Rail Access Advisory Committee to Present Final Report in July

trainThe Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee (RVAAC) will present its final report to the Board in July. The Board organized this committee to review requirements for rail cars in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles and to adopt consensus recommendations on how they should be updated. These requirements apply to fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail.

The committee’s 23 members include representatives from advocacy organizations, transit operators, rail car manufacturers, trade groups, and other stakeholders.  Since its creation in 2013, the committee has held seven meetings.  Several subcommittees it formed met frequently by conference call in between committee meetings.  The committee’s report will address how requirements for rail vehicles should be revised and refreshed, including those covering boarding and alighting, on-board circulation, seating, communications, and rooms and spaces.  The Board will use this report to propose updates to the guidelines that will be made available for public comment.  The Board previously released for public comment updates to sections of the vehicle guidelines covering buses and vans which are currently being finalized.

The committee will present its report to the Board at a meeting on July 29 from 9:30 to 11:30 at the Board’s conference center. The meeting will be open to the public. 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).

Presentation of the Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee’s Final Report
July 29, 9:30 – 11:30
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.
Details for a call-in option (listening only) and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be posted on the Board’s website.


Board to Webcast Meetings Starting in July

webcast symbolThe Board will webcast its regular meetings beginning with its next meeting on July 29. Board meetings, which are open to the public, are held every two months at the Board conference center in downtown Washington, D.C. The Board usually substitutes one of these meetings each year for a town hall meeting held in a different city.

“We are eager to open up Board meetings to a much broader audience and to give those outside the D.C. area a virtual ringside seat,” states Board Executive Director David M. Capozzi. “Webcasting our meetings will foster greater engagement with the public and promote greater awareness of the Board’s work.”

The agenda for the July Board meeting includes briefings from invited speakers. Marilyn Golden, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, will review major findings from a comprehensive analysis of public transportation accessibility conducted for the National Council on Disability. Maria Town, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, also has been invited to address the Board. The agenda also includes reports from Board standing and ad hoc committees and from the Executive Director as well as updates on agency rulemaking and other activities.

Further details, including the webcast link, will be posted on the Board’s website.

Meeting of the U.S. Access Board
July 29, 1:30 – 3:00
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.


Board Holds Town Hall Meeting in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City town hall meetingThe Board held a town hall meeting in Salt Lake City on April 29 that featured panel discussions on technology and implementation of the ADA. It also included a public hearing on the Board’s proposed update of accessibility requirements for information and communication technologies.

The first panel focused on technology and people with disabilities and included representatives from Utah Assistive Technology, Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM), an organization that promotes website accessibility, and Sorenson Communications. Topics covered in this discussion included video relay service to provide sign language interpretation, strategies to promote and advance website accessibility, text-to-911 functionality, and a state-wide program in Utah that helps individuals with disabilities acquire assistive technologies.

This was followed by a panel discussion on implementation of the ADA in the Salt Lake City area. Panelists included Salt Lake City’s ADA Coordinator and representatives from ADAPT and Disabled Rights Action Committee, the Utah Transit Authority, and the Utah Division of Risk Management. Speakers addressed the importance of integrating accessibility into master planning and reviewed past and future initiatives by the city and transit authority to improve accessibility to public sidewalks, parking, special events, housing, parking enforcement, taxi cabs, and public transportation. They also discussed how accessibility improvement projects are determined and prioritized through an advisory council organized by the city.

Following the panel discussions, a hearing was held on the Board’s proposed rule updating requirements for information and communication technologies covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communication Act. The event allowed the public to testify on the proposal which was released for public comment in February. This was the third and final hearing on the rule and followed those held earlier in San Diego and Washington, D.C. Comments on the proposed rule were due May 28 and are viewable at

During the town hall discussion, members of the public raised concerns about access to point-of-sale technologies, including those with touch screens, vending machines, rail cars, visual display of bus stop announcements, and remote sign language interpretation. Board members also fielded questions concerning the work of the Board, including the status of its rulemaking activities.


Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board logo

The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place July 2 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session on accessible swimming pools and spas. Presenters will review scoping and technical requirements for accessible swimming pools and spas but will devote most of the session to responding to questions from attendees. The webinar will clarify various technical requirements, including those for pool lifts and sloped entries, and discuss how scoping provisions apply to sites with multiple pools and spas.

Questions can be submitted in advance of the session (total limited to 25) or can be posed during the webinar. A previous webinar in the series provided an overview of swimming pool and spa accessibility. Participants are encouraged to view this archived webinar in advance of the upcoming session.

For more information, including registration instructions, visit Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits (CEUs). The webinar series is made available in cooperation with the ADA National Network.

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 July 14 from 1:00 – 2:30 (ET). For further information, visit


Kathy Johnson, Board Legislative Analyst, Retires

Kathy JohnsonThe Board’s longtime legislative analyst Kathy Johnson retired from government service in May.  Johnson joined the Board’s staff in 1991 where she oversaw legistlative affairs.  In additon to managing congressonal relations for the agency, she conducted public outreach and promoted Board activities, including town hall meetings and public hearings.  Prior to her service at the Board, she worked at the National Council on Disability and was involved in its release of the landmark report, “Toward Indpendence,” which helped lay the groundwork for passage of the ADA.  She also was employed by United Cerebral Palsy.  Her service in the federal and non-profit sectors spans over 40 years.


NCD Issues Report on Transit Accessibility

NCD transit study (cover)In May the National Council on Disability (NCD) released findings from a nationwide analysis of public transportation in the U.S. The report, “Transportation Update: Where We’ve Gone and What We’ve Learned,” outlines the progress that has been made in surface transportation under the ADA over the past decade and details barriers to passengers with disabilities that persist.

“More people with disabilities are riding public transit than ever before and yet, in many areas, significant barriers to ground transportation for Americans with disabilities remain pervasive,” noted NCD Chair Jeff Rosen upon release of the report. “NCD’s report addresses the broad range of surface transportation … and makes recommendations policymakers should use to address these barriers promptly.”

The study, which was conducted for NCD by the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), found that bus and rail ridership among people with disabilities has grown far faster than paratransit ridership and that further improvement is needed in paratransit service, including eligibility, wait times, and on-time performance. The report also indicates that a lack of transit service in rural or remote areas still creates serious barriers to employment, health care, and full participation in society, and that full compliance with the ADA in intercity rail continues to lag in achieving access to stations, platforms, rail cars, communications, and reservation practices. Marilyn Golden, DREDF Senior Policy Analyst, will review these findings at a meeting of the Board on July 29.

The report and related information are available on NCD’s website.



Justice Department Issues ADA Guide for State and Local Governments

DOJ sealThe Department of Justice has published a new technical assistance guide, “ADA Update: A Primer for State and Local Governments,” to help State and local government officials understand how title II of the ADA applies to their programs, activities, and services. The 16-page illustrated docment addresses general nondiscrimination requirements, such as provisions relating to program accessibility, service animals, communicating with people with disabilities, other power-driven mobility devices, and policies and procedures. The guide also addresses how the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design apply to the built environment, including existing buildings and facilities, new construction, and alterations.

Further information is avaialble on DOJ’s website at or its toll-free ADA hotline at (800) 514-0301 (v), or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).


Interagency Disability Research Committee to Hold Symposium on Employment

ICDR logoThe Interagency Committee on Disability Research, which coordinates disability research among federal agencies, will hold a symposium on disability employment June 24 at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.  The full day conference, “Disability & Employment Policy Symposium:  Research Informing Practice and Policy,” will address how research-based knowledge can affect employment practice and policy, and how practice and policy can influence research.  Federal government representatives, researchers, individuals with disabilities, advocates, employers and others are welcome to attend.  The event is free, but registration is required and must be completed by June 16.  Further information and registration is available at or by contacting ICDR at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (703) 356-8035 ext. 106.



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.