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Friday, December 13, 2013

News from the U.S. Access Board - November/ December 2013

as shared by United States Access Board ...

Access Board logoAccess Currents 
News from the U.S. Access Board  •  November/ December 2013

Rail Vehicle Access Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting
trainThe Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee, which is assisting the Board in updating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles, held its first meeting in November. The 27 member committee will develop recommendations on updates to sections of the guidelines covering transportation vehicles that operate on fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail.
At the meeting, committee members identified and discussed issues concerning rail accessibility and the current guidelines that should be addressed by the committee. The committee plans to prioritize the resulting list of issues at the next meeting. In addition, committee members received briefings from Board staff on the update of the rail vehicle guidelines, the goals for the committee, and related topics. The committee also finalized its operating procedures and approved the addition of three members to the committee.
The committee's next meeting will be held January 9 and 10 in Washington, D.C. Committee meetings are open to the public, and interested persons can attend and communicate their views on issues of interest during designated public comment periods on each day of the meeting. Organizations or persons not on the committee may also have the opportunity to participate in any subcommittees formed by the committee.
For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Paul Beatty at rvaac@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0012 (v), or (202) 272-0072 (TTY).
Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee Meeting
January 9 (10:00 – 5:00) and January 10 (9:00 – 3:00)
Access Board Conference Center
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C.
Note: For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

Call-in option (listening only):
Dial: (888) 790-2060 (Toll number: (517) 308-9366)
Passcode: 6317703

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART):
January 9www.streamtext.net/text.aspx?event=ACCESSBOARD0192014
January 10: www.streamtext.net/text.aspx?event=ACCESSBOARD01102014

Upcoming Board Webinars
The next scheduled webinars in the Board's free monthly series will cover accessible alterations (January 9) and accessible routes on sites (February 6). The webinars, which are scheduled from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET), are made available in cooperation with the national network of ADA Centers. For more information, including registration instructions, visit www.accessibilityonline.org. Archived copies of previous webinars can be accessed on this site.

DOT Issues Rules on Airline Websites, Kiosks, and Wheelchair Stowage
DOT sealThe Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued new rules under the Air Carrier Access Act that require access to airline websites and automated airport kiosks and that address stowage of wheelchairs aboard aircraft.
Under the new regulations, airlines must ensure access to website pages containing core travel information and services within two years and to all web pages within three years. In addition, airline ticket agents must disclose and offer web-based discount fares to customers unable to use the airline's website due to a disability. These requirements apply to U.S. and foreign airlines with websites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to, or from the United States.
The rule also requires access to automated kiosks at U.S airports for checking in, printing boarding passes, and other passenger services. New units must comply until at least a quarter of all kiosks at each airport location are accessible. The criteria for accessible kiosks established by the rule are based on requirements for accessible ATMs and fare machines in the current ADA Standards as well as provisions for self-contained closed products in the Board's Section 508 Standards covering electronic and information technology.
The rule on wheelchair stowage permits airlines to transport passenger wheelchairs by strapping them across a row of seats using a strap kit that complies with applicable safety standards in addition to stowing them in a closet or similar compartment. This revises an earlier DOT rule that allowed the seat-strapping method only on existing aircraft. Based on a fuller evaluation of the costs and benefits, DOT has decided to allow the use of seat-strapping method on new aircraft as a secondary means of stowage. Stowage in a cabin closet or similar compartment is still required. If an airline chooses to use the seat-strapping method to stow a wheelchair, it must transport two wheelchairs in the cabin if requested except where stowing a second wheelchair would displace other passengers.
Visit DOT's website for further information on the new regulations.

FCC Issues Complaint Procedures for Access to Advanced Communications Technologies
FCC logoThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued procedures for filing complaints concerning access to advanced communications technologies and services, telecommunications, and internet browsers built into mobile phones. These procedures are being implemented under the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act which establishes accessibility requirements for devices such as cellphones, smartphones, mobile phones, personal computers, laptops, and tablets. Services covered include voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, text and instant messaging, email, and interoperable video conferencing service.
Under the new procedures, consumers who have an accessibility issue with a covered technology or service can contact companies directly or they can request assistance from the FCC's Disability Rights Office in resolving the matter. If the problem is not resolved within 30 days, consumers can request additional assistance or they can file a complaint with the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. For further information, visit FCC's website or contact the FCC Disability Rights Office at dro@fcc.gov or call 202-418-2517 (voice) or 202-418-2922 (TTY). 

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