Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines; Detectable Warnings

Summary

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board), the Department of Justice, and the Department of Transportation are extending the suspension of the requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) from July 26, 1996 to July 26, 1998. The Access Board has established an advisory committee to conduct a comprehensive review of ADAAG, including the detectable warning requirements, and plans to initiate rulemaking to revise and update ADAAG after the advisory committee issues a final report with its recommendations. The suspension of the detectable warning requirements is extended so that the Access Board can consider the advisory committee's recommendations

Full text

SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 
(Access Board), the Department of Justice, and the Department of 
Transportation are extending the suspension of the requirements for 
detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and 
reflecting pools in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility 
Guidelines (ADAAG) from July 26, 1996 to July 26, 1998. The Access 
Board has established an advisory committee to conduct a comprehensive 
review of ADAAG, including the detectable warning requirements, and 
plans to initiate rulemaking to revise and update ADAAG after the 
advisory committee issues a final report with its recommendations. The 
suspension of the detectable warning requirements is extended so that 
the Access Board can consider the advisory committee's recommendations 
and address the detectable warning requirements in the rulemaking to 
revise and update ADAAG.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 26, 1996.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Access Board: James J. Raggio, General Counsel, Architectural and 
Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 1331 F Street, NW., suite 
1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. Telephone (202) 272-5434 extension 16 
or (800) 872-2253 extension 16 (voice), and (202) 272-5449 (TTY) or 
(800) 993-2822 (TTY). Electronic mail address: raggio@access-board.gov.
    Department of Justice: John L. Wodatch, the ADA Information Line, 
Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of 
Justice, Washington, DC 20530. Telephone (800) 514-0301 (voice) or 
(800) 514-0383 (TTY).
    Department of Transportation: Robert C. Ashby, Deputy Assistant 
General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement, Department of 
Transportation, 400 7th Street, SW., room 10424, Washington, DC 20590. 
Telephone (202) 366-9306 (voice) or (202) 755-7687 (TTY).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Availability of Alternate Formats

    Copies of this final rule are available in the following formats: 
standard print, large print, Braille, audio cassette tape, and computer 
disk. Single copies may be obtained at no cost by calling the Access 
Board's automated publications order line (202) 272-5434 or (800) 872-
2253, pressing 1 on the telephone keypad, then 1 again and requesting 
publication DW2 (Detectable Warnings Joint Final Rule). Persons using a 
TTY should call (202) 272-5449 or (800) 993-2822. Please give your 
name, address, and telephone number when ordering publications. Persons 
who want a copy in large print, Braille, audio cassette tape, or 
computer disk should specify the type of format they want.
    The final rule is available on electronic bulletin board at (202) 
272-5448 (Access Board) and (202) 514-6193 (Department of Justice). 
These telephone numbers are not toll-free numbers.
    The final rule is also available on the Internet. It can be 
accessed with World Wide Web software (http://www.usdoj.gov).

Background

    On April 12, 1996, the Access Board, the Department of Justice, and 
the Department of Transportation published a joint notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) to extend the suspension of the requirements for 
detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and 
reflecting pools in ADAAG from July 26, 1996 to July 26, 1998.1 61 
FR 16232. As explained in the NPRM, the requirements were suspended 
initially in April 1994 to allow the agencies to consider the results 
of a research project conducted by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and 
State University on the need for detectable warnings at vehicular-
pedestrian intersections. The research project showed that vehicular-
pedestrian intersections are very complex environments and that 
pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired use a combination of 
cues to detect and cross intersections. The research project found that 
detectable warnings helped some pedestrians who are blind or visually 
impaired locate and identify curb ramps. However, the detectable 
warnings had only a modest impact on overall performance because, in 
their absence, pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired used 
whatever other cues were available to detect and cross the 
intersection. The research project indicated that there may be a need 
for additional cues at some types of intersections. The research 
project did not identify the specific conditions where such cues should 
be provided. The research project suggested that other technologies be 
explored for providing information about intersections, which may be 
less costly and equally or more effective than detectable warnings.
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    \1\ The Access Board is responsible for issuing guidelines to 
assist the Department of Justice and the Department of 
Transportation in establishing accessibility standards for newly 
constructed and altered facilities under the Americans with 
Disabilities Act (ADA). The Access Board issued ADAAG initially in 
1991 (36 CFR part 1191, appendix A). The Department of Justice and 
the Department of Transportation have adopted sections 1 through 10 
of ADAAG as the accessibility standards for the ADA (28 CFR part 36, 
appendix A; 49 CFR part 37, appendix A).
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    The Access Board subsequently established an advisory committee to 
conduct a comprehensive review of ADAAG, including the detectable 
warning requirements. The advisory committee is scheduled to issue a 
final report with its recommendations in September 1996. The Access 
Board plans to initiate rulemaking to revise and update ADAAG after the 
advisory committee issues its report, and to address the requirements 
for detectable warnings in that rulemaking. In the NPRM, the Access 
Board, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Transportation 
proposed to extend the suspension of the requirements for detectable 
warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools 
from July 26, 1996 to July 26, 1998 so that the Access Board can 
consider the advisory committee's recommendations and address the 
requirements in the rulemaking to update and revise ADAAG.
    Six comments were received in response to the NPRM. Five supported 
extending the suspension and one opposed the action. The Council of 
American Building Officials (CABO), the Illinois Department of 
Transportation, the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-
NA), the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and the Eastern Paralyzed 
Veterans Association (EPVA) submitted comments in support of the extension. CABO and EPVA are members of the 
advisory committee that is reviewing ADAAG and agreed that the 
suspension should be extended so that the Access Board can consider the 
advisory committee's recommendations and address the detectable warning 
requirements in the rulemaking to update and revise ADAAG. The Illinois 
Department of Transportation and ACI-NA recommended that research be 
done on alternative technologies. PVA expressed concerns that 
sufficient research has not been done on the durability and maintenance 
of detectable warnings.
    The comment in opposition to extending the suspension was submitted 
on behalf of a manufacturer of detectable warnings. The commenter 
believed that detectable warnings are critical to the safety of 
individuals who are blind or visually impaired and that additional 
research is not necessary. The commenter also noted that there have 
been no reported accidents in this country as a result of detectable 
warnings and that studies conducted by manufacturers have demonstrated 
that their products can withstand various climatic conditions without 
undue damage.
    The Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the Department of 
Transportation have decided to extend the suspension to July 26, 1998. 
The agencies believe that the detectable warning requirements should be 
addressed in the rulemaking to revise and update ADAAG. Extending the 
suspension will allow the Access Board to consider the advisory 
committee's recommendations, as well as available research data, and to 
determine whether any changes in the detectable warning requirements 
are warranted when ADAAG is revised and updated.
    The requirements for detectable warnings at transit platform edges 
in section 10 of ADAAG are not included in the suspension. Those 
requirements remain in effect.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Access Board, the Department of 
Justice, and the Department of Transportation find that good cause 
exists for not postponing the effective date of this rule until 30 days 
after publication in the Federal Register. The current suspension 
expires on July 26, 1996. The rule is effective July 26, 1996 so that 
there will be no interruption in the suspension period. The rule does 
not require entities covered by the ADA to take any action.

