Submitted to:
United States House and Senate Appropriations Committees
Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

March 2019

Contents


Access Board
Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Justification

This document presents the Access Board’s budget justification for fiscal year (FY) 2020.  We are requesting a total budget authority of $8,400,000 (See Appendix A).

Introduction

The Access Board was established in 1973 under section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act and is the only federal agency whose primary mission is accessibility for people with disabilities.  We are responsible for developing guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), and the Communications Act for ensuring that buildings and facilities, transportation vehicles, and telecommunications equipment covered by these laws are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.  We are also responsible for developing standards under the Rehabilitation Act for accessible information and communication technology procured by federal agencies and establishing standards for accessible medical diagnostic equipment.

Under the Help America Vote Act, the Access Board serves on the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Board of Advisors and Technical Guidelines Development Committee, which assist the EAC in developing voluntary guidelines for voting systems, including accessibility for people with disabilities.  In addition, under the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, we developed best practices on providing accessible to information on prescription drug container labels for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

In October 2018, the President signed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.  A provision in the new law requires the Access Board to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems and if feasible, the ways in which individuals with significant disabilities using wheelchairs, including power wheelchairs, can be accommodated with in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems.  The study is to be done in consultation with the Department of Transportation, aircraft manufacturers, air carriers, and disability advocates.

The Access Board enforces the ABA and provides training and technical assistance on all its guidelines and standards, and on a variety of other accessibility issues.  Additionally, we maintain a research program that develops technical assistance materials and provides information needed for rulemaking.

Our programs will result in accessible buildings and facilities, transportation vehicles, medical diagnostic equipment, telecommunications equipment, and information and communication technology across our country and, ultimately, the full economic and social integration of people with disabilities into our society.  Achieving these results will depend not only on our activities, but also on the level of commitment and action taken by other federal agencies, State and local governments, and businesses that are required to comply with or enforce the various laws that guarantee the civil rights of people with disabilities.

The Access Board’s strategic plan includes a vision statement (advancing accessibility and inclusion for all) and a mission statement (promote accessibility through standards and guidelines, education, enforcement, and outreach).  The plan includes four goals:

  • Establish state-of-the-art accessibility standards and guidelines
  • Provide training and technical assistance on accessibility
  • Increase Architectural Barriers Act awareness and compliance
  • Expand awareness of the Access Board’s functions and objectives

We established long and short-range goals and annual objectives that describe the strategies we will implement to achieve the goals.  In developing objectives and strategies for achieving our goals, we seek to work together with our stakeholders toward common objectives.  Our plan is simple:  establish guidelines and standards that are fair, reasonable, and derived from broad consensus among stakeholders; where the Access Board has enforcement responsibilities over federal agencies, assist those agencies to achieve full compliance; and involve our stakeholders in developing and disseminating materials and manuals that will help them understand and comply with our guidelines and standards.

Establish State-of-the-Art Accessibility Standards and Guidelines

We will continue to develop and update accessibility guidelines and standards and work cooperatively with organizations that develop codes and standards affecting accessibility.  We have the following objectives for this program area:

  • Maximize public participation and stakeholder collaboration in the development of standards and guidelines
  • Anticipate and respond to emerging barriers to accessibility in a changing environment
  • Develop and maintain accessibility standards and guidelines, and keep them up to date
  • Promote accessibility through coordination with standards and codes organizations and harmonization of accessibility requirements

FY 2018 Results – Rulemaking

A summary of recently completed and ongoing standards and guidelines activities is presented below.

Direct Final Rule on Information and Communication Technology

On January 22, 2018, we issued a correction to our updated accessibility requirements for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to restore provisions on TTY access that were inadvertently omitted.  The action applies to the final rule the Board published in January 2017 to jointly refresh our Section 508 standards for ICT in the federal sector and our Section 255 guidelines for telecommunications equipment.

The original Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines required that devices with two-way voice communication support use of TTY devices which provide text communication across phone connections for persons with hearing or speech impairments.  In the ICT update, the Board had proposed replacing this provision with a requirement for real-time text (RTT) functionality, a new technology with significant advantages over TTYs.  In finalizing the rule, however, the Board chose to reserve the RTT requirement because the Federal Communications Commission had initiated its own rulemaking to address RTT functionality.  In doing so, the Board intended to add the original TTY provision back into the rule, but the necessary language was inadvertently left out.  The correction notice restored the TTY requirement with minor editorial changes for consistency with the new format and terminology of the updated requirements and corrected two typographical errors in other sections of the rule.

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles – Update (rail vehicles)

This rulemaking will update the Board’s existing accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles that operate on fixed guideway systems (e.g., rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, and intercity rail) covered by the ADA.  The existing rail vehicles guidelines were initially promulgated in 1991, and need an update to, among other things, keep pace with newer accessibility-related technologies, and harmonize with recently-developed national and international consensus standards.  In May 2013, we created a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations.  The committee provided its final report in July 2015.  The next step is an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) planned for FY 2019.  Compliance with any revised rail vehicles guidelines would not be required until they are adopted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in a separate rulemaking.

Self-Service Transaction Machines

We have worked collaboratively with the Departments of Justice and Transportation to develop a single set of technical requirements for self-service transaction machines (e.g., kiosks, point-of-sale machines, self-checkout machines) that can be referenced and scoped by each agency.  In November 2013, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a rule under the Air Carrier Access Act addressing accessibility of web sites and automated kiosks.  The DOT requirements for automated kiosks are derived from the technical requirements we helped develop and are consistent with our requirements for automatic teller machines and fare machines, as well as section 508 requirements.

In FY 2018 we met with the Kiosk Manufacturers Association to discuss latest access technology being used for self-service machines and how we can work together more closely to promote accessibility to these products.  As a result, the kiosk industry plans to develop a voluntary consensus standard for accessibility of self-service machines.  The first step for this rulemaking will be an ANPRM planned for FY 2020 after the development of the voluntary standards to help determine scoping requirements for self-service transaction machines.

Public Rights-of-Way and Shared Use Paths

The Board is developing guidelines that will address various issues, including access for blind pedestrians at street crossings, wheelchair access to on-street parking, and various constraints posed by space limitations, roadway design practices, slope, and terrain.  The public rights-of-way guidelines will cover pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, including crosswalks, curb ramps, street furnishings, pedestrian signals, parking, and other components of public rights-of-way.

The rulemaking began in October 1999, when we created a 31-member federal advisory committee.  The committee presented its report in January 2001.  In June 2002, we released for public comment draft guidelines based on the committee’s recommendations and then in November 2005, we revised the draft guidelines based on public comments on the initial draft.  This action was done to assist us in preparing a regulatory assessment of the impacts of the rule.  A proposed rule was published for public comment in July 2011.

On a separate track, we initiated rulemaking to cover shared use paths (paths designed to serve both bicyclists and pedestrians and used for transportation and recreation purposes).  We published an ANPRM in March 2011 and then in February 2013, we published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to include requirements for shared use paths as part of the public rights-of-way rule.  The next step for this rulemaking would be a final rule.  However, with the issuance in January 2017 of Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs) that requires for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, we do not plan any further action on the public rights-of-way rulemaking at this time.

Passenger Vessels

This rulemaking will address accessibility for newly constructed and altered passenger vessels covered by the ADA such as ferries, cruise ships, excursion boats, and other vessels.  The rulemaking began in August 1998, when we created a 22-member federal advisory committee.  The committee presented its report in November 2000.  We held public meetings in August and September of 2003 to gather information and input on viable access solutions that will allow persons with disabilities independent access onto and off large vessels.  In November  2004, we published an ANPRM on access to and in smaller passenger vessels and a notice of availability releasing draft guidelines on access to and in larger passenger vessels.

Then in July 2006, we made available for public comment revised draft accessibility guidelines.  Passenger vessel operators, individuals with disabilities, and organizations representing the various interest groups commented that a provision in the draft guidelines, which required emergency alarm systems to comply with “principles of best practice”, was vague and requested additional guidance.  We agreed that additional guidance would be helpful and created a Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms federal advisory committee to assist in this matter.  The committee presented its report in October 2008.  In June 2008, we published revised draft guidelines to collect data necessary for a regulatory assessment.  In June 2013, we released a proposed rule.  The next step for this rulemaking would be a final rule.  However, we do not plan any further action on the passenger vessels rulemaking at this time due to the limitations of Executive Order 13771.

