Americans With Disabilities Act: Proposed Circular Amendment 2, 67234-67237 [2014-26665]

Download as PDF TKELLEY on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 67234 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 218 / Wednesday, November 12, 2014 / Notices community to make the Nation’s roadways safer by developing, evaluating, and deploying life-saving countermeasures; advancing the use of scientific methods and data-driven decisions, fostering a safety culture, and promoting an integrated, multidisciplinary 4 E’s (Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Education) approach to safety. The mission is carried out through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a data driven strategic approach to improving highway safety on all public roads that focuses on performance. The goal of the program is to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads, including non-State-owned public roads and roads on tribal lands. In keeping with that mission, the United States Congress on June 29, 2012 passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), which was signed into law (Pub. L. 112– 141) on July 6, 2012 by President Barrack Obama. MAP–21 is a milestone for the U.S. economy and the Nation’s surface transportation program as it transformed the policy and programmatic framework for investments to guide the system’s growth and development and created a streamlined performance-based surface transportation program. The Federal Highway Administration defines Transportation Performance Management as a strategic approach that uses system information to make investment and policy decisions to achieve national performance goals. MAP–21 requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish performance measures for States to use to assess serious injuries and fatalities per vehicle mile traveled; and the number of serious injuries and fatalities, for the purposes of carrying out the HSIP under 23 U.S.C. 148. The HSIP is applicable to all public roads and therefore requires crash reporting by law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction over them. In defining performance measures for serious injuries, FHWA seeks to define serious injuries in a manner that would provide for a uniform definition for national reporting in this performance area, as required by MAP–21. An established standard for defining serious injuries as a result of highway crashes has been developed in the 4th edition of the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC). MMUCC represents a voluntary and collaborative effort to generate uniform crash data that are accurate, reliable and credible for datadriven highway safety decisions within a State, between States, and at the national level. The MMUCC defines a VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 Nov 10, 2014 Jkt 235001 serious injuries resulting from traffic crashes as ‘‘Suspected Serious Injury (A)’’ whose attributes are: Any injury, other than fatal, which results in one or more of the following: Severe laceration resulting in exposure of underlying tissues, muscle, organs, or resulting in significant loss of blood, broken or distorted extremity (arm or leg), crush injuries, suspected skull, chest, or abdominal injury other than bruises or minor lacerations, significant burns (second and third degree burns over 10 percent or more of the body), unconsciousness when taken from the crash scene, or paralysis. As part of the effort to understand current reporting levels for serious injuries to support the MAP–21 performance measures, the FHWA seeks to determine at what level law enforcement agencies have adopted the MMUCC definition, attribute and coding convention. FHWA is aware that not all States have adopted the MMUCC definition, attribute and coding convention for serious injuries while other States have only partially adopted the definition. It is also known that some jurisdictions do not use the State Police Accident Report (PAR) form to report on crashes. It is not known if these PARs are MMUCC compliant. The purpose of the information collection is to conduct an assessment of each Federal, tribal, State and nonState PAR to determine if the definition and coding convention used for reporting on serious injuries is or is not compliant with MMUCC, and if not compliant, the definition and coding convention that is used. Respondents: Federal State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, tribal and local traffic records management agencies. (75 total). Frequency: One time collection. Estimated Average Burden per Response: It will take approximately 15 minutes per participant. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: Approximately 19 hours for a one time collection. Public Comments Invited: You are asked to comment on any aspect of this information collection, including: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the U.S. DOT’s performance, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the U.S. DOT’s estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (3) ways to enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the collected information; and (4) ways that the burden could be minimized, including the use of electronic technology, without reducing the quality of the collected information. PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The agency will summarize and/or include your comments in the request for OMB’s clearance of this information collection. Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended; and 49 CFR 1.48. Issued On: November 5, 2014. Michael Howell, Information Collection Officer. [FR Doc. 2014–26730 Filed 11–10–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration [Docket No. FTA–2014–0024] Americans With Disabilities Act: Proposed Circular Amendment 2 Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of availability of additional proposed circular chapters and request for comments. AGENCY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has placed in the docket and on its Web site proposed guidance in the form of seven additional proposed circular chapters to assist transportation providers in meeting the requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. These proposed circular chapters include Chapter 3 (Transportation Facilities), Chapter 6 (Fixed Route Service), Chapter 7 (Demand Responsive Service), Chapter 9 (ADA Paratransit Eligibility), Chapter 10 (Passenger Vessels), Chapter 11 (Other Modes), and Chapter 12 (Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring). Also included is additional text on monitoring practices, published as addenda to Chapter 2 (General Requirements) and Chapter 8 (Complementary Paratransit Service). Along with the proposed Chapter 4 (Vehicle Acquisition) published on October 2, 2012, and Chapter 1 (Introduction and Applicability), Chapter 2 (General Requirements), Chapter 5 (Equivalent Facilitation), and Chapter 8 (Complementary Paratransit Service) published on February 19, 2014, these chapters are part of a series of 12 chapters that will compose a complete ADA circular. By this notice, FTA invites public comment on these seven additional proposed circular chapters and the addenda to two previously published chapters. DATES: Comments must be submitted by January 12, 2015. Late-filed comments SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12NON1.SGM 12NON1 TKELLEY on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 218 / Wednesday, November 12, 2014 / Notices will be considered to the extent practicable. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to Docket No. FTA–2014–0024 by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Fax: (202) 493–2251. Instructions: You must include the agency name (Federal Transit Administration) and Docket number FTA–2014–0024 for this notice at the beginning of your comments. You should submit two copies of your comments if you submit them by mail. If you wish to receive confirmation that FTA received your comments, you must include a self-addressed stamped postcard. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov including any personal information provided and will be available to Internet users. You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477). Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents and comments received, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program questions, Dawn Sweet, Office of Civil Rights, Federal Transit Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room E54–306, Washington, DC 20590, phone: (202) 366–4018, or email, dawn.sweet@ dot.gov. For legal questions, Bonnie Graves, Office of Chief Counsel, same address, Room E56–306, phone: (202) 366–4011, or email, bonnie.graves@ dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issues regulations implementing the transportation and VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 Nov 10, 2014 Jkt 235001 related provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The regulations at 49 CFR parts 27, 37, 38, and 39 set forth specific requirements transportation providers must follow to ensure their services, vehicles, and facilities are accessible to and useable by people with disabilities. The body of ADA regulations is vast, covering multiple modes of public transportation, including fixed route bus and rail (e.g., rapid, commuter, and light rail); ADA complementary paratransit; general public demand responsive service; and ferry service. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), as an agency within DOT, is charged with ensuring that providers of public transportation comply with these regulations. In 2010, FTA initiated a comprehensive management review of the agency’s core guidance to transit grantees on ADA and other civil rights requirements. A primary goal of the review was to assess whether FTA was providing sufficient, proactive assistance to grantees in meeting civil rights requirements, as opposed to reacting to allegations of failure to comply with the requirements. Based on the results of the review, FTA identified the need to develop an ADA circular similar to the circulars long in place for other FTA programs. The current body of statutes and regulations in the ADA area can be imposing, and in some cases, extremely technical. As a result, FTA recognized value to the transit industry and other stakeholders in compiling and organizing information by topic into a plain English, easy-to-use format. The proposed circular does not alter, amend, supersede or otherwise affect the DOT ADA regulations themselves or replace or reduce the need for detailed information in the regulations. Its format, however, can outline basic requirements with references to the applicable regulatory sections, along with examples of practices used by transit providers to meet the requirements. Optional practices are included throughout the circular; FTA