Advocacy, NY State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, Edith Prentiss, Disability Advocate, and Marcie Roth, Director of the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Public Question and Answer Period


Board Launches Online Guide to the ADA and ABA Standards

Technical guides and animations on the ADA and ABA StandardsThe Board has launched new online guides on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Standards and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards. This web-based material features illustrated technical guides that explain and clarify requirements of the ADA and ABA standards, answer common questions, and offer best practice recommendations. It also includes a series of animations on various subjects covered by the standards.

The initial installment of the guide covers the first three chapters of the standards, including application and use of the standards (Chapter 1), scoping in new construction, alterations, and additions (Chapter 2), and basic "building block" technical provisions (Chapter 3). Guides covering other sections of the standards will be released at a later date. The supplementary animations, which range in length from 6 to 10 minutes, address wheelchair maneuvering, doors and entrances, and accessible toilet and bathing facilities.

The Guide to the ADA Standards covers design requirements that apply to places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities subject to the ADA in new construction, alterations, and additions. 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.


President Appoints Access Board Members

Patrick D. Cannon, Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, Howard A. Rosenblum, and Deborah A. RyanPresident Barack Obama named Patrick D. Cannon to the Access Board and reappointed Board members Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, Howard A. Rosenblum, and Deborah A. Ryan. "I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country," the President stated in announcing the appointments, "I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."

Patrick Cannon of Lansing, Michigan was State Director of the Michigan Commission for the Blind from 1997 to 2012. He was also President of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind and served as Director of the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns for 10 years. He has served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Capital Area Transportation Authority since 1991 and was a member of the National Rehabilitation Association, the Council of State Administrators in Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Executive Board of the President's Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. Cannon previously served as a member of the Access Board from 1995 to 2003, including a term as its Chair. He succeeds John G. Box of Norco, California.

Karen L. Braitmayer is the founder of Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, Seattle, WA, an architectural consulting firm specializing in accessibility and accessible design. She advises state agencies, local governments, school districts, developers and architects on accessibility for housing, commercial, retail, institutional and educational projects. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and served on the Advisory Board of the Northwest ADA Center and on the Board of the Northwest Center (for people with Developmental Disabilities). Braitmayer was first appointed to the Access Board in 2010 and was elected its Chair in 2013.

Howard Rosenblum, who joined the Board in 2010, is Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in Silver Spring, Maryland, a leading civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Previously, he was an attorney at Equip for Equality, the designated Protection and Advocacy entity in Illinois from 2002 to 2011. He was an attorney at the firm of Monahan and Cohen in Chicago from 1992 to 2002, and a Civil Rights Enforcement Advocate at Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago from 1992 to 1993. Rosenblum is the co-founder and former Chairperson of the Midwest Center on Law.

Deborah Ryan of Boston, who was first appointed to the Board by President Obama in 2011, is the founder and Director of Deborah A. Ryan & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in ensuring compliance with state and federal accessibility requirements. Before creating her firm in 2002, Ryan served for over 25 years at the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board, including 15 years as its Executive Director. The MAAB develops and enforces state requirements for accessible buildings and facilities. She is also a member of the Boston Society of Architects Access Committee.

The Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among Federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. Half of its members are representatives from most of the Federal departments. The other half is comprised of members of the public appointed by the President.


Board Accepting Applications for General Counsel Vacancy

The Board is accepting applications for the position of General Counsel. James J. Raggio, who has served as the Access Board's General Counsel for over 25 years, plans to retire from government in late June. The vacancy announcement for this position is available on the website. Applications are due May 21, 2014. For further information, contact Tanya Johnston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 272-0004 (voice), or (202) 272-0059 (TTY).


Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board logoThe next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place May 1 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session on new requirements in the ABA Accessibility Standards for trails, camping and picnic facilities, viewing areas, and beach access routes on federal sites. Board staff will provide an overview of these requirements and respond to questions from participants. 

For more information, including registration instructions, visit A recorded version of a previous Board webinar that reviewed these requirements for outdoor environments on federal sites is also available.

The following webinar, which will take place June 5, will cover requirements in the ADA and ABA Standards for assembly areas. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice will join Board staff in conducting this webinar.


Board Advisory Committee on Rail Vehicles Holds Meeting

trainThe Board's Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee (RVAAC), which is assisting the Board in its update of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles, met April 10 and 11 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.

At the meeting, presentations were made by represenatives from the Federal Railroad Administration, the American Public Transportation Association’s Streetcar Subcommittee, the Ricon Corporation, Amtrak, and the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access. The agenda also included meetings of subcomittees organized by the committee. The subcommittees, which convene regularly by conference call in between meetings of the full committee, are addressing requirements for vehicle communications, boarding and alighting, on-board circulation and seating, and rooms and spaces.

The committee adopted a schedule for future subcommittee conference calls which members of the public can attend as well. Dial-in numbers and links for real-time captioning are posted 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).

RVAAC Subcommittee Conference Call Schedule
Time (all calls): 1:00 - 3:00 (ET)

  • Communications Subcommittee: May 1, June 5, July 3, August 7
  • On-board Circulation and Seating Subcommittee: May 7, June 12, July 10, August 14
  • Rooms and Spaces Subcommittee: May 29, June 19, July 17, August 21
  • Boarding and Alighting Subcommittee: May 22, June 25, July 24, August 28


FCC Issues New Standards for TV Closed Captioning

closed caption symbol (cc)The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued new standards to improve the quality and accuracy of TV closed captioning. The new rules apply to all television programming, including pre-recorded and live programs, and address caption accuracy, synchronicity, and placement. They also require full program coverage to the fullest extent possible. The standards are more comprehensive than earlier rules in establishing qualitative criteria for TV captioning and providing greater guidance to video programmers and programming distributors. In addition to the standards, the FCC included best practice recommendations for video programmers and captioning vendors in the rule.

In a related action, the FCC also issued a supplementary notice seeking public comment on ways to further enhance accessibility to television programming and to improve the FCC’s procedural rules. For more 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.