FY 2019 Planned Activities – Rulemaking

In FY 2019, it is our objective to begin one rulemaking:

  • Advance notice of proposed rulemaking on revisions and updates to fixed guideway system guidelines (rail vehicles)

FY 2020 Objectives – Rulemaking

In FY 2020, it is our objective to begin one rulemaking:

  • Advance notice of proposed rulemaking on Self-Service Transaction Machines

FY 2018 Results – Codes and Standards

Adoption of Board Guidelines as Enforceable Standards

For the Board’s accessibility guidelines to become enforceable, other federal agencies must generally complete rulemaking to adopt the guidelines as standards.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the U.S. Postal Service use our guidelines to develop enforceable standards under the ABA.  The Departments of Justice and Transportation use our guidelines to develop enforceable standards under the ADA.  The U.S. Postal Service, General Services Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Departments of Justice and Transportation have adopted the Access Board’s guidelines as standards.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development has not acted yet.

Voluntary Consensus Standards

Our long-range goal is to take a leadership role in the development of codes and standards for accessibility.  We work with model codes organizations and voluntary consensus standards groups that develop and periodically revise codes and standards affecting accessibility.  We have voting membership in several codes and standards organizations, and monitor or are actively involved in the development or revision of dozens of other codes and standards affecting accessibility.

Some of the codes and standards groups that we work with include:  the International Code Council (ICC) Consensus Committee on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, ICC (ASC A117); American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A18 Platform Lift and Stairway Chairlifts Committee; National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Disability Access Review Advisory Committee; National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS); World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee on Playground Surfacing Systems; and the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Standards Committee on Cognitive Accessibility and Standards Committee for Assistive Technology for Air Travel.

We believe this goal enhances our credibility as a knowledgeable source of information regarding the technical aspects of accessibility.  Additionally, by working cooperatively with model codes organizations and standards setting organizations, federal and private codes and standards will be more similar, or harmonized, and the Access Board will be more alert to non-federal influences affecting our constituencies.  Harmonization between federal and private requirements will make it more likely that buildings and facilities will be accessible, thus reducing the necessity for complaints and litigation.

Two Access Board members serve on the Technical Guidelines Development Committee and Board of Advisors, which provide recommendations to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). We will continue to work the EAC in the development of updated Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG)  The VVSG are a set of specifications and requirements against which voting systems can be tested to determine if the systems meet required standards.

The EAC adopted the original VVSG 1.0 in December 2005.  In March 2015, version 1.1 of the VVSG was adopted.  This new version was a complete rewrite of the 2005 guidelines and addred the next generation of voting systems.  The guidelines are voluntary.  States may decide to adopt them entirely or in part.  Almost immediately following the adoption of VVSG 1.1, a public working group process was developed to help inform the development of the next iteration of voluntary voting system guidelines, VVSG 2.0.  A draft of the VVSG 2.0 has been circulated by the EAC.

We are also a member of the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy, which is the body that is responsible for overseeing the use of standards by federal agencies in accordance with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act.

While the Access Board was in the process of updating its ICT accessibility requirements, a similar process began in Europe to create the first European ICT accessibility standards.  Beginning in 2005, the Access Board and the European Commission began to work closely to harmonize ICT accessibility requirements.  In early 2014, the three European standardization organizations – European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI); European Committee for Standardization (CEN); and, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) – published the first European specifications on e-accessibility for public ICT procurements, EN 301 549, “Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe”.

The current European standard is largely harmonized with our 2011 advance notice of proposed rulemaking.  However, since the European standard was finalized, we issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in February 2015 and a final rule in January 2017 updating our ICT standards and guidelines.  We have been working since publication of our final rule with a European Joint Working Group on eAccessibility to further harmonize the U.S. and European standards and will continue that effort in 2018 and beyond; three meetings were held in FY 2018.

FY 2019 Planned Activities – Codes and Standards

We will continue to work with private sector codes and standards organizations to harmonize the Board’s guidelines with model codes and standards and with the Election Assistance Commission in the development of updated Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.  We will also continue to work with the European Joint Working Group on eAccessibility to further harmonize the U.S. and European standards.

FY 2020 Objectives – Codes and Standards

We will continue to collaborate with the EAC and the European Joint Working Group on eAccessibility and will continue our efforts to harmonize the Board’s guidelines with model codes and standards, including the ICC A117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.

Provide Training and Technical Assistance on Accessibility

The Access Board provides technical assistance to a wide variety of people regarding the accessibility guidelines and standards we issue.  Our customers include architects, builders, designers, technology companies, manufacturers, people with disabilities, State and local governments, and federal agencies, and others.  Our technical assistance program has four components:

  • Responding to customer inquiries.  We respond to about numerous customer inquiries each year.  We have toll-free telephone lines for customers to call with questions.  Customers also e-mail and occasionally fax us questions.  Many literally are sitting at a drawing table or computer with a design problem.  They want accurate, reliable, and timely advice.  Our customers value being able to discuss their questions directly with our accessibility specialists who developed the guidelines and standards.
  • Developing and disseminating manuals and other publications.  We maintain numerous publications on accessibility issues.  These range from manuals on our guidelines and standards, to animations, and an online guide to the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards.
  • Providing training.  We conduct numerous training sessions each year.  Training usually is provided at conferences and seminars sponsored by other organizations; it also includes a series of webinars.  Training sponsors generally reimburse us for our travel expenses.  We also provide a monthly webinar series through a partnership with the National Network of ADA Centers on built environment issues and bi-monthly webinars on information and communication technology issues in conjunction with the Chief Information Officers Council Accessibility Community of Practice.
  • Maintaining the Board’s website and Social Media.  Our website (www.access-board.gov) has become a very effective way to distribute information to the public.  Customers can download our publications and view our accessibility guidelines and standards from our website.  On the website, we provide downloadable animations illustrating the rationale behind the guidelines and standards showing how accessible features are used by individuals with disabilities.  We also maintain a YouTube channel and Twitter account.

We have the following objectives in this program area:

  • Promote and publicize the Board’s training and technical assistance services to reach more customers
  • Use multiple communications platforms to reach a broader audience
  • Develop and update educational materials to promote understanding of and compliance with accessibility standards and guidelines

Our long-range goal is to be known as the leading source of information about accessibility and to disseminate information to our customers in effective ways.  As we develop guidelines for new areas such as rail vehicles update and self-service transaction machines, there will be increased demands for technical assistance from existing and new customer groups.  We have informal partnerships with organizations such as the National Association of ADA Coordinators and the ten Regional ADA National Network Centers to disseminate information about the Board’s programs.  Many of our guidelines, standards, and publications are available through these organizations’ on-line networks.  We also provide training for these organizations.  As we develop new guidelines and standards, there will be opportunities to use these existing partnerships and establish new partnerships with customer groups to disseminate information about the Access Board’s rulemaking.

FY 2018 Results

In July 2018, we released a new animation on sales and service counters as part of our online guide to standards issued under the ADA and the ABA.  The 12-minute animated film reviews and illustrates requirements in the standards for sales and service counters and clarifies common sources of confusion.  It covers access to teller and service windows, queues and waiting lines, check-out aisles, food service lines, self-service shelves, and food and beverage dispensers.  The animation is the latest in a series we produced.  Other animations address wheelchair maneuvering; entrances and doors; toilet rooms; bathing facilities; protruding objects; parking and passenger loading zones; and signs.  The animations are viewable on our website, and copies can be downloaded as well.  Our online guide to the ADA and ABA standards also features technical bulletins that explain and illustrate requirements and address common questions.  Bulletins are currently available on the first five chapters of the standards, including application and scoping, building blocks, accessible routes, accessible means of egress, parking and passenger loading zones, and stairways.

We continue to offer our very successful monthly webinar series through a partnership with the National Network of ADA Centers.  Sessions are conducted monthly for built environment issues and bi-monthly for information and communication technology issues (in conjunction with the Chief Information Officers Council Accessibility Community of Practice) with most webinars scheduled for 90 minutes and provide an opportunity to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) for a fee, but general attendance is free.

Sessions in FY 2018 for built environment issues included:  Hospitals and Medical Care Facilities; Harmonization between the ADA Standards and the IBC/ANSI A117.1 Standard; Frontier Accessibility Issues; Accessible Alterations; Outdoor Developed Areas; Open Q & A; Accessible Shared Streets: Notable Practices and Considerations for Accommodating Pedestrians with Vision Disabilities; Recreation Facilities; Accessible Airport Terminals; Transportation Facilities; Open Q & A; and, Federal Facilities and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards.

