The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) is turning 50 this month, and still hard at work removing physical barriers for people with disabilities. Along with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws, the ABA is a key piece of civil rights legislation advancing full access and inclusion for all. The US Access Board, created to enforce the ABA, continues to publish standards and guidance for physical buildings and sites, streets and sidewalks, public transit, and even health care and communications and information technology. The Access Board also offers training on its guidelines and standards, including the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, and has funded research in several key areas.
The NIDILRR grantee community is also at the forefront of research and development in accessibility, from educating the public and professionals about accessibility to engineering solutions for architectural and transportation barriers. Check out these resources available right now:
- ADA National Network and its 10 regional centers offer information, training, and technical assistance to help agencies, organizations, businesses, and individuals understand their rights and responsibilities under the ADA and other laws.
- AccessibilityOnline presents monthly training and informational sessions on a variety of topics concerning accessibility and the built environment, hosted by the Great Lakes ADA Regional Center in collaboration with the Access Board
- UD E-World is a community of practice in universal design with publications, multimedia items, and training opportunities (some fees involved), supported in part by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Design and the Built Environment
- The RERC on Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) publishes regular reports on the accessibility, usability, and design of communication and information technology
- EZ Access, funded in part by the RERC on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access, focuses on improving access to information kiosks and other mainstream ICT products.
These are just a few examples of the work of the NIDILRR community to address the physical and technology barriers to full access for people with disabilities. Browse through current projects in the Technology for Access and Function outcome domain to learn more about ongoing projects!
You might also be interested in these Research In Focus summaries of NIDILRR-funded studies in accessibility in physical space and public transportation:
- One-Size May Not Fit All: Wheelchair and Scooter Users Compare the Usability of Different Public Bus Layouts
- Passengers Who Use Wheelchairs or Scooters May Not Always Be Properly Secured While Using Paratransit Services
- Mobile Health Systems May Benefit People with Physical Disabilities, But Some People May Have Challenges Using Them
- Many Fitness Facilities May Not Be Fully Accessible to People with Disabilities