Board to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Salt Lake City on April 29

Salt Lake City flag (skyline against background mountains)On April 29 the Access Board will hold a town hall meeting in Salt Lake City at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The event will feature two panel discussions and a public hearing on the Board’s proposed update of accessibility requirements for information and communication technologies (ICT). In addition, the Board will hold a public forum on design education at the University of Utah on April 27.

The town hall meeting will open with an update on Board activities and a panel discussion on technology and people with disabilities will follow that will include representatives from Utah Assistive Technology, WebAIM, an organization that promotes website accessibility, and Sorenson Communications. Another panel discussion will focus on implementation of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) in the Salt Lake City area. This panel will include the city’s ADA Coordinator, the Utah Assistant Attorney General, and speakers from ADAPT and Disabled Rights Action, the Utah Transit Authority, and the Utah Division of Risk Management.

The public hearing will allow members of the public to provide comment on a proposed rule the Board issued in February to refresh requirements for ICT covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act. Witnesses must testify in person. This follows hearings the Board held earlier in San Diego and Washington, D.C. Written comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until May 28. Additional information on this rulemaking is posted on the Board’s website.

The lunchtime public forum on April 27 at the University of Utah will be dedicated to the topic: Learning and Teaching Accessible Design in the 21st Century: Building Communities for Everyone. Speakers will include the Chair of the University of Utah’s School of Architecture, the Director of DesignBuildBLUFF, and the Executive Director of ASSIST, Inc. Board member Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA will moderate the session which will take place in Gould Auditorium at the University’s J. Willard Marriott Library.

For more information on any of these events, or to sign-up to testify at the public hearing on the ICT proposed rule (recommended, but not required), 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). For the comfort of all participants, attendees are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances.

Public Forum: Learning and Teaching Accessible Design in the 21st Century: Building Communities for Everyone
April 27, 12:00 – 2:30
Gould Auditorium, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 S 1500 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Town Hall Meeting and Public Hearing
April 29, 2:00 – 5:30
Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
250 North 1950 West #B
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Schedule of Events
• Welcome and Update on Board Activities
• Panel Discussion on Technology and People with Disabilities
• Panel Discussion on ADA Implementation in the Salt Lake City Area
• Public Hearing on the ICT Proposed Rule (4:00 – 5:00)
• Open Microphone Session


Rail Access Advisory Committee to Meet April 23 & 24

trainThe 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 April 23 and 24 in Washington, D.C. The committee is developing recommendations for the Board’s use in updating sections of the guidelines that cover fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail.

At the meeting, committee members will continue work preparing the committee’s report to the Board. They will consider comments and revisions to an initial draft of the report circulated earlier. 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
April 23 (10:00 – 5:00) and April 24 (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 (International: (773) 756-0935)
Passcode: 3543951
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART):
April 23:
April 24:


Sachin Dev Pavithran Elected Chair of the Access Board

  Photo of Sachin Dev Pavithran  

Sachin Dev Pavithran


The Board unanimously elected Sachin Dev Pavithran as its new Chair on March 11. Pavithran of Logan, Utah is Program Director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. He was named to the Access Board by President Barack Obama in 2012.

“It is an honor to chair an agency that has done so much over the years to make equal access for people with disabilities a reality,” Pavithran stated. “Our buildings, transit systems, and information and communication technologies are more accessible and inclusive because of the work of the Board and the guidelines and standards it has established.”

In addition to his membership on the Access Board, Pavithran serves on the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs National Board, Senator Orrin Hatch’s (President Pro Tempore) Disability Advisory Committee, the Research and Development Committee of the National Federation of the Blind, and the National Multicultural Council of the Association of University Centers for Disabilities.

The Board also elected as Vice Chair Sue Swenson who serves as Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education. Board officers serve for a term of one year.

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.


In Memoriam: Michael Graves, FAIA 

  Michael Graves, FAIA 

   Michael Graves, FAIA
1934 - 2015

It is with great sadness that the Board announces the passing of Board Member Michael Graves, FAIA from natural causes on March 12. An influential and internationally known architect and designer, he was the founding principal of Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D).

“Since founding the firm in 1964, Michael transformed the role of architects and designers, and even the place of design in our everyday lives,” MGA&D announced in a statement. “For those of us who had the opportunity to work closely with Michael, we knew him as an extraordinary designer, teacher, mentor and friend.”

Graves was the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University where he taught for over 40 years. President Barack Obama appointed Graves to the Access Board in 2013.

“Michael was an exceptional and influential addition to the Board,” stated David M. Capozzi, the Access Board’s Executive Director. “His creativity and design ethos were powerfully informed by his sensitivity and understanding of human nature.”

Graves was internationally recognized as a healthcare design advocate and was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Healthcare Design by the Center for Health Design. He was the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the AIA Gold Medal, the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton, the Topaz Medallion from the AIA/ACSA, and the Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame. He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and served on the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome.


Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board logo

The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place May 7 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will cover application of the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards in new construction, alterations, and additions. The session will address the scope of the standards, which encompass a wide range of facilities in the public and private sectors, and review scoping provisions for spaces and elements, general exceptions, and other provisions relevant to application.

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

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).


DOJ Introduces Online ADA Complaint Form

DOJ sealThe U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which enforces key mandates of the ADA, recently launched an online form for filing complaints electronically under the law. The ADA bans discrimination based on disability in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. It covers a wide range of disability, from physical conditions affecting mobility, stamina, sight, hearing, and speech to conditions such as emotional illness and learning disorders. DOJ regulates and enforces requirements that apply to state and local governments, public accommodations, and commercial entities, including standards for buildings and facilities that are based on guidelines issued by the Board.

Those who wish to file an ADA complaint with DOJ can use the new web-based form which is available on DOJ’s website at For further information or to receive a paper complaint form by mail, contact DOJ (800) 514-0301 (v) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).


DOT Issues Rule on Reasonable Modifications in Public Transit Systems

DOT sealOn March 13, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule outlining responsibilities public transit providers have in making accommodations and reasonable modifications to polices, practices, and procedures to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. The new rule provides greater detail on existing obligations for transportation entities receiving federal financial assistance under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It also supplements regulations issued under the ADA which covers access to public transportation without regard to federal funding.

The regulations do not set new requirements as much as recognize existing practices for achieving access to transit systems, including examples of reasonable modifications . According to Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan, the rule “simply codifies and clarifies what many in the transit community are already doing to accommodate their riders who have disabilities. We are making sure that reasonable modifications are part of transit provider policies and more uniformly applied while keeping decision-making in their hands.”

The rule, which takes effect July 13, 2015, applies to public transportation entities providing fixed route, dial-a-ride, and complementary paratransit service. Visit DOT’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.