Sessions in FY 2018 on information and communication technology issues included:  W3C WCAG 2.0 Resources; A Roadmap for Transitioning to the Revised 508 Standards; Accessibility of Electronic Content; Putting the Revised 508 Standards into Practice for Procurement; How to Update Agency Policies for the Revised Section 508 Standards; and, Incorporation of Accessibility into the ICT Lifecycle.

In FY 2018, we conducted 18 webinars that were attended by approximately 8,094 people.

We responded to 7,755 customer inquiries (numbers are lower than in previous years because of staff retirements) and conducted 52 training sessions that were attended by approximately 6,136 people.

We have used our website to provide copies of the Board’s guidelines and standards and answers to frequently asked questions so that more customers can get the information they need.  The usage of our website continues to grow.  There were approximately 1.41 million unique visitors looking at 3.27 million pages.  We also distributed six issues of Access Currents, a free newsletter we issue every other month by e-mail.  Our Twitter page – @AccessBoard – also provides a good method of communicating with our customers; we currently have 1,447 followers.  Our GovDelivery email distribution system now has 30,787 subscribers – an increase of 11% from the previous year.  Subscriptions to various news feeds increased by nearly 10% to 80,894. We livestream all our Board meetings and had 223 live remote viewers this year.

We began a new YouTube channel containing our already developed animations and a video message on the Board’s mission and services.  Our staff was interviewed this year by Federal News Radio and FedScoop on the accessibility of federal websites.  We also updated our ABA enforcement webpage and posted a news story that described the 43 ABA cases that were resolved through corrective action in FY 2018.

FY 2019 Planned Activities

Online Guide, Webinars, and Website

We will develop additional materials for the online guide to the ADA and ABA standards.  Planned are technical guides and animations covering Chapters 6 and 7 of the standards.  The Chapter 6 guides will address plumbing elements and facilities including drinking fountains, grab bars, washing machines and clothes dryers, and saunas and steam rooms.  The Chapter 7 guides will address communication elements and features including fire alarm systems, telephones, detectable warnings, assistive listening systems, automatic teller machines and fare machines, and two-way communication systems.  Future installments to the guides will be released as they become available.  Users can sign-up to receive email updates on the release of other animations and bulletins in the series.

We will continue to offer our very successful webinar series for the built environment and on section 508 issues.  Sessions planned for the built environment issues include: Accessible Polling Places; Accessible Exterior Routes and Surfaces; Common Sources of Confusion in the ADA & ABA Standards; Accessible Sidewalks, Shared Use Paths, and Street Crossings; Accessible Entrances, Doors, and Gates; along with six other topics to be announced.  Sessions planned for section 508 issues include: Making the Business Case for Accessibility and five other topics to be announced.

Technical Assistance and Research Projects

On October 5, 2018, the President signed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.  A provision in the new law requires the Access Board to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems and if feasible, the ways in which individuals with significant disabilities using wheelchairs, including power wheelchairs, can be accommodated with in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems.  The study is to be done in consultation with the Department of Transportation, aircraft manufacturers, air carriers, and disability advocates.  No new funding was provided for this study.

The following research and technical assistance projects are planned for FY 2019:

  • Feasibility study of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems

FY 2020 Objectives

We will continue to improve our website including releasing additional modules for the web-based guide for the ADA and ABA standards.

The following research and technical assistance projects are planned for FY 2020:

  • Feasibility study of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems (continued)

Increase Architectural Barriers Act Awareness and Compliance

The Access Board enforces the Architectural Barriers Act which requires that most buildings designed, constructed, altered, or leased by the federal government and certain other federally financed facilities be accessible to people with disabilities.  Complaints we receive concern post offices, national parks, military facilities, veterans’ hospitals, courthouses, and a variety of other facilities.  When we have jurisdiction, and find that the applicable accessibility standards were not followed, we request a corrective action plan and monitor the case until the barrier is removed.  Even when we do not have jurisdiction or no violation is found, we attempt to negotiate voluntary barrier removal.

We have the following objectives in this program area:

  • Proactively promote compliance through outreach to federal agencies and design professionals
  • Educate the public about rights under the ABA and the complaint process
  • Improve the efficiency of the complaint resolution process

In addition to enforcement, we work with federal agencies and others to ensure compliance with the ABA and make the federal government a model of accessibility.  Our experience with resolving complaints is that most violations are not intentional.  When violations are found, it is usually because the people responsible for designing buildings, reviewing plans, and on-site construction did not have a good understanding of the accessibility standards and how to apply them.  For covered buildings where corrective action is required, we have a 100% compliance rate.

People responsible for building planning and design at headquarters, regional and field offices, and local sites must have a working knowledge of the accessibility standards if compliance is to be achieved.  As federal agencies are reorganized and personnel assignments and responsibilities change, it is important that agencies have effective systems for training new people responsible for applying the accessibility standards and for monitoring compliance with the ABA.  Training has become even more important now that new accessibility standards for the ABA are being implemented by the standard-setting agencies.

FY 2018 Results - ABA Compliance

During FY 2018, we received 149 new complaints, and closed 133 complaints.  These included complaints investigated under the ABA, and those concerning facilities not covered by that law but potentially covered by other laws, such as the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.  Of the complaints closed during FY 2018, 43 were closed following our investigations and the completion of corrective actions by the relevant agencies.  We resolved many existing complaints with the support of other federal agencies.  This included holding bi-monthly conference calls with senior leaders from the General Services Administration and other agencies.  Although we did not have authority in the other complaints, we responded to the complainants, usually by referring them to the appropriate enforcement agency.  We referred 26 complainants to other agencies for action when our investigations revealed there was no violation of the ABA, there was a waiver, or we did not have jurisdiction.

We respond quickly to all new complaints.  Most complainants now file their complaints with us on-line; they receive immediate notice that their complaint has been received, together with a complaint tracking number for their future reference.  It is our practice to keep complainants informed on a regular basis throughout the course of our investigations.  We periodically contact complainants to provide updates on the status of their complaints.  We find that these contacts can be helpful in obtaining additional information about actions being taken that may not have been provided by respondent agencies.  Upon completing investigations, we always give complainants an opportunity to comment on determinations we have made and actions that have been taken before closing complaints.  At the end of the complaint process, we seek feedback through a Customer Satisfaction Survey (which we recently updated and upgraded from a paper form to an accessible online survey).  The survey is voluntary and respondents may respond anonymously, or provide their name and complaint number if they wish.

We continue to refine program processes based on performance measures developed earlier to better increase efficiency in the operation of the compliance and enforcement program.  We consider the input we receive from our Customer Satisfaction Survey to assist us in these efforts.  In addition, we continue to update and revise our software system for managing and tracking ABA complaints to optimize system performance and further expedite complaint handling.

We continue to work with the Department of Defense, Postal Service, and the General Services Administration and agencies covered by its accessibility standards to ensure that covered facilities comply with requirements in the ABA standards.  And, we continue to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to encourage their adoption of accessibility standards under the ABA.

Notably, 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the ABA.  We celebrated this milestone anniversary with a panel of guest speakers from representatives of the four ABA standard-setting agencies and the unveiling of an educational exhibit on the law and its impacts at a public meeting and reception during the Board’s September Board meeting; the event was streamed live online.

FY 2018 Planned Activities - ABA Compliance

We will continue to investigate complaints under the ABA.  We will continue to issue our formal acknowledgment to complainants within an average of 3 business days after we receive the complaint and will continue to provide periodic updates to complainants on the status of their complaints.  Based historical data, we expect to receive 153 new complaints, and close 130.  Of the 130, we expect to close 71 following investigations and 59 without opening an investigation.

We will continue to refine program processes based on performance measures developed earlier to better increase efficiency in the operation of the compliance and enforcement program.  We will consider the input we receive from our Customer Satisfaction Survey to assist us in these efforts.  In addition, we will continue to update and revise our software system for managing and tracking ABA complaints to optimize system performance and further expedite complaint handling.  We plan to release new videos on the ABA Complaint filing process and an overview of the ABA that covers our jurisdiction, what facilities are likely or unlikely to be covered, and how complaints are investigated.  We also plan to do a year end news story that summarizes the ABA cases that were closed during the fiscal year.

FY 2020 Objectives - ABA Compliance

We will continue to investigate complaints under the ABA.  Based on historical data, we estimate that we will receive 155 new complaints, and close 130.  Of the 130, we expect to close 75 following investigations and 55 without opening an investigation.  We will continue to provide good customer service and increase efficiency in the operation of the compliance and enforcement program.

