Comments Due on Update of Rail Vehicle Guidelines Due July 14

train iconIn February, the Access Board initiating rulemaking to update its accessibility guidelines for rail cars covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The notice seeks public comment on the Board's plan to update these guidelines according to recommendations from an advisory panel it chartered, the Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee. It includes recommendations to update guidelines that apply to vehicles used in fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, and intercity rail.

Through this notice, the Board requests input from the public on specific topics and provisions, including vehicle communication systems, boarding and alighting, on-board circulation, seating, and rooms and spaces, among others. In addition, the Board posed specific questions concerning coverage of new and remanufactured vehicles, variable message signs, hearing induction loops, vehicle ramps and lifts, car doors, between-car barriers, handrails and stanchions, wheelchair spaces, and vertical access in bi-level cars. The Board will use the information collected to draft a proposed rule which also will be made available for public comment.

The notice remains available for public comment until July 14 and includes instructions for submitting comments to the docket on regulations.gov (Docket ATBCB-2020-0002). For more information, contact Juliet Shoultz at (202) 272-0045 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for technical questions or Wendy Marshall at (202) 272-0043 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for legal questions.

 


Board to Celebrate the ADA’s 30th Anniversary at Virtual Meeting in July

ADA signing with "30th Anniversary"The Access Board will conduct a virtual meeting on July 29 from 1:30 – 3:00 (ET) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. The event, which will be open to the public, will focus on how the ADA has reshaped the American landscape and the design of facilities and sites, transportation systems, and information and communication technologies. Guest speakers and Board representatives will recall what our world was like before the ADA, review achievements under the ADA in advancing accessible design, and look ahead to new accessibility frontiers, challenges, and solutions over the next 30 years.

The Board will provide further details on this event and how to attend on its website and by email.

 


Upcoming Board Webinars

laptop with Access Board logoThe next webinar in the Access Board's free monthly series will take place July 2 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will clarify common sources of confusion and frequently asked questions about accessible toilet and bathing rooms and other plumbing facilities and elements covered in Chapter 6 of the standards. Presenters will also address drinking fountains, water closets, toilet compartments, urinals, lavatories and sinks, bathtubs, shower compartments, washing machines and clothes dryers, and saunas and steam rooms.

For more information or to register, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session (total limited to 25) or can be posed during the live 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.

The next webinar in this series on August 6 will cover frequently asked questions on communication elements covered in Chapter 7 of the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, including fire alarm systems, signs, telephones, detectable warnings, assistive listening systems, and ATMs and fare machines.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar
The Board also offers a free webinar series on standards issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector. The next webinar in this series will take place on July 21 from 1:00 – 2:30 (ET) and cover the accessibility of platforms for virtual meetings and conferences. Presenters from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission will review features and considerations for ensuring access to virtual platforms according to the Section 508 Standards. They will discuss common access issues and share best practice recommendations and resources for platform accessibility.

For more details or to register, visit www.accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/schedule. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board.

 


Remote Training is Available from the Board

Distance learning iconWhile the Board is not conducting in-person trainings at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic, Board staff is available to provide training upon request through webinars and other virtual platforms. The Board offers free training on all of its guidelines and standards and other aspects of accessible design. Sessions are tailored to the specific goals of the session and the interests of the audience.

To schedule a session, contact the Board's Training Coordinator, Bill Botten, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (202) 272-0014. Once travel restrictions are lifted and conferences and other events are scheduled, the Board intends to resume its provision of training in person.

In addition, Board accessibility specialists continue to provide technical assistance on all Board accessibility guidelines and standards by email and phone. Direct technical inquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or, for questions about the 508 Standards and ICT accessibility, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Technical assistance also is available through the Board’s helpline at (800) 872-2253 or (800) 993-2822 (TTY) each weekday from 10:00 to 5:00 (ET); those calling at other times can leave a message.

 


Board Issues Guides on Toilet and Bathing Facilities and Drinking Fountains

Technical bulletins on drinking fountains, toilet rooms, and bathing facilitiesIn May, the Board released technical bulletins on accessibility to restrooms, bathing facilities, and drinking fountains. This material explains specifications for water closets, toilet compartments, showers, bathtubs, and drinking fountains in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards. Each guide clarifies common sources of confusion, answers frequently asked questions, and offers recommendations for best practice. Examples of compliant restrooms and bathing rooms are included to illustrate how various requirements can be met.

