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1 Americans with Disabilities Act Final Rule Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities at Intercity, Commuter, and High Speed Passenger Railroad.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Americans with Disabilities Act Final Rule Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities at Intercity, Commuter, and High Speed Passenger Railroad."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Americans with Disabilities Act Final Rule Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities at Intercity, Commuter, and High Speed Passenger Railroad Station Platforms; Miscellaneous Amendments 76 FR 57924 Effective Date: October 19, 2011

2  NPRM issued February 27, 2006  Comment period closed July 28, 2006  Public meeting August 10, 2010  Re-opened comment period August 19-25, 2010  Received more than 360 comments  Final rule issued September 19, 2011 2

3 3 Commuter rail – operates in metropolitan or suburban areas, morning and peak periods. The term does not include light or rapid rail. Intercity rail – transportation provided by Amtrak High speed rail – intercity rail operating primarily on dedicated track; includes maglev

4 4  Rail station requirements apply only to new or altered commuter, intercity and high-speed station platforms; no retrofitting is required  Where the track that is adjacent to the platform is not shared with freight, full-length level-entry boarding is required

5 5 Where track through station is shared with freight, a passenger railroad must meet a performance standard: Passengers with disabilities, including wheelchair users, must be able to access each accessible rail car that other passengers can access

6 6 If it cannot provide full-length level-entry boarding at a station where freight traffic is adjacent to the platform, a passenger railroad can choose to meet the performance standard through use of car-borne lifts, station-based lifts, or mini-high platforms (with multiple stops if needed). No requirement to retrofit existing stations, but where it is possible to provide service to all cars without retrofits, this should be done. For example, if a system uses car- borne lifts, it is reasonable to allow access to any car.

7 7 The definition of “wheelchair” has been refined  The reference to “three- or four-wheeled devices” has been changed to “three- or more wheeled devices”  This change was made in light of advances in wheelchair design, with many power wheelchairs now having more than four wheels; these should not be excluded from the definition of “wheelchair” solely on the basis of having a larger number of wheels

8 8 The operational use of the term “common wheelchair” has been removed  This concept was originally developed to provide a set of parameters for designers and manufacturers to use in the process of designing and building accessible vehicles and equipment  Original DOT ADA regulation created an operational use of this design concept, saying that transportation operators were required to transport “common wheelchairs.”

9 9  Over time, transit operators began to apply this concept to exclude wheelchairs that did not fit into the common wheelchair weight and dimension “envelope” regardless of whether their vehicles and equipment could accommodate them  A Federal court decision, Kiernan v. Utah Transit Authority, 10th Cir. 2003, said that transit operators could exclude these “oversize” wheelchairs, even if the vehicle could physically accommodate the device.

10 10 Goal of the rule: Prevent arbitrary denial of service Some transit agencies operate a fleet of vehicles that meet only the minimum part 38 requirements – this is fine Others procure vehicles with lifts with a capacity of 800 pounds and then deny service to passengers who weigh more than 600 pounds – this is not fine

11 11  The rule provides that transit operators must carry a wheelchair and occupant if the lift and vehicle can physically accommodate them, unless doing so is inconsistent with legitimate safety requirements  “Legitimate safety requirements” includes such circumstances as a wheelchair of such size that it would block an aisle, would be too large to fully enter a railcar, would block the vestibule, or would interfere with the safe evacuation of passengers in an emergency

12 12 Consistent with the rule before this last revision, a transit provider cannot impose a limitation on the transportation of wheelchairs and other mobility aids based on the inability of the securement system to secure the device to the satisfaction of the transportation provider. It would be inconsistent with the rule to deny service to people who use wheelchairs just because particular devices may be problematic from a securement point of view.

13 13 Requirement : carry devices that fit on the lift and vehicle, even if the devices exceed 30” x 48” footprint or weigh more than 600 pounds No requirement to carry devices that do not fit on the lift or vehicle No requirement to retrofit vehicles No requirement to procure vehicles or lifts that exceed the ADA requirements

14 14 The Rule adds “direct threat” to the definitions in 49 C.F.R. § 37.3.  “Direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.”  This definition is consistent with the DOJ’s regulations, and focuses solely on whether an individual poses a significant threat to others ; it does not include threats to self

15 15  When a transit system is unable to provide one leg of a multi-legged trip, and the passenger is therefore unable to take any of the requested trips, all of those trips must be recorded as denials.  When a denied or missed trip makes a subsequent requested trip impossible, two opportunities to travel have been lost from the point of view of the passenger.  Standardization for counting denied and missed trips permits better program evaluation and comparisons across transit providers

16 16  The new DOJ rule (published September 15, 2010) defines some terms, such as service animal, differently than the DOT rule. Transit agencies should not change their service animal policy on the basis of the DOJ rule, since the DOT rule applies to transit agencies.

17 17 Per the regulation at 49 CFR 37.167(d), a service animal is “trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability” If an animal’s only function is to provide emotional support or comfort, that animal would not fall under the regulatory definition of a service animal.

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