FY 2018 Results - Working in Partnership with Agencies

We completed certain performance-optimizing updates to our Complaint Tracking and Management System so that Board staff can more quickly update complaint data and track progress in open complaints.  In addition, we continued to use our Customer Satisfaction Survey for ABA complaints.  Because the survey is voluntary, and because individuals responding are permitted to do so anonymously, we are using this data for anecdotal purposes.  However, we are pleased to note that over 80 percent of those individuals responding in the 2016 cohort rated their satisfaction with the complaint process, the outcome of their complaint, and staff knowledge, at the highest rating levels.

FY 2019 Planned Activities – Working in Partnership with Agencies

We will continue to work with the Department of Defense, Postal Service, and the General Services Administration and agencies covered by its accessibility standards to ensure that covered facilities comply with requirements in the ABA standards.  We will continue to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the development and adoption of its accessibility standards under the ABA.

FY 2020 Objectives – Working in Partnership with Agencies

We will continue working with the ABA standard-setting agencies to ensure that newly constructed, altered, and leased facilities are following the applicable accessibility standards promulgated under the ABA.

Expand Awareness of the Access Board’s Functions and Objectives

This goal that began in FY 2017.  We have the following objectives in this program area:

  • Engage other organizations and pursue partnerships to promote the Access Board’s work
  • Promote accessibility throughout all segments of society, including holding events in various locations across the country

FY 2018 Results

The Access Board holds six meetings each year.  Five are business meetings in Washington, DC and the sixth is held outside the Washington, DC area and serves as an opportunity for the Access Board to examine innovations in accessible design undertaken around the country and to promote accessibility throughout our society.  This year we travelled to Pheonix, AZ where we met with various public and private entities highlighting implementation of accessibility standards.  We also held a town hall forum to hear directly from interested citizens regarding accessibility successes and challenges.

When the Access Board meets in-town, we reach out to trade associations, other federal agencies, and non-profit organizations to help build partnerships and to get the word out about our services.  In FY 2018, Access Board public members and staff met with representatives from:  American Foundation for the Blind; Amtrak; Federal Communications Commission; International Parking Institute; National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research; and, the Trace Research & Development Center.

We also meet with delegations from around the world (in cooperation with the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program) to spread the word about accessibility and the Access Board’s programs.  This year we met with groups from: Russia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Switzerland, and Japan.  Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, India, Israel, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka.

We conducted a day-long workshop in November comparing how building accessibility is addressed in Australia and the U.S.  The workshop featured presentations and a dialogue by experts on how accessibility to the built environment is addressed and enforced in both nations.

We also held “roundtable discussions” with various groups this year on discrete accessibility issues including the Transportation Security Administration on the agency’s initiatives to improve passenger screening processes and communication with travelers with disabilities; Aira Wearable Smart Glasses; Results of Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation Studies on Bus Ramp Slope and Wheelchair Securement; Accessible Exhibitions, Designing for Inclusion from Concept Through Installation; accessible pedestrian technology systems; Information Meeting on Assembly Areas; and visits to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and Museum of the Bible.

On October 31, 2018, the National Council on Disability(NCD) issued a report titled, “Has the Promise Been Kept? Federal Enforcement of Disability Rights Laws”.  The report assessed the progress made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, and the Access Board from recommendations in NCD’s 2000 report, “Promises to Keep: A Decade of Federal Enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act”.  NCD made several recommendations to the Access Board including:

  • Explore methods to expedite development of guidelines and standards, particularly on subjects that involve technology, so regulations are timely
  • Ensure that the Board’s Ad hoc Committee on Frontier Issues is maintained and empowered to keep abreast of emerging disability issues and accessibility developments and to shape the Access Board’s regulatory and research agendas
  • Publicize select ABA investigation and compliance results
  • Use data on types of facilities or geographic areas that give rise to the most complaints as a basis to identify types of facilities or geographic areas for self-initiated investigations under the ABA

We joined a new accessible parking coalition with the International Parking Institute (IPI) to address fraudulent use of disabled placards and other challenges related to accessible parking for people with disabilities.  The coalition began after IPI conducted a national survey that showed 96 percent of responding people with disabilities feel the ability to find parking is an important factor in leading an independent life, yet more than one-third have problems finding accessible parking on any given day.  The most significant problems are created by drivers without disabilities who park illegally in accessible parking spots or obstruct access by parking too close to a vehicle, making it impossible for drivers with disabilities to exit or enter their vehicle.  A new website (accessibleparkingcoalition.org) was created to promote this initiative.

In September 2018 we held a day-long public forum on accessibility of assembly areas.  The event brought together experts on the subject and various stakeholders to advise the Board on how to explain and clarify requirements in the ADA Standards in a technical guide we plan to develop on the subject.  Accessibility consultants, people with disabilities, architects and designers, engineers, and facility operators participated in the meeting.

FY 2019 Planned Activities

As part of our technical assistance program, we often hear from first-time inquirers that they were surprised to learn about our technical assistance services, and we know from anecdotal evidence that accessibility standards are not uniformly followed.  To improve effectiveness of our technical assistance program, we plan a concerted effort to promote and publicize our technical assistance services to additional design and construction professionals through targeted outreach.  One of the ways we will do this is through our YouTube channel launched in April 2018

We will identify professional associations, trade groups, and other organizations whose members can benefit from our technical assistance services.  We will contact and meet with representatives from identified organizations using prepared outreach materials to promote our technical assistance services.  Technical staff will log information from technical assistance inquiries to determine the effectiveness of the outreach efforts.  In addition, staff will follow up with targeted professional and trade associations to assess additional opportunities for partnership with the Access Board, such as webinars, trainings, or technical assistance materials.

FY 2020 Objectives

In addition to expanding technical assistance, we plan to explore more cost-effective methods of providing training.  Specifically, we plan to explore the possibility of providing scripted online video-based trainings on our website.  We would like to reach a larger audience than is possible with in-person trainings and webinars.  Over the past several years, we have steadily created animations, which we provide on our website to illustrate how accessibility requirements solve specific problems.  We plan to complement these animated training videos with scripted video trainings that could be viewed on the Access Board’s website by the public on-demand.  We also plan to improve the effectiveness of our webinar-based training program by building a portfolio of evidence from customer service feedback and employing the results to improve the learning experience and we plan to expand self-paced webinar offerings that provide continuing education credit to architects.  We will place the short scripted online training videos on our YouTube channel.


Appendix A

Access Board Budget

DescriptionFY 2018FY 2019FY 2020
Request
¹ We expect to receive this amount in reimbursements for travel associated with training.
Budget Total 8,190,000 8,400,000 8,400,000
Personnel 5,271,600 5,261,000 5,261,000
Salary 3,990,600 3,976,300 3,976,300
  Staff 3,760,100 3,742,600 3,742,600
  Board 230,500 233,700 233,700
Personnel Benefits 1,281,000 1,284,700 1,284,700
Travel 283,600 283,600 283,600
Board Meetings and Public Hearings 263,600 263,600 263,600
Advisory Committee Meetings 0 0 0
Training, Site Visits, Conferences, Other 20,000 20,000 20,000
Space Management 758,000 844,400 844,400
Research 100,000 200,000 200,000
Technical Assistance and Research 100,000 200,000 200,000
Regulatory Assessments 0 0 0
Facilitators/Contractors 0 0 0
Administrative Support Services 619,000 642,000 642,000
IT Support Services 1,030,200 1,039,200 1,039,200
Printing 40,000 40,000 40,000
Miscellaneous Operating Expenses 87,800 89,800 89,800
Postage, Courier, and Mailing Services 10,000 10,000 10,000
Staff Training 15,000 15,000 15,000
Equipment 5,000 5,000 5,000
Supplies 10,000 10,000 10,000
Drug Testing 800 800 800
Audit 32,000 34,000 34,000
Books 5,000 5,000 5,000
Other 10,000 10,000 10,000
Receipts for Publications and Training¹ 50,000 50,000 50,000

Cost Discussion

The Board is requesting a total budget authority in FY 2020 of $8,400,000.  Pub. L. 116-6, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, provided the Board with $8,400,00 in funding.

