Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board)

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, also known as the Access Board, is an independent federal agency responsible for developing accessibility guidelines for buildings, facilities, and transit vehicles. Consequently, the Board's research program is focused on accessibility research pertaining to architecture and design, communication, and transportation. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 significantly broadened the Board's responsibility for developing design guidelines. Since passage of the ADA, the Board has given priority to research that supports the development of ADA design guidelines and of technical assistance materials.

Funding: $280,000 in fiscal year 1995.

Disability Research: Research projects are currently selected in the following order of priority:

  1. research pertaining to issues or areas not currently covered by the Board's guidelines or scheduled for future rulemaking;
  2. research addressing issues of compliance or clarity concerning specific provisions of the guidelines; and
  3. research that reevaluates existing specifications that are long-standing and possibly dated.
  4. The Board plans to continue to focus on design issues related to its ADA guidelines in fiscal years 1995 and 1996. Recent research projects undertaken by the Board include:

    • Technical requirements for ramps. A study on existing specifications for ramps, including those for slope, landing, and length.
    • Detectable warnings. A project to study the need for detectable warnings for persons with visual impairments at intersections and at hazardous vehicular areas.
    • Design requirements for persons using powered mobility aids. Some of the provisions in ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), such as those for clear floor space, maneuvering clearances, and reach ranges, are based on anthropometric data derived from studies involving persons using manual wheelchairs. This project investigated design specifications appropriate for persons using powered wheelchairs, scooters, and other motorized mobility aids.

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