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Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule (2019)

Chapter: Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E - Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25430.
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E-1 Important: This appendix is not U.S. DOT guidance and should not be construed as legal interpretation. This unofficial summary table and bulleted list were developed by the con- sultant for this synthesis as an attempt to summarize and categorize when requests generally should be provided and when they would generally be considered a fundamental alteration of service, based on the contents of Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37. It must also be stressed that the U.S. DOT guidance in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 states that the examples are neither exhaustive nor exclusive. For U.S. DOT guidance, readers are advised to consult Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37. A P P E N D I X E Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests Example in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Applicable Mode(s) Stated in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Request for Modification that Generally Must Be Provided Circumstances Under Which the Requested Modification Is Not Required 1. Snow and Ice Fixed Route Request to deploy lift at an alternate location within a reasonable proximity to the bus stop when snow and ice block access to bus stop When there are extreme conditions that rise to the level of a direct threat to the driver or others Paratransit Request by an ambulatory blind rider to take driver’s arm to walk from the door to the vehicle When there are extreme conditions that rise to the level of a direct threat to the driver or others 2. Pick-Up and Drop-Off Locations with Multiple Entrances Paratransit Request to pick up and drop off at a specific entrance (rather than in a location that has been predetermined by the transportation agency) When doing so would pose a direct threat 3. Private Property Paratransit Request to be picked up on private property For example, in a gated community or parking lot, mobile home community, business or government facility where vehicle access requires authorized passage through a security barrier When doing so is in violation of the law or of lawful access restrictions The paratransit operator should make every reasonable effort to gain access to the requested area (e.g., work with the passenger to get permission of the property owner to permit access for the paratransit vehicle) A public or private entity that unreasonably denies access to a paratransit vehicle may be subject to a discrimination complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

E-2 Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule Example in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Applicable Mode(s) Stated in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Request for Modification that Generally Must Be Provided Circumstances Under Which the Requested Modification Is Not Required 5. Fare Handling Fixed Route and Paratransit Request for transit personnel to handle the fare media when the passenger with a disability cannot pay the fare by the generally established means (e.g., in a situation where a bus passenger cannot reach or insert a fare into the farebox) When extracting the fare media would involve reaching into the passenger’s pocket or backpack 6. Eating and Drinking Fixed Route and Paratransit Request by a passenger with diabetes or another medical condition to eat or drink aboard a vehicle or in a transit facility in order to avoid adverse health consequences For example, a person with diabetes may need to consume a small amount of orange juice in a closed container or a candy bar in order to maintain blood sugar levels None stated 7. Medicine Fixed Route and Paratransit Request to take medication while aboard a fixed-route or paratransit vehicle or in a transit facility For example, a passenger needing to administer insulin injections and conduct finger stick blood glucose testing Request for transit staff to provide medical assistance, which would be a fundamental alteration of their function 8. Boarding Separately from Wheelchair Fixed Route and Paratransit A wheelchair user's request to board a vehicle separately from his or her device when the occupied weight of the device exceeds the design load of the vehicle lift None stated 4. Obstructions Fixed Route Request for a driver to position the vehicle to avoid obstructions to the passenger's ability to enter or leave the vehicle at a designated stop location (such as parked cars, snow banks, and construction), while stopping in reasonably close proximity to the designated stop location When doing so would pose a direct threat, or when no longer in reasonably close proximity to the designated stop location Paratransit Request for a driver to position the vehicle to avoid obstructions to the passenger's ability to enter or leave the vehicle None stated

Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests E-3 9. Dedicated Vehicles or Special Equipment in a Vehicle Paratransit None stated Request for special equipment that is not required by the ADA or U.S. DOT rules (e.g., installation of specific hand rails or a front seat in a vehicle for the passenger to avoid nausea or back pain) Request for a dedicated vehicle (e.g., to avoid residual chemical odors) or a specific type or appearance of vehicle (e.g., a sedan rather than a van, in order to provide more comfortable service), which would be a fundamental alteration of service Example in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Applicable Mode(s) Stated in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Request for Modification that Generally Must Be Provided Circumstances Under Which the Requested Modification Is Not Required 10. Exclusive or Reduced Capacity Paratransit Trips Paratransit None stated Request for an exclusive paratransit trip, which would be a fundamental alteration of shared-ride service 11. Outside of Service Area or Operating Hours Fixed Route and Paratransit None stated Request for service that would require the provider to travel outside of its service area or to operate outside of its operating hours, which would be a fundamental alteration of service 12. Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Fixed Route and Paratransit None stated Request to provide a personal care attendant (PCA) or PCA services, which would be a fundamental alteration of service For example, a request for a driver to remain with the passenger who, due to his or her disability, cannot be left alone without an attendant upon reaching his or her destination 13. Intermediate Stops Paratransit None; The Department views granting a paratransit passenger’s request for a driver to make an intermediate stop, where the driver would be required to wait, as optional. Request for a driver to make an intermediate stop, where the driver would be required to wait, could disrupt to the level of a fundamental alteration (since it could disrupt schedules and inconvenience other passengers) 14. Payment Fixed Route or Paratransit None stated Request for driver to provide the transit service when the passenger cannot or refuses to pay the fare, which would be a fundamental alteration of service 15. Caring for Service Animals Fixed Route or Paratransit None stated Request that the driver take charge of a service animal, which is the responsibility of the passenger or a PCA

