WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today published detailed guidance to transit agencies on how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since the ADA became law in 1990, FTA has ensured that transit systems comply with the ADA’s provisions on public transportation, primarily through education and investigations of possible violations. To enhance understanding of the Act, the new circular offers a user-friendly, one-stop resource on its requirements.
“We have made great progress in advancing accessible public transportation, but we still have work to do,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “We must ensure that Americans of all ages and abilities can access our nation's transportation system. Today's guidance reinforces our commitment to full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Public transit ridership increased 25 percent over the last 20 years, including a rise in the number of passengers with disabilities, according to DOT’s Beyond Traffic report. Transit agencies have made major capital investments to make nearly all of America’s busiest public transit stations accessible. Today, nearly all transit buses, light rail and heavy rail vehicles are ADA accessible, as well as two-thirds of rail transit stations.
“One of the important jobs we do at FTA is to ensure mobility for everyone, and this ADA Circular will help do just that,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “For people of all abilities and ages, public transportation provides a lifeline to jobs, education and medical care. We need to maintain these ladders of opportunity for all.”
With the 25th anniversary of the landmark legislation as a backdrop, the release of FTA’s ADA Circular represents a major milestone in assistance to the transit community. It thoroughly explains ADA requirements for public transit, providing real-life situations as examples of good practices for the transit industry to ensure accessible services for riders. The document does not amend or supersede the DOT ADA regulations; rather, it offers explanatory scenarios and sample templates, such as a rail station checklist for new construction and alterations.
FTA developed the ADA Circular in three phases because of the breadth of the regulations. Each chapter was submitted to the public for notice and comment in the Federal Register and went through a 60-day comment period.