Personnel

We anticipate the Board will use 32 FTE in 2020.  We are planning on 4 days of pay per public Board member (Presidentially appointed) for each of the 5 regular Board meetings and 5 days of pay for the one out-of-town meeting.  In addition, we have included funds for the following:

  • Salaries for a total of 10 additional days for information meetings where some of our public Board members participate in committee meetings or represent the agency in other meetings.

We have calculated benefits (including the transit subsidy) based on our experience with the benefit packages employees have chosen in the past.  Benefits for public Board members include only the Social Security allotment from the employer.

FY 2019 $5,261,000
FY 2020 $5,141,400
Travel

The largest portion of our travel budget is devoted to the cost of travel for public Board members.  This line item also includes the costs for Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and sign language interpreters for all Board and other public meetings (at a total cost of approximately $2,000 per day).

FY 2019 $ 283,600
FY 2020 $ 225,800
Space Management

Our rent is set by the General Services Administration.  Our current lease expires in December 2021.  We are working with GSA to determine whether we will continue operating at our current location or relocate.  Until GSA finalizes its assessment, we cannot accurately determine costs; therefore, our estimate assumes that we will remain in our current location with a modest increase in rent.

FY 2019 $ 844,400
FY 2020 $ 875,600
Research

Contracting for research to assist in our guidelines and standards development and to provide technical assistance materials is crucial to the Board’s mission.  Funds also are used to conduct required regulatory assessments for our rulemaking.  Historically, we have requested a research budget of approximately $400,000.  With limitations on rulemaking our budget request is adjusted accordingly.

FY 2019 $ 200,000
FY 2020 $ 100,000
Facilitator/Contractors

We use contractors to assist the Board in performing management studies and to assist with the development and implementation of agency policies and procedures and in other activities such as maintaining our electronic records system, improving the electronic distribution of electronic media, and technology consulting services.  We do not anticipate using these types of services in FY 2020.

FY 2019 $   0
FY 2020 $   0
Administrative Support Services

We contract with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (formerly the Bureau of the Public Debt) in the Department of the Treasury and with the Interior Business Center in the Department of the Interior to provide procurement, financial, payroll, and personnel services.  Funds are also used to maintain compliant Federal Personal Identity Verifications under HSPD-12.

FY 2019 $ 642,000
FY 2020 $ 647,000
Information Technology Support Services

This is the yearly cost of the Board’s telephone and desktop computing needs including desktop and laptop computers, assistive technology, local area network servers, software, printers, and maintenance and support services (including website hosting and internet service).  Increased expenditures in FY 2020 are to provide network security and operational integrity of the Board’s network.  They include a network certification and Authority to Operate, Trusted Internet Connection, and use of the Einstein system to comply with Executive Order M-17-25.  These expenditures will help us meet the Federal Information Security Management Act and provide certification of the Board’s network, required to access other agency networks (e.g., the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s HR Connect System for personnel services).  Funds will also be used to provide annual security network maintenance for the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Cybersecurity program.

FY 2019 $1,039,200
FY 2020 $1,281,400
Printing

Publishing proposed and final rules in the Federal Register is a relatively high cost for the Board.  Printing in the Federal Register costs $477 per page.  Other items in this category include printing our final rules in the Code of Federal Regulations.  We anticipate lower than usual costs in FY 2020, due to restrictions on rulemaking and, therefore, limited printing in the Federal Register.

FY 2019 $  40,000
FY 2020 $  40,000
Miscellaneous Operating Expenses

Expenditures in this category include postage, overnight shipping, and in-town delivery service.  We have lowered our postage costs since we have phased out delivery of print publications as a means of implementing Executive Order 13589 (Promoting Efficient Spending).  We contract with the Interior Business Center in the Department of the Interior to provide services for the mandatory drug testing program.  Other expenditures are for a reader to provide audio tapes as alternate format publications and miscellaneous operating expenses not reflected elsewhere.  Our yearly financial audit is included along with book purchases for our library collection of accessible design materials, staff training, office supplies, and equipment purchases.

FY 2019 $  89,800
FY 2020 $  88,800
Receipts for Publications and Training

We expect to receive approximately $50,000 in FY 2020 in reimbursements for travel associated with training.


Appendix B

Status of Current Access Board Rulemaking Efforts

February 2019

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles – Update (rail vehicles).  This rulemaking would update the Board’s existing accessibility guidelines for transportation vehicles that operate on fixed guideway systems (e.g., rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, and intercity rail) covered by the ADA.  The existing rail vehicles guidelines were initially promulgated in 1991, and need an update to, among other things, keep pace with newer accessibility-related technologies, harmonize with recently-developed national and international consensus standards, and incorporate recommendations from the Board’s Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee’s report.  In May 2013, we created a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations that the Board can use to update its rail vehicle guidelines which were originally issued in 1991.  The committee met from November 2013 through June 2015 and provided its final report to the Board in July 2015.  The next step for this rulemaking is an ANPRM planned for FY 2018.  Compliance with any revised rail vehicles guidelines would not be required until they are adopted by DOT in a separate rulemaking.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - February 14, 2013
  • notice establishing advisory committee - May 23, 2013
  • full committee meetings:  November 13-14, 2013; January 9-10, 2014; April 10-11, 2014; September 11-12, 2014; February 26-27, 2015; April 23-24, 2015; June 4-5, 2015
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - July 29, 2015

Public Rights-of-Way and Shared Use Paths.  When the Board issued final rules for State and local governments in 1998, it decided to reserve provisions for public rights-of-way, due in large measure to the concerns of the transportation community expressed in comment to the Board on proposed and interim final rules for entities covered by title II of the ADA.  Rather than finalizing the guidelines for public rights-of-way, the Board began an ambitious outreach plan to the highway industry.  We produced a series of videos, an accessibility checklist, and a design guide on accessible public rights-of-way.

Following this outreach, the Board decided to reinitiate rulemaking by convening a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations for the guidelines.  In October 1999, we created a 31-member Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Committee.  Representatives of a wide range of stakeholders, including transportation industry organizations and disability and pedestrian advocates developed recommendations for scoping and technical provisions addressing access to sidewalks, street crossings, and related pedestrian facilities.  The committee presented its report to the Board in January 2001.

In June 2002, the Board released for public comment draft guidelines based on the committee’s recommendations.  A public meeting on the draft guidelines was held in Portland, OR in October 2002.

In November 2005, the Board revised the draft guidelines based on public comments on the initial draft and released them as a notice of availability.  This action was done to assist the Board in preparing a regulatory assessment of the impacts of the rule.  A proposed rule was published for public comment in July 2011; two hearings were held and the comment period closed in February 2012.

When the Board approved draft final accessibility guidelines for trails, coverage of shared use paths was deferred to a future rulemaking.  Commenters on the outdoor developed areas rule had previously raised concerns about the need for differing guidelines for shared use paths.  Commenters noted that shared use paths differ from trails and typically are in more developed outdoor areas, as opposed to the more primitive trail settings.  Unlike trails, shared use paths are designed to serve both bicyclists and pedestrians and are used for transportation and recreation purposes.

As a result, we initiated rulemaking to cover shared use paths.  In September 2010, we held a public information meeting in conjunction with the ProWalk/ProBike 2010 Conference.  This meeting provided an opportunity for individuals with disabilities, designers of shared use paths, and others with expertise in this area to share information with the Board to assist in the development of new accessibility guidelines.  We then published an ANPRM for shared use paths in March 2011.  In February 2013, we published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to include requirements for shared use paths as part of the public rights-of-way rule.  The next step for this rulemaking is a final rule; a time-line for the final rule has not been established.

  • notice of proposed rulemaking - December 21, 1992
  • interim final rule - June 20, 1994
  • final rule - January 13, 1998 (public rights-of-way not included in the final rule)
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - August 12, 1999
  • notice establishing advisory committee - October 20, 1999
  • full committee meetings:  December 2-3, 1999; February 9-11, 2000; May 18-19, 2000; August 16-18, 2000; October 18-20, 2000
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - January 10, 2001
  • draft guidelines - June 17, 2002
  • public hearing - October 8, 2002
  • notice of availability of second set of draft guidelines - November 23, 2005
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 26, 2011
  • information meeting on shared use paths - September 13, 2010
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking on shared use paths - March 28, 2011
  • supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on shared use paths - February 14, 2013

Self-Service Transaction Machines.  We have worked collaboratively with other agencies to develop a single set of technical requirements that can be referenced and scoped by each participating agency.  In November 2013, DOT published a rule under the Air Carrier Access Act addressing accessibility of web sites and automated kiosks.  The DOT requirements for automated kiosks are derived from the technical requirements we helped develop and are consistent with our requirements for automatic teller machines and fare machines, as well as the current requirements of section 508 for self-contained, closed products.  The next step for the Board’s rulemaking is an ANPRM planned for FY 2019.