E-4 Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule Example in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Applicable Mode(s) Stated in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Request for Modification that Generally Must Be Provided Circumstances Under Which the Requested Modification Is Not Required 16. Opening Building Doors Paratransit Request for the driver to open an exterior entry door to a building to provide boarding and/or alighting assistance When providing this assistance would pose a direct threat, or leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time When the request is for “door- through-door” service (i.e., assisting the passenger past the door to the building), generally not required because it could rise to the level of a fundamental alteration 17. Exposing Vehicle to Hazards Not specified Request for a vehicle to follow a path to a pick-up or drop-off point When the requested path would expose the vehicle and its occupants to hazards that pose a direct threat, such as running off the road, getting stuck, striking overhead objects, or reversing the vehicle down a narrow alley 18. Hard-to- Maneuver Stops Paratransit Request for a vehicle to navigate to a pick-up point If the requested location is difficult to access, but not impossible or impracticable, it should generally be granted When the requested pick-up point would expose the vehicle to hazards that pose a direct threat (e.g., it is unsafe for the vehicle and its occupants to get to the pick-up point without getting stuck or running off the road) 19. Specific Drivers Not specified None stated Request for a specific driver, which would not be necessary to afford the passenger the service 20. Luggage and Packages Fixed route or Paratransit None stated (however, is required if normal policy or practice is to provide this assistance) Request for a driver to assist with luggage or packages, which would be the responsibility of the passenger or PCA, and thus a fundamental alteration of the driver's function 21. Request to Avoid Specific Passengers Paratransit None stated Request not to ride with certain passengers, which would be a fundamental alteration of shared-ride service 22. Navigating an Incline, or Around Obstacles Paratransit Request for a driver to help a passenger navigate an incline (e.g., a driveway or sidewalk) with the passenger's wheeled device Request for assistance in traversing a difficult sidewalk (e.g., one where tree roots have made the sidewalk impassible for a wheelchair) Request for assistance around obstacles (e.g., snowdrifts, construction areas) between the vehicle and the door When such assistance would cause a direct threat, or leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time

Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests E-5 Example in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Applicable Mode(s) Stated in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Request for Modification that Generally Must Be Provided Circumstances Under Which the Requested Modification Is Not Required 23. Extreme Weather Assistance Not specified Request to assist a passenger from his or her door to a vehicle during extreme weather conditions For example, in extreme weather (e.g., very windy or stormy conditions), a person who is blind or vision- impaired or a frail elderly person may have difficulty safely moving to and from a building When such assistance would cause a direct threat, or leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time 24. Unattended Passengers Not specified Request to assist a passenger which would involve the driver leaving passengers aboard a vehicle unattended The appendix notes that the driver is not required to act as a PCA for other passengers in the vehicle, such that he or she must remain in their physical presence at all times When such assistance would leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time, which could involve direct threats to the health or safety of the unattended passengers 25. Need for Return Trip Assistance Paratransit Request for assistance for a return trip when the passenger did not need that assistance on the initial trip For example, a dialysis patient may require assistance to the door on the return trip from dialysis because of physical weakness or fatigue To the extent that this need is predictable, it should be handled in advance, either as part of the eligibility process or the reservations process If the need arises unexpectedly, then it would need to be handled on an ad hoc basis When such assistance would cause a direct threat, or leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time 26. Five- Minute Warning or Notification of Arrival Calls Not specified Request for a telephone call five minutes (or another reasonable interval) in advance or at time of vehicle arrival generally should be granted. As a matter of courtesy, such calls are encouraged as a good customer service model and can prevent “no shows.” May be generated through an automated system None stated Drivers relying on hand-held communication devices (e.g., cellular telephones) should comply with any state or federal laws related to distracted driving