recognizes that there are many different ways agencies can fulfill the regulatory requirements and ensure the delivery of compliant service. FTA proposed a phased approach for the development of the new circular, FTA C 4710.1, with the initial proposed chapter focused on vehicle acquisition (See 77 FR 60170, Oct. 2, 2012, www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-10-02/ pdf/2012-24185.pdf) . In February, 2014, FTA published four additional chapters (Introduction and Applicability, General Requirements, Equivalent Facilitation, PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 67235 and Complementary Paratransit Service). (See 79 FR 9585, Feb. 19, 2014, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-201402-19/pdf/2014-03530.pdf). FTA will not publish final versions of individual chapters, but rather will publish one final circular after receiving comments on all individual chapters. Today’s notice provides a summary of the seven additional proposed chapters and two chapter addenda. These chapters of the proposed circular do not contain any new requirements, policies, or directives. The chapters themselves are not included in this notice; an electronic version may be found on FTA’s Web site, at www.fta.dot.gov. Paper copies of the circular may be obtained by contacting FTA’s Administrative Services Help Desk, at (202) 366–4865. After the summary of the seven new chapters, this notice describes FTA’s approach for publishing a final circular. After issuing the four additional chapters in February 2014, FTA received comments from 23 individuals and organizations. A number of comments raised concerns that optional practices and suggestions could be misinterpreted as requirements. Objections were raised to the circular project in its proposed format. Commenters provided further suggestions for modifying the format of the circular in order to better distinguish between regulatory requirements and guidance. FTA has incorporated many of these suggestions into the seven additional proposed chapters issued with this amendment, and will incorporate format changes in the remaining chapters, as appropriate. The revised format presents the regulatory requirements under a ‘‘Requirement’’ subheading; citations are included within quotation marks. A separate ‘‘Discussion’’ section then follows. FTA welcomes comments on these format changes. FTA also received comments on the substance of the draft chapters, including some corrections and suggestions, which FTA will incorporate as appropriate, along with other general comments on the circular format, upon finalization of the entire circular. FTA encourages stakeholders to provide comments on the content of these seven proposed chapters and two chapter addenda. II. Summary of Circular Amendment 2 Amendment 2 to the circular includes a table of contents for all 12 proposed chapters, including contents for the previously published proposed chapters: Chapter 1 (Introduction and Applicability), Chapter 2 (General E:\FR\FM\12NON1.SGM 12NON1 TKELLEY on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 67236 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 218 / Wednesday, November 12, 2014 / Notices Requirements), Chapter 4 (Vehicle Acquisition), Chapter 5 (Equivalent Facilitation), and Chapter 8 (Complementary Paratransit Service). The table of contents for Chapters 2 and 8 includes the proposed additional sections on monitoring. Finally, the table of contents includes the seven proposed chapters that are the subject of today’s notice: Chapter 3 (Transportation Facilities), Chapter 6 (Fixed Route Service), Chapter 7 (Demand Responsive Service), Chapter 9 (ADA Paratransit Eligibility), Chapter 10 (Passenger Vessels), Chapter 11 (Other Modes), and Chapter 12 (Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring). Proposed Chapter 3, ‘‘Transportation Facilities,’’ explains the regulations related to transportation facilities with emphasis on the requirements for new construction and alterations. Proposed Chapter 3 explains the history of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), including the revisions adopted by DOT in 2006 as the DOT Standards. The chapter does not attempt to exhaustively cover all topics related to construction and alteration but rather presents examples of common issues in applying the DOT Standards, such as the number and location of accessible station parking spaces, curb ramps and track crossings, and station platforms. The proposed chapter includes an extensive discussion on path of travel alterations and cost disproportionality— an issue that has been the source of misunderstanding in the past. Attached to proposed Chapter 3 is a checklist grantees may use to review new construction and alterations to help ensure compliance, including 18 review topics covering parking and loading areas, accessible routes, signs, facility elements, elevators and lifts, and platforms, among others. Proposed Chapter 6, ‘‘Fixed Route Service,’’ explains the requirements for fixed route bus (local, express, commuter, and bus rapid transit (BRT)) and rail (light rail, rapid rail, and commuter rail). Proposed Chapter 6 does not cover intercity rail. The chapter primarily focuses on subpart G requirements that are specific to fixed route, such as priority seating, alternative transportation when vehicle lifts are not working, and stop announcements and route identification efforts. The cross-cutting requirements that apply to other modes of transit in addition to fixed route, such as the transport of service animals, wheelchairs, and oxygen, are covered in the previously published proposed Chapter 2, ‘‘General Requirements.’’ Proposed Chapter 6 concludes with two forms grantees may use to monitor their VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 Nov 10, 2014 Jkt 235001 own stop announcement and route identification efforts—forms similar to those used by FTA when it conducts onsite compliance reviews. Proposed Chapter 7, ‘‘Demand Responsive Service,’’ addresses demand responsive services such as traditional dial-a-ride, taxi subsidy programs, vanpool programs, and route deviation service. ADA complementary paratransit service, also a type of demand responsive service, is covered separately in proposed Chapters 8 and 9 of this circular. Proposed Chapter 7 explains the different types of demand responsive services and provides illustrations of service types for consideration at the local level. The chapter then explains the part 37 equivalent service requirements that permit transit agencies to purchase inaccessible vehicles, and explains equivalent service and service provision in the most integrated setting. Route deviation, in particular, has been a topic of interest and this chapter attempts to provide clarity on the issue. The section on route deviation service equivalency considerations includes a discussion of discriminatory policies and practices that limit the use of route deviation services. The same discussion explains the requirements to provide complementary paratransit service for transit agencies that limit route deviation requests to riders with disabilities. The discussion also explains how agencies may accommodate requests for complementary paratransit service either by deviating vehicles from fixed routes or by using available supplemental demand responsive (e.g., dial-a-ride) vehicles—essentially comingling complementary paratransit eligible riders with other demand responsive customers on the same vehicle. Proposed Chapter 7 concludes with options for monitoring and determining equivalency and includes a table for the seven service requirements. The chapter includes a sample certification of equivalent service as an attachment. Proposed Chapter 9, ‘‘ADA Paratransit Eligibility,’’ addresses eligibility for complementary paratransit services, covering who is eligible and the regulatory requirements that transit agencies must follow when determining eligibility. The chapter focuses on ADA paratransit eligibility standards and includes a detailed discussion of eligible individuals as well as important considerations in eligibility such as most limiting conditions and environmental barriers. It discusses each type of ADA paratransit eligibility, including unconditional, conditional, PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and temporary eligibility, and includes considerations for applying conditional eligibility with examples of explicit conditions and suggestions on how to appropriately apply conditions. Requirements surrounding personal care attendants, companions, and visitors are also addressed in this chapter. Proposed Chapter 9 describes the types of eligibility determination processes transit agencies use and includes suggested sources of information for determining eligibility such as supplemental information provided by professionals, as well as important considerations for the use of such information. The chapter also covers the paperwork aspect of the paratransit application process. For example, it explains the prohibition against unreasonable burdens on applicants for ADA paratransit eligibility and includes examples of unreasonable burdens. The chapter includes information on how to treat incomplete applications for ADA paratransit eligibility, maintain an applicant’s confidentiality, and offer eligibility materials in accessible formats. Proposed Chapter 9 goes on to explain the requirements for documenting eligibility, including the use of identification cards. Also included is a discussion of proper wording for letters to applicants found ineligible, conditionally eligible, or temporarily eligible. Proposed Chapter 9 also explains the requirements for making timely determinations and for providing service if determinations are not made within 21 days of submission of complete applications. This includes a discussion of the timing of appointments for in-person assessments and their relationship to the 21-day application timeframe. The chapter explains the requirement for recertification of ADA paratransit eligibility at reasonable intervals and the appeal process requirements for applicants found ineligible, conditionally eligible, or temporarily eligible. This section includes information on notifying applicants of their right to appeal the decision, the right to be heard in person, the separation of function requirements, and the timing and documentation of appeal decisions. It also offers suggestions on selecting individuals to hear appeals and related practices that can help minimize the need for appeals. The last section of proposed Chapter 9 ends with a discussion of two topics that have generated particular interest in the industry and within the disability community: No-show policies and origin-to-destination service. First, the E:\FR\FM\12NON1.SGM 12NON1 TKELLEY on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 218 / Wednesday, November 12, 2014 / Notices chapter explains the administrative process for suspending complementary paratransit service for riders who establish a pattern or practice of missing scheduled trips or canceling trips late. The discussion explains how to establish that a pattern or practice exists, methods of notifying riders of proposed suspensions, and the appeal process. The discussion then suggests practices for minimizing rider no-shows and offers references to guidance documents. The section on the requirement for origin-to-destination service refers to DOT’s 2005 Disability Law Guidance, which elaborates on the meaning of origin-to-destination service. (See http://www.fta.dot.gov/12325_ 3891.html). FTA notes that DOT has an open rulemaking on reasonable modification of policy and through that rulemaking sought public comments on issues related to origin-to-destination service. (See 71 FR 9761, Feb. 27, 2006). The proposed circular presents DOT’s position on origin-to-destination service consistent with the 2005 guidance. Any changes to ADA requirements made through rulemaking at the DOT level may require associated changes to this circular. Several attachments are included with this chapter: Proposed task and skills lists for assessing abilities to use fixed route transit services; sample letters for unconditional, conditional, and temporary ADA paratransit eligibility; a sample letter for denial of ADA paratransit eligibility, including a sample basis for the determination and a sample ADA paratransit eligibility determination appeal request form; and sample no-show policy documents and related guidance. Proposed Chapter 10, ‘‘Passenger Vessels,’’ covers the requirements for ferries that apply to passenger vessel operators (PVOs) that receive FTA financial assistance. Regulations addressed in this chapter are from 49 CFR part 39 subparts A, B, C, D, F, and G. The subpart E guidelines for accessibility of vessels are currently reserved. The proposed chapter explains the unique challenges posed by marine environments and the regulatory requirements from multiple agencies. Proposed Chapter 10 then covers each of the part 39 subparts and provides examples of good practices. The chapter also provides excerpts from the Department’s additional guidance in the form of questions and answers concerning 49 CFR part 39, published on January 31, 2011. (See www.civilrights.dot.gov/sites/default/ files/PVGuidance2_3_11.pdf). Proposed Chapter 10 also includes examples of VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:55 Nov 10, 2014 Jkt 235001 good PVO practices in accommodating passengers with disabilities, including accommodating the needs of passengers with hearing impairments, providing information on vessel accessibility, and the resolution of complaints. Proposed Chapter 11, ‘‘Other Modes,’’ covers the 49 CFR part 38 subpart H requirements for other vehicles and systems. These other modes are not covered by the requirements in 49 CFR part 38 subparts B, C, D, and E (vans, buses, and rail vehicles); these requirements are covered in the proposed chapter for vehicle acquisition (Chapter 4), published on Oct. 2, 2012. The chapter covers the requirements for automated guideway transit vehicles and systems, high-speed rail cars, monorails, trams and similar vehicles and systems, and includes hyperlinks to the part 38 requirements that apply to each mode. Proposed Chapter 12, ‘‘Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring,’’ explains how FTA carries out its oversight and enforcement responsibilities—including complaint investigations and onsite reviews—and covers transit agencies’ own responsibilities for resolving and tracking nondiscrimination complaints. A sample comment form is included as an attachment to the chapter. The chapter also provides an overview of monitoring compliance for the programs and services agencies provide and monitoring any contractors or service providers that agencies use and includes a table showing the monitoring topics discussed in in different circular chapters. Amendment 2 to the circular also includes two short proposed addenda to Chapters 2 and 8 published as Amendment 1 to the circular. The addendum proposed for insertion at the end of proposed Chapter 2, ‘‘General Requirements,’’ covers monitoring methods to ensure compliance with the topics in that chapter. Topics covered include gathering relevant service information (e.g., elevator working condition records), reviewing service data, directly observing the provision of service, and reviewing rider comments and complaints. The addendum proposed for insertion at the end of Chapter 8, ‘‘Complementary Paratransit Service,’’ covers monitoring methods to ensure compliance with the topics in that chapter. Topics covered include a discussion of the components of an effective monitoring program. These include policies, procedures and standards, data collection and analysis, first-hand observations, provision of service, and reviewing rider comments and complaints. PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 67237 III. Publication Approach With the publication of the seven additional proposed chapters, FTA has now published all 12 proposed chapters that would compose FTA’s proposed ADA circular. In its final form, the circular will provide guidance specifically for recipients of FTA financial assistance that provide public transportation service. As such, requirements found in the DOT