Passenger Vessels.  This rulemaking will address access to ferries, cruise ships, excursion boats, and other vessels.  In 1994, the Access Board and DOT funded a research project to assess the feasibility and impact of providing access to a variety of vessels.  This project was completed in July 1996 and provided valuable information for rulemaking.  The Board and DOT also held an information meeting with organizations representing people with disabilities and the marine industry to determine the scope and complexity of the rulemaking.

In August 1998, the Board created a 22-member Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee to provide recommendations for a proposed rule addressing accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered passenger vessels covered by the ADA.  The committee presented its report to the Board in November 2000.

The Board held public meetings in New Orleans (August 2003) and Seattle (September 2003) to gather information and input on viable access solutions that will allow persons with disabilities independent access onto and off of large vessels.  Over 150 vessel designers and operators, pier operators, persons with disabilities, and others attended the meetings.  In advance of the meetings, the Board toured vessels and boarding facilities at area ports.  In November 2004, the Board published for public comment an ANPRM on access to and in smaller passenger vessels and a notice of availability releasing draft guidelines on access to and in larger passenger vessels.

In July 2006, the Board made available for public comment revised draft accessibility guidelines for passenger vessels.  We received approximately 175 comments on the draft guidelines.  Passenger vessel operators, individuals with disabilities, and organizations representing the various interest groups commented that a provision in the draft guidelines, which required emergency alarm systems to comply with “principles of best practice”, was vague and requested additional guidance.  The Board agreed that additional guidance would be helpful and in August 2007 created a Passenger Vessel Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee to assist in this matter.  The committee’s membership included representatives from disability organizations, the vessel and cruise ship industry and trade groups, and the National Fire Protection Association, among others.  The committee presented its report to the Board in October 2008.  In June 2008, we published revised draft guidelines to hold information meetings to collect data necessary for a regulatory assessment.  Meetings were held in August 2008 to collect this data.

In June 2013, the Board released for public comment proposed guidelines for passenger vessels.  The comment period ended in January 2014.  The next step for this rulemaking is a final rule; a time-line for the final rule has not been established.

  • information meeting - April 15, 1996
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - March 30, 1998
  • notice establishing advisory committee - August 12, 1998
  • full committee meetings:  September 24-25, 1998; November 18-21, 1998; February 4-6, 1999; April 21-23, 1999; July 21-23, 1999; October 20-22, 1999; February 9-11, 2000; April 26-28, 2000; September 19-22, 2000
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - November 17, 2000
  • information meetings - August 20, 2003; September 9, 2003
  • notice of availability of draft guidelines and advance notice of proposed rulemaking - November 26, 2004
  • revised draft guidelines for large vessels, ferries, and tenders - July 7, 2006
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - June 25, 2007
  • notice establishing advisory committee - August 13, 2007
  • full committee meetings:  September 19-20, 2007; November 28-29, 2007; February 12-13, 2008; August 12-13, 2008
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - October 14, 2008
  • revised draft guidelines for large vessels, ferries, and tenders - June 26, 2008
  • information meeting - August 11, 2008
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - June 25, 2013

Completed Access Board Rulemakings

February 2019

ADAAG for Buildings and Facilities (Sections 1-9).  The ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) initially consisted of nine sections.  Sections 1 through 4 include general sections, scoping provisions, and technical specifications applicable to all types of buildings and facilities.  The scoping provisions specify which and how many elements and spaces of a building or facility must be accessible (e.g., parking spaces, entrances, toilet rooms).  The technical specifications describe how to design the elements and spaces covered by the scoping provisions so they are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.  Sections 5 through 9 contain additional scoping provisions and technical specifications for the following facilities:  restaurants and cafeterias (section 5); medical care facilities (section 6); mercantile establishments (section 7); libraries (section 8); and hotels, motels, and transient lodging (section 9).

  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - August 31, 1990
  • public hearings - February 11, 1991 through March 7, 1991
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - January 22, 1991
  • final rule - July 26, 1991
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 26, 1991
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 6, 1991

ADAAG for Transportation Facilities (Section 10).  This rulemaking added section 10 to ADAAG which contains additional scoping provisions and technical specifications for transportation facilities.

  • supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking - March 20, 1991
  • final rule - September 6, 1991
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 6, 1991
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - January 18, 1994

ADAAG for Transportation Vehicles.  A separate ADAAG was issued for transportation vehicles for the following vehicles and systems:  buses and vans, rapid rail vehicles, light rail vehicles, commuter rail cars, intercity rail cars, over-the-road buses, automated guideway transit vehicles, high-speed rail cars, monorails, and trams and similar vehicles.

  • notice of proposed rulemaking - March 20, 1991
  • final rule - September 6, 1991
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 6, 1991

Automated Teller Machines.  In response to a petition for rulemaking, on July 15, 1993, the Board issued a joint final rule with DOT amending the reach range requirements for accessible automated teller machines and fare vending machines.

  • notice requesting public comment on petition for rulemaking - May 6, 1992
  • public hearing - May 28, 1992
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - September 8, 1992
  • final rule - July 15, 1993
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - July 15, 1993
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - January 18, 1994

Children’s Elements.  This rulemaking added provisions to ADAAG for building elements designed for children’s use.  The Board published an ANPRM in February 1993 seeking comment on general issues, such as the scope of the guidelines and the ages or grades that should be covered.  Following an analysis of the comments, the Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking in July 1996.  The Board published the final rule in January 1998.

  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - February 3, 1993
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 22, 1996
  • final rule - January 13, 1998
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

State and Local Government Facilities (Sections 11-12).  This rulemaking added two special application sections to ADAAG for certain State and local government facilities covered by title II of the ADA.  The two sections are 11 -- Judicial, Legislative, and Regulatory Facilities, and 12 -- Detention and Correctional Facilities.  The rule also covers miscellaneous provisions that apply to State and local government facilities.

The Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking and conducted five public hearings on the proposed rule.  Following an analysis of the comments, the Board published an interim final rule asking for additional comments.  Provisions regarding accessible residential housing and public rights-of-way were proposed as part of the NPRM and the interim final rule.  However, no action was taken on either of these subjects in the final rule.  Provisions for accessible residential housing were proposed as part of the Board’s ADAAG Revision and ABA Accessibility Guidelines rulemaking.  We convened a federal advisory committee to develop recommendations on access to public rights-of-way.  We published a final rule in January 1998.

  • notice of proposed rulemaking - December 21, 1992
  • public hearings - February 22, 1993 (two hearings); March 2, 1993; March 9, 1993; March 15, 1993
  • interim final rule - June 20, 1994
  • final rule - January 13, 1998
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

Telecommunications Equipment.  The Telecommunications Act of 1996 required the Board to issue accessibility guidelines in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment.  We convened a 33-member Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee to assist the Board in fulfilling its mandate to issue the guidelines.  The committee presented its report to the Board in January 1997.  Based on the committee’s recommendations, the Board published a notice of proposed rulemaking in April 1997 and then a final rule in February 1998.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - March 28, 1996
  • notice establishing advisory committee - May 24, 1996
  • full committee meetings:  June 10 12, 1996; August 14-16, 1996; September 25-27, 1996; November 6-8, 1996; December 16-18, 1996; January 13-14, 1997
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - January 15, 1997
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - April 18, 1997
  • final rule - February 3, 1998
  • Federal Communications Commission adopted guidelines - November 19, 1999

Over-the-Road Buses.  The ADA requires the Board and DOT to issue guidelines and regulations for access to over-the-road buses.  The Board and DOT co-sponsored an information meeting on over-the-road bus issues and in March 1998, we published an NPRM to amend the technical provisions for over-the-road buses to include provisions for wheelchair access and other miscellaneous provisions.  The Department of Transportation also published an NPRM on accessible over-the-road bus service.  After reviewing the comments received in response to the NPRM, the Board issued final guidelines which include technical provisions for lifts, ramps, wheelchair securement devices, moveable aisle armrests, and revisions to specifications for doors and lighting.

  • information meeting - October 21, 1993
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - March 25, 1998
  • final rule - September 28, 1998
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - September 28, 1998

Detectable Warnings Temporary Suspension.  In response to a petition for rulemaking, in 1994 the Board, DOJ, and DOT suspended temporarily until July 1996, the requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools so that a research project on this subject could be considered in determining whether any changes in the requirements were warranted.