E-6 Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule Example in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Applicable Mode(s) Stated in Appendix E to 49 C.F.R. Part 37 Request for Modification that Generally Must Be Provided Circumstances Under Which the Requested Modification Is Not Required 27. Hand- Carrying Not specified Emergency situations Request for a driver to lift the passenger out of his or her mobility device, which is a PCA- type service and thus a fundamental alteration of service Also noted are the safety, dignity, and privacy issues implicated by hand-carrying a passenger • FIXED-ROUTE SERVICE: – The following reasonable modification requests generally should be provided unless they would pose a direct threat to the driver or others or if they would be a fundamental altera- tion of service: � stopping the vehicle where the passenger can avoid snow and ice. � positioning the vehicle to avoid obstructions to the passenger’s ability to enter or leave the vehicle at a designated stop location, such as parked cars, snow banks, and construction. � handling the passenger’s fare—except reaching in a pocket or backpack. � allowing a passenger with diabetes or another medical condition to eat or drink aboard a vehicle or in a transit facility in order to avoid adverse health consequences (for example, a small amount, to control blood sugar). � allowing the passenger to take medicine on board the vehicle. � allowing the passenger to board separately from wheelchair. – The following reasonable modification requests generally would be a fundamental altera- tion of service: � reaching in the passenger’s pocket or backpack to obtain passenger’s fare. � operating outside the transit agency’s regular service area or operating hours. � providing PCA services. � allowing the passenger to ride without fare payment. � caring for service animals. � carrying the passenger’s luggage and packages in those instances where it is not the nor- mal policy or practice of the transportation agency to assist with luggage or packages. • PARATRANSIT SERVICE: – The following reasonable modification requests generally should be provided unless they would pose a direct threat to the driver or others, require the driver to leave the vehicle unattended or out of visual observation for a lengthy period of time (which could create a direct threat), or involve fundamental alteration of service: � Assistance to the door through snow and ice. � Specific pick-up and drop-off locations at buildings with multiple entrances. � Pick-up and drop-off locations on private property (e.g., in a gated community or park- ing lot, mobile home community, business or government facility where vehicle access requires authorized passage through a security barrier). � Establishing pick-up and drop-off points to avoid obstructions. � Handling the passenger’s fare—except reaching in pocket or backpack. � Allowing a passenger with diabetes or another medical condition to eat or drink aboard a vehicle or in a transit facility in order to avoid adverse health consequences (for example, a small amount, to control blood sugar).

Summary of Examples of Reasonable Modification Requests E-7 � Allowing the passenger to take medicine on board the vehicle. � Allowing the passenger to board separately from wheelchair. � Opening an exterior building door. � Following a specific vehicular path to a pick-up or drop-off point, unless the requested path would expose the vehicle and its occupants to hazards, such as running off the road, getting stuck, striking overhead objects, or reversing the vehicle down a narrow alley. � Navigating the vehicle through a hard-to-maneuver path to access a requested stop, as long as picking up the passenger does not expose the vehicle to hazards that pose a direct threat (e.g., it is unsafe for the vehicle and its occupants to get to the pick-up point with- out getting stuck or running off the road). � Assisting the passenger with navigating an incline or around obstacles. � Assisting the passenger with navigating to the door in extreme weather. � Leaving other passengers unattended on board the vehicle while providing assistance to the door. � Assistance for a return trip when the passenger did not need that assistance on the initial trip. – Generally encouraged: � Providing five-minute warning or notification of arrival calls to passengers. – Generally would be fundamental alteration of service: � Reaching in the passenger’s pocket or backpack to obtain passenger’s fare. � Providing dedicated vehicles or special equipment in a vehicle. � Providing exclusive or reduced capacity paratransit trips. � Operating outside the transit agency’s regular service area or operating hours. � Providing PCA services. � Making intermediate stops along a scheduled trip, waiting for the passenger to return to the vehicle. � Allowing the passenger to ride without fare payment. � Caring for service animals. � Assigning specific drivers to the passenger’s trips. � Carrying the passenger’s luggage and packages in those instances where it is not the nor- mal policy or practice of the transportation agency to assist with luggage or packages. � Scheduling the passenger’s trip so as not to ride with another specific passenger. � Hand-carrying the passenger.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 142: Implementing the U.S. DOT Reasonable Modification Rule provides an overview of the current state of practice regarding transit systems implementation of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) regulation 49 C.F.R Part 37.

The report describes the experiences of agencies as they make reasonable modifications to their practices and policies in order to both respond to the regulation and ensure service to people with disabilities. The report also includes case examples of six transit systems, which present an in-depth analysis of the issues, opportunities, challenges, lessons learned, and keys to success in implementation of reasonable modifications . The need for future research is also discussed.

Under the U.S. DOT regulations for implementing the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (49 C.F.R. Parts 37 and 27), transportation service providers and recipients of federal funding are required to ensure their services do not discriminate against people with disabilities.

In 2015, the U.S. DOT amended 49 C.F.R. Parts 27 and 37 to require transportation entities to make “reasonable modifications/accommodations to policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure that their programs are accessible to individuals with disabilities.” Effective July 13, 2015, 49 C.F.R. §37.169 of this final rule requires that public entity transit providers develop their own processes for making decisions and for providing reasonable modifications to their policies and practices.

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