New Developments

This section of the toolkit is dedicated to new topics and developments that relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It will be updated as new materials and information are available.


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Final Standards and Guidelines

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board revised and updated standards for electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by Federal agencies covered by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. The revisions ensure that information and communication technology is accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. This final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2017 and amended on March 23, 2018 (effective March 23, 2018).


Equal Employment Opportunity Circular

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) made three clarifications to the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Circular (4704.1A) in April 2017 related to the threshold that entities must follow for submitting EEO programs to FTA or preparing and maintaining an abbreviated program (see pages 6713–6714).


Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board issued a final rule on December 14, 2016 that revised its existing accessibility guidelines buses, over-the-road buses, and vans acquired or remanufactured by entities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The revised guidelines ensure that such vehicles are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. The rule went into effect on January 14, 2017. Compliance with the final rule is not required until DOT revises its accessibility standards for buses, over-the-road buses, and vans acquired or remanufactured by entities covered by the ADA to be consistent with the final rule.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Circular

On October 5, 2015, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released the final ADA Circular, which provides guidance to recipients and subrecipients of FTA financial assistance to carry out provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the U.S. DOT's implementing regulations at 49 CFR Parts 27, 37, 38, and 39. The final Circular became effective on November 4, 2015.

The Circular provides topically arranged explanations of the existing ADA requirements and information on implementing the requirements. It does not exhaustively cover all DOT ADA requirements, and does not establish new requirements. The Circular gives FTA recipients and subrecipients information regarding their ADA obligations, as well as additional optional good practices and suggestions for transit agencies.

To download the Circular or access training resources regarding the Circular, visit the FTA's ADA Circular page.


Final Rule: Reasonable Modification of Policies and Practices

This Final Rule, effective July 13, 2015, clarifies that public transportation providers are required to make reasonable modifications to their polices, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. It applies to public entities providing fixed route, demand-response (dial-a-ride), and complementary paratransit services. It establishes that an individual's disability cannot preclude a public transportation entity from providing full access to its service, except when it would fundamentally alter the service.

The Final Rule also provides 27 examples of what a reasonable modification is and is not, and clarifies the definition of origin-to-destination service. The issue of origin-to-destination policy has long had varied interpretations and was unevenly applied throughout the nation. The new rule requires paratransit providers that primarily operate curb-to-curb service to make reasonable modifications for those passengers who need assistance beyond the curb so that they can use the service.