In March and April 1995, the Board received petitions from two transit agencies and an organization of blind persons to review the requirements for detectable warnings at transit platform edges.  The Board’s ADAAG Review Advisory Committee also considered the requirements for detectable warnings within the context of the committee’s complete review of ADAAG provisions.  The committee recommended that the requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools that are currently suspended be eliminated.  The committee recommended requiring detectable warnings at platform edges in transit stations, and allowing an “equivalent tactile surface,” and “equivalent detectability.” Since any amendment to the detectable warning requirements will be done as part of the scheduled review and update of ADAAG, in July 1996, the Board, DOJ, and DOT published a final rule to extend the temporary suspension until July 1998 to allow the ADAAG revision process to be completed.  Because the ADAAG revision rulemaking was not completed by July 1998, the temporary suspension was continued until July 2001.

  • proposed rule to temporarily suspend the requirements - July 9, 1993
  • final rule to temporarily suspend the requirements - April 12, 1994
  • proposed rule to extend the temporary suspension - April 12, 1996
  • final rule to extend the temporary suspension - July 29, 1996
  • proposed rule to extend the temporary suspension - June 1, 1998
  • final rule to extend the temporary suspension - November 23, 1998

Play Areas.  The Board convened a 27-member advisory committee to make recommendations on issues related to making various recreation areas accessible.  The committee met from July 1993 - May 1994.  Some issues remained where consensus was needed.  This included play areas, playground surfaces, and play equipment.

The Board created a 17-member Play Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee to achieve consensus requirements for access to play areas.  The committee presented its consensus report to the Board in July 1997.  At the same meeting, the Board approved an NPRM on access to play areas.  The Board published the NPRM in April 1998 and held one public hearing in Denver, CO to receive additional feedback during the comment period.  The final rule was published in October 2000.  In November 2000, the Board published an amended advisory note to the accessibility guidelines which clarified that play components that are attached to a composite play structure and can be approached from a platform or deck are elevated play components.  These play components are not considered ground level play components also, and do not count toward meeting the number of ground level play components that must be located on an accessible route.

  • notice of intent to establish regulatory negotiation committee - December 22, 1995
  • notice establishing regulatory negotiation committee - February 14, 1996
  • full committee meetings:  March 5-7, 1996; May 8-10, 1996; August 4-6, 1996; October 26-28; January 6-9, 1997; April 2-4, 1997; July 8-9, 1997
  • committee presented report to the Board - July 9, 1997
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - April 30, 1998
  • public hearing - June 3, 1998
  • final rule - October 18, 2000
  • amended advisory note - November 20, 2000
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

Electronic and Information Technology.  In August 1998, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which includes the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, was signed into law.  Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments requires that when federal departments or agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, they shall ensure that the technology is accessible to people with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency.

Section 508 required the Board to publish standards setting forth a definition of electronic and information technology and the technical and functional performance criteria for such technology.  The Board and the General Services Administration were required to provide technical assistance to individuals and federal departments and agencies concerning the requirements of section 508.

In developing its standards, the Board was required to consult with various federal agencies, the electronic and information technology industry, and appropriate public or nonprofit agencies or organizations, including organizations representing individuals with disabilities.  We convened a 27-member Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee to assist in developing our standards.  The Committee presented its report to the Board in May 1999.  The Board issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on access to electronic and information technology in March 2000.  A final rule was published in December 2000.  In April 2001, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council incorporated the Board’s standards into revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - August 24, 1998
  • notice establishing advisory committee - September 29, 1998
  • full committee meetings:  October 15-16, 1998; December 1-2, 1998; January 5-6, 1999; February 8-9, 1999; March 29-30, 1999; May 11-12, 1999
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - May 12, 1999
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - March 31, 2000
  • final rule - December 21, 2000
  • Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council incorporated the Board’s standards into revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulations - April 25, 2001

Recreation Facilities.  This rulemaking addresses recreation facilities including sports facilities, places of amusement, golf, and boating and fishing facilities.  We convened a 27-member advisory committee to make recommendations on issues related to making these areas accessible.  The committee met from July 1993 - May 1994.  After receiving the committee’s report, the Board published it as an ANPRM.  Over 600 comments were received on the report and questions asked in the ANPRM.  We also sponsored an information meeting on access to miniature golf facilities in September 1996 to obtain additional information on some issues related to access to miniature golf courses.

The Board published an NPRM for sports facilities, places of amusement, golf, and boating and fishing facilities in July 1999 and held two public hearings to receive feedback during the comment period.  The NPRM was based on the recommendations of the advisory committee and public comments received in response to the ANPRM and information meeting.  The comment period closed in December 1999.  Over 300 comments were received on the proposed rule.  The Board also sponsored an information meeting on access to amusement rides in December 1999 to clarify concerns raised by the amusement industry during the public comment period.

To provide more opportunities for input, in July 2000 the Board placed in the docket for review and comment, a summary of recommendations made by an ad hoc committee of the Access Board for the final recreation facilities guidelines.  The summary reflected the ad hoc committee’s consideration of comments on the proposed rule and information gathered at meetings sponsored by the committee.  We held two information meetings in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA to discuss the summary.  In September 2002, the Board issued a final rule.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - February 3, 1993
  • notice establishing advisory committee - June 10, 1993
  • full committee meetings:  July 15-16, 1993; October 23-25, 1993; January 28-30, 1994; March 18-20, 1994; May 20-22, 1994 (numerous
  • subcommittee meetings were also held)
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - July 13, 1994
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - September 21, 1994
  • information meeting on miniature golf facilities - September 16, 1996
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 9, 1999
  • information meeting on amusement rides - December 1, 1999
  • public hearing - August 26, 1999; November 17, 1999
  • notice of draft final guidelines summary and informational meetings - July 21, 2000
  • information meetings - August 21-22, 2000; September 6-7, 2000
  • final rule - September 3, 2002
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - July 23, 2010

ADAAG Revision and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Guidelines.   This rulemaking revised ADAAG, updated the Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design (MGRAD) for federal facilities covered by the ABA, and created new guidelines for accessible housing.

The rulemaking consists of separate scoping and application sections for each law and one set of technical requirements for both the ADA and the ABA.  The ADA scoping section is based on recommendations of the Board’s ADAAG Review Advisory Committee and covers private facilities (places of public accommodation and commercial facilities) and state and local government facilities.  The other scoping section addresses federally funded facilities covered by the ABA.  New scoping and technical provisions for accessible housing are included in this rule and are based on requirements for “Type A” dwelling units contained in the 1998 edition of the ICC/ANSI A117.1 standard, “Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities.”

The Board established a 22-member ADAAG Review Advisory Committee to review and make recommendations for updating ADAAG to ensure that it remains consistent with technological developments and changes in model codes and national standards and continues to meet the needs of people with disabilities.  The committee developed a comprehensive set of recommendations addressing the format of the guidelines, its numbering system, and changes to the scoping provisions and technical requirements.  Cited as an outstanding example of reinventing government, the committee and the Board received the Vice-Presidential Hammer Award in July 1996.

We issued a proposed rule in November 1999.  The comment period closed in May 2000.  Over 2,500 comments were received on the proposed rule.  The Board held two public hearings (Los Angeles, CA on January 31, 2000 and Arlington, VA on March 13, 2000).  We also held informational meetings in Washington, DC in October 2000 to hear from industry associations and disability groups on issues regarding automated teller machines, reach ranges, and captioning equipment for movie theaters.  In April 2002, we placed in the docket for public review a draft of the final guidelines to promote the harmonization of the Board’s guidelines with the International Code Council (ICC)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117.1 Standard on Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities and the International Building Code.  The ANSI Committee and the ICC were currently in the process of revising the private sector accessibility provisions.  Without taking this step, an important opportunity would have been missed to harmonize the Board’s guidelines with those of the private sector.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - April 6, 1994
  • notice establishing advisory committee - September 14, 1994
  • full committee meetings:  October 24-25, 1994; January 26-27, 1995; April 26-29, 1995; February 26 - March 1, 1996; July 7-9, 1996; August 26-28, 1996 (numerous subcommittee meetings were also held)
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - July 10, 1996
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - November 16, 1999
  • public hearing - January 31, 2000; March 13, 2000
  • information meeting - October 24-25, 2000
  • draft final rule - April 2, 2002
  • final rule - July 23, 2004
  • U.S. Postal Service adopted guidelines - May 17, 2005
  • General Services Administration adopted guidelines - November 8, 2005
  • Department of Transportation adopted guidelines - October 30, 2006
  • Department of Defense adopted guidelines - October 31, 2008
  • Department of Justice adopted guidelines - September 15, 2010

Outdoor Developed Areas.  The Board created a 26-member Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee to achieve a consensus approach and requirements for making outdoor developed areas accessible.  The Committee presented its report in September 1999.  In October 2001, we sponsored an information meeting on the committee’s report in Denver, CO during the annual meeting of the National Recreation and Park Association.