These bulletins are the latest installment to the Board's online guide to the ADA and ABA Standards, which currently covers the first five chapters of the standards. The guide also features a series of animations on different topics, including toilet and bathing facilities. The Guide to the ADA Standards addresses design requirements for places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities subject to the ADA. The Guide to the ABA Standards covers standards that apply to facilities that are designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds.

The new guidance addresses most of the requirements for plumbing elements and facilities in Chapter 6 of the standards. Bulletins on other requirements of the chapter applicable to lavatories and sinks, washers and dryers, and saunas and steam rooms, will be issued at a later date.

Technical Bulletins on the ADA and ABA Standards (Chapter 6)

 


DOT Conducts Design Competition to Promote Access to AVs

Inclusive Design Challenge logoThe Department of Transportation (DOT) is sponsoring a competition to spur innovation in designing autonomous vehicles (AVs) that are accessible to everyone. Under the Inclusive Design Challenge, DOT will award up to $5 million in cash prizes to innovators who design solutions that enable people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities to use AVs in order to access jobs, healthcare, and other critical destinations.

The Challenge aims to incentivize development of new AV designs and technologies and to encourage cross-disciplinary collaborations. Design teams from academic and research institutions, the business sector, technology companies and analytics firms are invited to compete for cash prizes in developing hardware and software solutions to major barriers to accessibility in automated driving systems. These include entering and exiting vehicles, independent securement of passengers and mobility devices, locating AVs, inputting information, and interacting with the system in routine and emergency situations.

In April, DOT initiated Stage I of the competition which will award up to ten $300,000 prizes for proof-of-concept ideas and written proposals describing the design solution. Proposals are due October 30, 2020, with semifinalists to be selected in early 2021. In Stage II, semifinalists will compete next summer for additional prize money by developing prototype demonstrations of their concepts.

Visit DOT’s website for further information or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 


TechSAge Releases Video Series on Universal Design

Image from UD Video Series (building lobby)A new video series on Universal Design is now available from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Aging-in-Place for People with Long-Term Disabilities (TechSAge) at Georgie Tech. Universal Design involves designing products, facilities, and environments that are easily usable by the greatest range of people regardless of age, size, ability, or other factors. The series explores the seven principles of Universal Design, including use that is equitable, flexible, simple, and intuitive, perceptible information, tolerance for error, and low physical effort.

TechSAge features multidisciplinary research, development, and training projects that are dedicated to understanding the needs of, and developing supportive technologies for, people aging with long-term disabilities. This center is supported by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. Visit TechSAge’s website for further information and resources.

 


Farewell Message from Executive Director David Capozzi

David CapozziOn June 30, 2020, Executive Director David Capozzi will retire after 28 years of service at the Board. He joined the agency in 1992 as Director of the Office of Technical and Information Services and became Executive Director in 2008. During his tenure, the Board's mission expanded significantly, and David led the development of new accessibility guidelines and standards in a variety of areas. He also greatly enhanced the Board’s influence both nationally and globally as a leading resource on accessible design and was instrumental in engaging the public and stakeholders in the Board’s rulemaking and other work. The Board commends David for all his contributions and achievements throughout his career to advance accessibility for all.

“I’m proud of the work that we have accomplished during my time at the Board. We’ve helped to make our country more accessible though our ABA compliance and enforcement work. We have done some important research including on indoor environmental quality, play surfaces, and anthropometry of wheeled mobility users. We organized 14 advisory committees involving over 350 organizations on a variety of topics to help develop groundbreaking accessibility guidelines and standards -- some addressing issues for the first time in the world -- such as playground accessibility, access to the great outdoors, and access to technology.

“The world has paid attention to our work and often follows our lead. We have deep ties with staff from the European Commission. Recently the Polish government formed a Polish Access Board. People from countries around the world come to meet with our staff to learn about our work. We have formed close working relationships with countries such as Canada as they develop regulations to implement provincial and national laws on accessibility -- building on the work that we’ve done here at the Access Board.

“I am so proud of the team that we currently have at the Board. Our staff are dedicated to advancing accessibility and driven by our mission. Our Board members and liaisons collaborate and cooperate with each other and support the staff and the work that we do. I know that the agency is in good hands with capable staff and a supportive Board and I look forward to seeing the Board’s accomplishments in the future.”

 David M. Capozzi (signature)

 David M. Capozzi

 


 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.