Access Board seeks public comment on bus ramp rule

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  Here’s some important news from the U.S. Access Board …

The Access Board is reopening the comment period on proposed updates to its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles to collect additional information on bus ramps. As part of this effort, the Board will hold public meetings in September and October to discuss the usability and impacts of certain bus ramp designs that have been implemented more recently. This information will be used to finalize proposed updates to sections of the guidelines covering buses and vans.

In 2010, the Board released for public comment a proposal to update sections of the vehicle guidelines covering buses and vans. The proposed rule included revisions to technical specifications for vehicle ramps, onboard circulation routes, wheelchair spaces, and securement systems. To improve accessibility, the Board proposed reducing the maximum slope of vehicle ramps.

The Board, which is finalizing the updated guidelines according to the public comments received, recently has been made aware of a specific bus ramp design that is responsive to the proposed slope reduction but that may impact usability. This design allows a portion of deployed ramps to remain inside the vehicle to minimize their exterior projection. Questions have arisen about this type of design, including grade breaks that occur on ramp runs, reduced maneuvering space at the top of ramps, and access to fare collection devices. This information and correspondence received by the Board have been placed in the rulemaking docket which is available online at regulations.gov.

To further examine this ramp design and to collect additional information and feedback from the public, the Board is re-opening the docket, as indicated in a published notice. The Board will hold a public meeting on the subject on September 19 from 9:30 to 1:30 at its conference center at 1331 F Street, N.W., Suite 800 in Washington, D.C. The Board plans to hold a second meeting the first week of October at the annual meeting of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in Seattle and will release further details at a later date. Bus and ramp manufacturers, transit operators, disability organizations, researchers, and interested individuals are encouraged to attend these meetings and to submit comment. Written comments will be accepted until October 31 and can be submitted through regulations.gov.

For further information, visit the Board’s website or contact Scott Windley at windley@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0025 (voice), or (202) 272-0028 (TTY).

 
 

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About the Blogger

Michele Ohmes

thumbnail image Michele S. Ohmes is an Americans with Disabilities Act specialist and wheelchair user who works with public works departments, facility managers, and contractors. Her design manual — ADA and Accessibility: Let's Get Practical — is available on CD-ROM through the American Public Works Association's Web site. Author's note: Michele & Associates does not render legal advice and has no enforcement authority regarding the ADA or other federal disability-rights legislation.