An NPRM for federal facilities covered by the ABA was published in June 2007.  We held three public hearings in Denver, CO; Washington, DC; and Indianapolis, IN.  In October 2009, we released draft final guidelines for public comment.  Approximately 80 comments were received.  A final rule was published in September 2013.  Proposed guidelines for non-federal sites will be published for comment at a future date.

  • notice of intent to establish regulatory negotiation committee - April 18, 1997
  • notice establishing regulatory negotiation committee - June 4, 1997
  • full committee meetings:  June 26-27, 1997; September 24-26, 1997; December 14-16, 1997; January 31-February 2, 1998; May 18-21, 1998; August 11-14, 1998; October 21-24, 1998; January 19 22, 1999; April 27-30, 1999; July 15-16, 1999
  • committee presented report to the Board - September 15, 1999
  • information meeting - October 4, 2001
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - June 20, 2007
  • draft final rule - October 19, 2009
  • final rule - September 26, 2013

Emergency Transportable Housing.  A federal advisory committee on emergency transportable housing was created to provide recommendations on supplementing our guidelines to specifically cover emergency transportable housing.  Access to such housing proved problematic in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and, after verifying and examining the issues involved, the Board determined that supplementary guidelines was needed.  The committee included representation from disability groups, industry and code groups, and government agencies.  The committee presented its report to the Board in November 2008.  We published a proposed rule in June 2012; the comment period closed in August 2012.  One public hearing was held in July 2012.  At the close of the comment period, we had received 45 comments, including those from the public hearing.  A final rule was published in May 2014.

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - June 25, 2007
  • notice establishing advisory committee - August 23, 2007
  • full committee meetings:  September 24-25, 2007; November 19-20, 2007; January 24-25, 2008; February 14, 2008; March 27-28, 2008; July 9, 2008; July 24, 2008; August 21, 2008
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - November 18, 2008
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - June 18, 2012
  • public hearing - July 11, 2012
  • final rule - May 7, 2014

ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for Transportation Vehicles – Update (non-rail vehicles).  In April 2007, the Board released for public comment a preliminary draft of revisions updating our accessibility guidelines for buses and vans covered by the ADA.  We received approximately 90 comments.  We used this input to refine the draft and then published a second draft in November 2008 for additional comment.  An NPRM to revise and update the accessibility guidelines for buses, over-the-road buses, and vans was published in July 2010.  Two public hearings were held during the comment period.  One important issue was raised after the close of the comment period.  As a result, we re-opened the comment period for additional public input related to the late comments.  The commenters raised issues about the 1:6 ramp slope requirements and a new design that locates the shallower ramp partially inside the vehicle.  This design constrains the maneuvering space within the vehicle at the top of the ramp and at the fare box and creates a grade break within the ramp run.  During the extended comment period, which ended in October 2102, we held two information meetings to gather input on these issues.  A final rule was published in December 2016.

  • draft guidelines for buses and vans - April 11, 2007
  • second draft of guidelines for buses and vans - November 19, 2008
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - July 26, 2010
  • public hearings - September 30, 2010; November 8, 2010
  • re-opening of comment period - August 20, 2012
  • public hearings - September 19, 2012; October 2, 2012
  • final rule - December 14, 2016

Medical Diagnostic Equipment. Section 510 of the Rehabilitation Act required the Board to issue accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment, including examination tables and chairs, weight scales, radiological equipment, and mammography equipment in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration.  The standards were required to address independent access to, and use of, equipment by people with disabilities to the maximum extent possible.

In July 2010, the Board held a public information meeting on this rulemaking to gather information from stakeholders with an interest in the new standards.  A proposed rule was published in February 2012 and two public hearings were held.  The comment period closed in June 2012; 53 comments were received.  In March 2012, the Board created a 24-member Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards federal advisory committee to advise the Board on matters associated with the comments the Board received and information it requested in proposing the standards.  The committee issued its final report in December 2013.  A final rule was published in January 2017.

  • information meeting - July 29, 2010
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - February 9, 2012
  • public hearings - March 14, 2012; May 8, 2012
  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - March 13, 2012
  • notice establishing advisory committee - July 5, 2012
  • full committee meetings:  September 27-28, 2012; December 3-4, 2012; January 22-23, 2013; February 26-27, 2013; March 26-27, 2013; May 7-8, 2013; June 17, 2013
  • committee presented draft recommendations to the Board - July 10, 2013
  • committee report completed - December 6, 2013
  • final rule - January 9, 2017

Information and Communication Technology. In July 2006, the Board created an advisory committee to update and revise the Section 508 standards and the Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines.  Forty-one organizations served on the Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee.  The committee’s membership included representatives from industry, disability groups, standard-setting bodies in the U.S. and abroad, and government agencies, among others.  The committee completed its work and presented its report to the Board in April 2008.  In March 2010, we published an ANPRM and held two public hearings during the comment period.  In response to this input, we published a second ANPRM in December 2011; two hearings were held.  A proposed rule was published in February 2015.  Three public hearings and a webinar on the proposed rule were held during the comment period.  A final rule was published in January 2017.

On January 22, 2018, we issued a correction to our updated accessibility requirements for ICT to restore provisions on TTY access that were inadvertently omitted.  The original Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines required that devices with two-way voice communication support use of TTY devices which provide text communication across phone connections for persons with hearing or speech impairments.  In its ICT refresh, the Board had proposed replacing this provision with a requirement for real-time text (RTT) functionality, a new technology with significant advantages over TTYs.  In finalizing the rule, however, the Board chose to reserve the RTT requirement because the Federal Communications Commission had initiated its own rulemaking to address RTT functionality.  In doing so, the Board intended to add the original TTY provision back into the rule, but the necessary language was unintentionally left out.  The correction notice restores the TTY requirement with minor editorial changes for consistency with the new format and terminology of the updated requirements and corrects two typographical errors in other sections of the rule.

Corrections to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Final Standards and Guidelines Direct final rule; request for comments

  • notice of intent to establish advisory committee - April 18, 2006
  • notice establishing advisory committee - July 6, 2006
  • full committee meetings:  September 27-29, 2006; November 7-8, 2006; February 6-8, 2007; May 22-24, 2007; July 16-18, 2007; September 4-6, 2007; November 13-16, 2007
  • committee presented recommendations to the Board - April 3, 2008
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - March 22, 2010
  • public hearings - March 25, 2010; May 12, 2010
  • advance notice of proposed rulemaking - December 8, 2011
  • public hearings - January 11, 2012; March 1, 2012
  • notice of proposed rulemaking - February 27, 2015
  • final rule - January 18, 2017
  • correction notice (direct final rule; request for comments) - January 22, 2018

Appendix C

Architectural Barriers Act Cases

 FY 2017FY 2018FY 2019
(est.)
FY 2020
(est.)
Complaints pending at start of the fiscal year 56 82 98 121
Complaints received during the fiscal year 157 149 153 155
Complaints closed during the fiscal year following an investigation 69 73 71 75
Complaints closed during the fiscal year with a referral without opening an investigation 49 48 49 45
Complaints closed during the fiscal year without a referral and without opening an investigation 13 12 10 10
Complaints pending at end of the fiscal year 82 98 121 146

Appendix D

Technical Assistance Data

 FY 2017FY 2018FY 2019 (est.)FY 2020 (est.)
² Data has been collected since March 1998; in 2013 we began using a new web analytics tool which captures data in a different manner than our previous tool.
Technical Assistance
Calls and Faxes
11,508 7,755 8,500 9,000
Website User
Sessions²
1.35 million 1.41 million 1.40 million 1.42 million
  in-person webinars in-person webinars in-person webinars in-person webinars
Training Sessions 69 17 52 18 50 18 55 18
Training Participants 7,603 8,204 6,136 8,094 6,100 7,800 6,400 7,900