Board to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Seattle on May 10

Seattle skylineThe Access Board will hold a town hall meeting in Seattle on May 10 at the University of Washington. The event will feature a panel discussion on implementation of accessibility requirements at the state and local levels and another on access to public transportation, including bus and rail systems and passenger vessels. Both panels will consist of speakers from the Seattle area and will be moderated by Board members.

An open forum will follow to allow members of the public to make comments or pose questions to the Board. The Board will provide a briefing on its mission and work and an update on its rulemaking activities under the ADA and other laws. The event will take place from 1:30 to 5:00 at the University of Washington Student Union. Registration is not required. Attendees are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of all participants.

For further information, contact David Baquis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (202) 272–0013 (voice), or (202) 272–0071 (TTY).

U.S. Access Board Panel Discussions and Town Hall Meeting
May 10, 1:30 – 5:00
Husky Union Building (the HUB), Room 250 (2nd floor)
University of Washington
4001 East Stevens Way, NE
Seattle, WA 98195-2230

Schedule of Events
• Welcome and Update on Access Board Activities
• Panel Discussion on Implementation of Accessibility Requirements
• Panel Discussion on Public Transportation Accessibility
• Open Forum


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

Person using wheelchair at car parked in accessible spaceIn May, the Board will release the next installment of its online guide to the ADA and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards. This material will cover Chapter 5 of the standards (General Site and Building Elements) and address accessible parking, passenger loading zones, and stairways. Technical bulletins on these subjects will explain and illustrate requirements, answer common questions, and offer best practice recommendations. The installment also will include an animation on accessible parking and passenger loading zones.

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. Bulletins on the first four chapters of the standards are currently available, as are animations on wheelchair maneuvering, entrances and doors, toilet and bathing facilities, and protruding objects.

Sign up for email updates to be notified of the release of these and future installments to the guide.


ASTM International Proposes Standard for Sidewalk Smoothness Based on Board Study

ASTM International logoRough and uneven surfaces can be uncomfortable, even painful, for people who use wheeled mobility aids. ASTM International, an organization that develops voluntary consensus standards, is proposing a new standard for the smoothness of sidewalk surfaces to ensure that they can be comfortably traversed by everyone, including those who use wheelchairs, scooters, and wheeled walkers, as well as people with strollers and roller boards. While there are ways to measure and analyze surface roughness for roadways, none are appropriate for pedestrian pathways.

According to ASTM International, the new standard will describe a method to collect and analyze data from a sidewalk to determine its roughness. The ASTM Committee E17 on Vehicle-Pavement Systems is overseeing its development.

The proposed standard, “Practice for Computing Pathway Roughness Index from Longitudinal Profile Measurements” (WK41917), is based on the results of a study funded by the Board that used subject testing to examine how the roughness of pathway surfaces impacts wheelchair travel. Conducted by the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh, the project measured body vibrations resulting from travel across various types of bumpy or uneven surfaces, including existing sidewalks and simulated surfaces. The results indicated a high correlation between surface roughness and exposure to whole body vibrations. Some test surfaces were rated as unacceptable by over half of the subjects due to the discomfort they caused. Based on the findings, researchers recommended a method and protocol for measuring surface roughness as the basis for a new standard. The project report, which is available on the Board’s website, also provides recommendations for a sidewalk roughness index threshold and for the design of a measurement device.

For further information on the new standard, visit ASTM International’s website or contact Julie Lively at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (610) 832-9681.


Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board logo

The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place May 5 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will cover pedestrian signals that are accessible to all pedestrians, including those with vision impairments. A representative from the Federal Highway Administration will join Board staff in reviewing available signaling technologies and applicable provisions in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Other features of accessible intersections and street crossings, including curb ramps and detectable warnings, will be covered as well.

Visit for more information or to register for the webinar. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session (total limited to 25) or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.


DOT to Undertake Negotiated Rulemaking on Air Travel Access Issues

DOT seal

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced plans to conduct a negotiated rulemaking on air travel accessibility through a committee of stakeholders and interested parties. This effort will address access to in-flight communications and entertainment, accessible restrooms on single-aisle aircraft, and coverage of service animals and supplement DOT’s regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel.

As outlined in a published notice, DOT plans to form a negotiation committee that will represent disability groups, airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers, and other stakeholders. DOT plans to name approximately 25 members to the committee based on nominations received in response to the notice. The Accessible Air Transportation Advisory Committee will be responsible for adopting consensus recommendations on how DOT should address these issues through its ACAA regulations. It is expected to meet monthly from May to October 2016.

For further information, contact Livaughn Chapman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Blane A. Workie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call (202) 366-9342.


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.