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News from the U.S. Access Board

From the U.S. Access Board

Access Board Consults Stakeholders on Reform Plan

US Access Board logoDuring its July meeting, the Board met with stakeholders to gather feedback on an agency reform plan for improving its operations and services. Attendees included representatives from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Environmental Health Network, the Great Lakes ADA Center, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Park Service, the National Recreation and Park Association, The Paciello Group, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The Board convened this group to discuss ways it can improve and make more efficient its programs and activities, including technical assistance, training, and enforcement of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).

Participants urged the Board to increase its outreach and external communications to make more people aware of its services and resources. They recommended that the Board work with professional and trade associations to disseminate information to their membership. In addition, the Board should expand its communications platform to include blogs, podcasts, and additional webinars.

Stakeholders expressed support for the technical guides and animations on the ADA and ABA Standards that the Board is issuing and recommended that the Board generate further guidance on other topics, such as outdoor environments, historic facilities, and access for people with environmental sensitivities. It was noted that guidance that explains the rationale or “why” behind provisions is especially helpful and that such resources should include best practices to encourage optimum design.

Many in attendance welcomed opportunities to collaborate with the Board on outreach, training, and webinars. The AIA, for example, which is launching a training module on accessibility, expressed interest in partnering with the Board on webinars. The Board will take these recommendations into account in finalizing its reform plan.

Access Board to Meet on September 13

The Access Board will hold its next meeting on September 13 from 1:30 – 3:00 (ET) at the Board’s conference space in downtown Washington, D.C. The public is welcome to attend in person or through a live webcast of the meeting. A public comment period will be held during the final 15 minutes of the meeting. Those interested in making comments in person or by phone should send an email to Rose Bunales at bunales@access-board.gov by September 6 with “Access Board meeting – Public Comment” in the subject line. Please include your name, organization, state, and topic of your comment in the body of the message.

Meeting of the U.S. Access Board
September 13, 1:30 – 3:00
Webcast link: access-board.gov/webcast
Access Board Conference Center
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C.

Upcoming Board Webinars

The next webinar in the Board’s free monthly series will take place September 7 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session. Questions are welcome on the Board’s accessibility guidelines and standards, including those issued under the ADA and ABA, as well as other topics related to the Board’s work. Presenters will answer questions submitted in advance during the first half of the session, leaving time in the second half to answer questions in the live session.

Visit accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

Section 508 Best Practices Webinar

The Board also offers a free webinar series on standards issued under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which requires access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This year’s sessions focus on the updated Section 508 Standards published by the Board in January. The next webinar in this series will take place September 26 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will review requirements for software in Chapter 5 of the revised 508 Standards.

For more details or to register for this session, visit accessibilityonline.org/cioc-508/schedule. The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the Board.

Training Available from the Access Board

In addition to its webinar series, the Board provides training upon request at various conferences and events across the country. Most sessions focus on the Board’s accessibility guidelines and standards, including those for buildings and facilities, outdoor developed areas, transit systems, information and communication technology, and medical diagnostic equipment. Training also is available on proposed guidelines for public rights-of-way and passenger vessels. Upcoming sessions are listed on the Board’s training calendar.

“We tailor each session to the needs and interests of the audience,” notes Earlene Sesker, the Board’s Training Coordinator. “Training sessions can range from short introductory programs to in-depth reviews that span a full day or more.”

For more information or to request training, contact Earlene Sesker at training@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0022 (voice) or (202) 272-0091 (TTY) or visit the Board’s website. The Board typically requests reimbursement of travel expenses due to its limited budget.

FCC Rule Requires More Video Described TV Programming

On July 12, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a rule that requires more video described TV programming for people with vision impairments. Issued under the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, the rule requires that broadcasters and pay-TV providers carrying one of the top networks provide at least 87.5 hours of described programming on a quarterly basis within a year. Currently, 50 hours of video description are required each quarter during prime-time or children’s programming. The additional 37.5 hours of video described programming required can be provided at any time of day between 6 a.m. and midnight. For further information, visit FCC’s website.

 

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