10/13/2011 - New Rail Stations Rule, Public Rights-of-Way Guidelines and Email Notices

New Rail Stations Rule 

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Thursday, September 15th that individuals with disabilities will have greater access to intercity, commuter and high-speed train travel as a result of a new rule requiring new station platform construction or significant renovation to enable those with disabilities to get on and off any car on a train.

"This will help give passengers with disabilities better access to rail travel across the country," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "By putting this protection in place, passengers with disabilities will be able to get on and off any accessible car that is available to passengers at a new or altered station platform."

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is amending its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations to require intercity, commuter and high-speed passenger railroads to ensure, at new and significantly renovated station platforms, that passengers with disabilities can get on and off any accessible car of the train. Passenger railroads must provide level-entry boarding at new or altered stations in which no track passing through the station and adjacent to platforms is shared with existing freight rail operations.

For new or altered stations in which track shared with existing freight rail operations precludes compliance, passenger railroads will be able to choose among a variety of means to meet a performance standard to ensure that passengers with disabilities can access each accessible train car that other passengers can board at the station. These options include providing car-borne lifts, station-based lifts, or mini-high platforms.

The Department will review a railroad's proposed method to ensure that it provides reliable and safe services to individuals with disabilities in an integrated manner.

The rule also requires that transit providers carry a wheelchair and occupant if the lift and vehicle can physically accommodate them, unless doing so is inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements. In addition, it codifies the existing DOT mechanism for issuing ADA guidance and makes minor technical changes to the Department's ADA rules.

The Final Rule is available at  


Public Rights-of-Way Guidelines

In case you didn't get the word on July 26th, the Access Board Released its Rights-of-Way Guidelines for Public Comment. The guidelines provide design criteria for public streets and sidewalks, including pedestrian access routes, street crossings, curb ramps and blended transitions, on-street parking, street furniture, and other elements. The specifications comprehensively address access that accommodates all types of disabilities, including mobility and vision impairments, while taking into account conditions and constraints that may impact compliance, such as space limitations and terrain.

The guidelines, once finalized and implemented as standards, will apply to newly constructed or altered portions of public rights-of-way covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They will also apply to public rights-of-way built or altered with funding from the Federal government under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). The proposed guidelines can be accessed, and comments to them submitted or viewed, through the Federal government's rulemaking portal at Instructions for submitting comments are included in the proposal. The deadline for comments is November 23, 2011. The Board will hold a public hearing on the guidelines in Washington, DC on November 9 (9:30 to 11:30) in theAccess Board Meeting Room at 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004.

For further information on this rulemaking, visit the Board's website or contact Scott Windley at, (202) 272-0025 (v), or (202) 272-0028 (TTY). Those who wish to provide comments at the hearing are encouraged to contact Kathy Johnson at, (202) 272-0041 (voice), or (202) 272-0065 (TTY) 


Email Notices 

When ETA started sending email notices of breaking regulations, publications, and announcements from the various federal agencies about accessibility topics to our list members, none of the federal agencies had an option to sign up for notices directly from them. At that time, you had to either know what was coming, accidentally talk to someone who knew what had just been released, or pour through the Federal Register every day looking for what interested you. Now many of the agencies allow you to sign up to receive notices directly from them when they publish something new. We applaud these agencies for their initiatives to make helpful and important regulatory information readily available to those of us who must use it on a daily or less frequent basis. Here are the links to a few of those websites if you want to sign up to receive their notices directly:

US Department of Justice Disability Rights Section -

US Access Board active lists -

Newsletter (Once you sign up for one of the Access Board's lists, you should have an option to select other topics of interest to you.)

Public Rights of Way

Outdoor Developed Areas

Transportation Vehicles signup

Passenger Vessels signup

Emergency Transportable Housing

Medical Diagnostic Equipment -



You may register at to receive ETA's free Comparative Analysis of the Standards and for announcements about new and updated access-related Publications. You will be able to select which types of notices you want to receive and we will never sell or share any of your information.


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