US Access Board to Update Rail Car Access Guidelines

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The US Access Board recently announced that they will be updating the access guidelines for rail cars. To that end they are seeking public comments on the issue. The regulations, which were last updated in 1991, apply to rail cars used in rapid, light, commuter and intercity rail systems.

The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee reviewed the existing guidelines and made recommendations on how they should be updated due to changes in car design, accessibility issues and advanced technology. This committee is composed of members from advocacy organizations, transit operators, rail car manufacturers and other stakeholders in the issue. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – which includes questions posed by the committee, can be found at https://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/transportation/vehicles/update-of-the-guidelines-for-transportation-vehicles/advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking.

Issues that are addressed that are of interest to wheelchair-user and slow walkers include the size and weight specifications of lifts, on board accessibility issues including accessible seating placement, and access features of dining cars.

Public comments can be made at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=ATBCB-2020-0002-0001. If you have technical questions regarding the proposed rules, contact Juliet Shoultz at (202) 272-0045 or shoultz@access-board.gov. Legal questions should be directed to Wendy Marshall at (202) 272-0043 or marshall@access-board.gov.

If you’ve ever had a problem accessing a rail car, then let the Access Board know about it, so a solution can be considered in the final rule. Let your voice be heard!

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