A Federal Agency That Promotes Equal Access For People With Disabilities: US Access Board

Federal Agency Advocating for Mobility

There are many non-governmental organizations in the world advocating equal access for the disabled. You may have heard of some of these organizations – TASH, AAPD, ADAPT, to name a few. Organizations such as these, strive to ensure that there is equal accessibility around the world for people with disabilities. Well, did you know, in the United States, there is a federal agency who’s sole purpose is to promote equal access for people with disabilities?

The US Access Board, www.access-board.gov, is an independent federal agency that was created in 1973 to safeguard access to federally funded facilities for people with disabilities. The agency has since evolved into the leading source of information on accessible design. It has become the coordinating body between other federal agencies and directly represents the public. It’s goal is to promote equal access for people with disabilities by developing and maintaining infrastructure accessibility guidelines and standards. The Board will also provide technical assistance and training on these requirements.

            Standards under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) ensure that people with disabilities have convenient access to federal buildings and facilities.  These standards are established according to the guidelines issued by the US Access Board. The Board also acts as an investigatory unit to address and resolve complaints under the ABA. If there is an issue with access to a federal building and a complaint is received, the Board will investigate it and provide a recommendation.

The Access Board is also responsible for providing technical assistance and training on the standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA guarantees access for people with disabilities to public accommodations, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities in new construction, renovations, and additions. In this context, the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation publishes the ADA standards which are established by the Board.

The Department of Transportation and the US Access Board will hold a virtual public meetings each year to gather information on the use of wheelchairs on airplanes during flights. In this context, the Board prepares voluntary design guides to assist air carriers and wheelchair manufacturers.

If you want to learn more about the US Access Board, you can visit the US Access Board’s website: www.access-board.gov.

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