Regulatory Process Matters

    The Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the Department of 
Transportation have determined independently that this rule is not a 
significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. It is a 
significant rule under the Department of Transportation's regulatory 
policies and procedures since it amends the agency's ADA regulations, 
which are a significant rule. The Department of Transportation expects 
the economic impacts to be minimal and has not prepared a full 
regulatory evaluation.
    Executive Order 12875 prohibits agencies from promulgating any 
regulation that is not required by statute and that creates a mandate 
upon a State, local, or tribal government unless certain conditions are 
met. This rule creates no new mandate. Consistent with the spirit of 
Executive Order 12875, this rule continues the suspension of an 
existing regulatory requirement to allow for further review of the 
requirement.
    The Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the Department of 
Transportation independently certify under section 605(b) of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act that this rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
because it continues the suspension of an existing regulatory 
requirement and does not impose any new requirement.

Text of Final Common Rule

    The text of the common rule is revised to read as follows:
    Sec. ________.________ Temporary suspension of certain detectable 
warning requirements.
    The detectable warning requirements contained in Secs. 4.7.7, 
4.29.5, and 4.29.6 of appendix A to this part are suspended temporarily 
until July 26, 1998.

Adoption of Final Common Rule

    The agency specific proposals to adopt the final common rule, which 
appears at the end of the common preamble, are set forth below.

List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 36

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alcoholism, Buildings and 
facilities, Business and industry, Civil rights, Consumer protection, 
Drug abuse, Historic preservation, HIV/AIDS, Individuals with 
disabilities, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Authority and Issuance

    By the authority vested in me as Attorney General by 28 U.S.C. 509, 
510; 5 U.S.C. 301; and 42 U.S.C. 12186, and for the reasons set forth 
in the common preamble, part 36 of chapter I of title 28 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 36--NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY BY PUBLIC 
ACCOMMODATIONS AND IN COMMERCIAL FACILITIES

    1. The authority citation for 28 CFR part 36 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510; 42 U.S.C. 12186(b).


Sec. 36.407  [Revised]

    2. Section 36.407 is revised to read as set forth at the end of the 
common preamble.

    Dated: July 17, 1996.
Janet Reno,
Attorney General.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 1191

    Buildings and facilities, Civil rights, Individuals with 
disabilities.

Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the common preamble, part 1191 of 
title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 1191--AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) ACCESSIBILITY 
GUIDELINES FOR BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES

    1. The authority citation for 36 CFR part 1191 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 12204.


Sec. 1191.2  [Revised]

    2. Section 1191.2 is revised to read as set forth at the end of the 
common preamble.
    Authorized by vote of the Access Board on May 15, 1996.
Judith E. Heumann,
Chair, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 37

    Buildings and facilities, Buses, Civil rights, Individuals with 
disabilities, Mass transportation, Railroads, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the common preamble, part 37 of title 
49 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows: PART 37--TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES 
(ADA)

    1. The authority citation for 49 CFR part 37 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 
U.S.C. 12101-12213); 49 U.S.C. 322.


Sec. 37.15  [Revised]

    2. Section 37.15 is revised to read as set forth at the end of the 
common preamble.

    Dated: July 23, 1996.
Federico Pena,
Secretary of Transportation.
[FR Doc. 96-19198 Filed 7-24-96; 4:41 pm]
BILLING CODE 4410-01-P; 8150-01-P; 4910-62-P  

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