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  Board Proposes Updates to Its ADA Guidelines for Buses and Vans

July 26, 2010

On July 26, the Board published for public comment a proposal to update sections of its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles that cover access to buses and vans. The proposal contains revisions to the guidelines, which apply to new or remanufactured vehicles, to address new types of systems, such as bus rapid transit and low floor buses, and advances in technology, including automation of announcements. The current guidelines were issued by the Board in 1991 and later supplemented to address over-the-road buses. The Board plans to update sections of the guidelines covering rail systems and other modes of public transportation at a later date.

The proposed rule, which is available for comment for 120 days, would revise both the substance and structure of the bus and van guidelines. In addition to a new organization and format, the proposed guidelines include revisions to specifications covering vehicle ramp slopes, onboard circulation routes, wheelchair spaces, and securement systems. In addition, the Board is proposing a new requirement for automated stop and route announcements in systems with 100 or more buses and has added provisions specific to bus rapid transit systems. The proposed rule provides a discussion of the changes and poses specific questions to the public on various topics.

The proposed guidelines incorporate public input previously received on this update. In laying the groundwork for this rulemaking, the Board held several public meetings to identify and examine issues to address. In addition, the Board released for comment preliminary drafts of the rule in 2007 and 2008. Disability groups, consumers, industry groups and manufacturers and other interested parties provided recommendations on how the criteria for buses and vans should be updated.

The deadline for comments on the recent proposal is November 23, 2010. The Board plans to hold public hearings on the proposed rule in Chicago on September 30 and Washington, D.C. on November 8 that will provide additional venues for submitting comment. The Board will also conduct a webinar to review the proposed changes on August 5.

The proposal, which provides instructions on submitting comments, and related materials, including a side-by-side comparison of the proposed and the existing guidelines, are posted on the vehicles homepage. This information is also posted on which allows visitors to view and submit public comments.

For further information, contact Jim Pecht at, (202) 272-0021 (voice), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).


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