ADA regulations, for example, related to intercity rail (i.e., Amtrak), private motor coach service (e.g., Greyhound), taxi service, and airport transportation will not be addressed in the FTA ADA circular. FTA will not publish final versions of individual chapters, but rather will publish one final circular after receiving comments on individual chapters. Once comments are received on these remaining seven chapters, FTA will review the circular as one comprehensive document, make further refinements and publish a final circular. IV. Conclusion FTA seeks comments on the scope and content of the seven chapters of the circular addressed in Amendment 2: Chapter 3 (Transportation Facilities), Chapter 6 (Fixed Route Service), Chapter 7 (Demand Responsive Service), Chapter 9 (ADA Paratransit Eligibility), Chapter 10 (Passenger Vessels), Chapter 11 (Other Modes), and Chapter 12 (Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring), and additional text on monitoring practices, published as addenda to previously published Chapters 2 and 8. FTA is seeking comments specifically regarding (1) whether there are areas in each of these chapters that need more clarification or explanation; (2) important topics that were overlooked; (3) whether any sections, as written, appear to exceed regulatory requirements and which are not clearly presented as options; (4) whether any regulatory requirements are not clearly delineated as requirements; (5) whether the document’s format change (e.g., the addition of a separate ‘‘Requirements’’ section in the topic areas) sufficiently addresses comments received on previous chapters regarding the need to separate regulatory requirements from options and technical assistance; and (6) examples of local practices that have proven effective that would be worth describing in the circular. Therese W. McMillan, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2014–26665 Filed 11–10–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–57–P E:\FR\FM\12NON1.SGM 12NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 218 (Wednesday, November 12, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67234-67237]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-26665]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration

[Docket No. FTA-2014-0024]


Americans With Disabilities Act: Proposed Circular Amendment 2

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of availability of additional proposed circular chapters 
and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has placed in the 
docket and on its Web site proposed guidance in the form of seven 
additional proposed circular chapters to assist transportation 
providers in meeting the requirements of the U.S. Department of 
Transportation's (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 
regulations. These proposed circular chapters include Chapter 3 
(Transportation Facilities), Chapter 6 (Fixed Route Service), Chapter 7 
(Demand Responsive Service), Chapter 9 (ADA Paratransit Eligibility), 
Chapter 10 (Passenger Vessels), Chapter 11 (Other Modes), and Chapter 
12 (Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring). Also included is additional 
text on monitoring practices, published as addenda to Chapter 2 
(General Requirements) and Chapter 8 (Complementary Paratransit 
Service). Along with the proposed Chapter 4 (Vehicle Acquisition) 
published on October 2, 2012, and Chapter 1 (Introduction and 
Applicability), Chapter 2 (General Requirements), Chapter 5 (Equivalent 
Facilitation), and Chapter 8 (Complementary Paratransit Service) 
published on February 19, 2014, these chapters are part of a series of 
12 chapters that will compose a complete ADA circular. By this notice, 
FTA invites public comment on these seven additional proposed circular 
chapters and the addenda to two previously published chapters.

DATES: Comments must be submitted by January 12, 2015. Late-filed 
comments

[[Page 67235]]

will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to Docket No. FTA-2014-0024 by any 
of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov and follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments.
    Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    Instructions: You must include the agency name (Federal Transit 
Administration) and Docket number FTA-2014-0024 for this notice at the 
beginning of your comments. You should submit two copies of your 
comments if you submit them by mail. If you wish to receive 
confirmation that FTA received your comments, you must include a self-
addressed stamped postcard. Note that all comments received will be 
posted without change to www.regulations.gov including any personal 
information provided and will be available to Internet users. You may 
review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal 
Register on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477).
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents and 
comments received, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or to the U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, 
DC 20590 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program questions, Dawn Sweet, 
Office of Civil Rights, Federal Transit Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Room E54-306, Washington, DC 20590, phone: (202) 366-4018, 
or email, dawn.sweet@dot.gov. For legal questions, Bonnie Graves, 
Office of Chief Counsel, same address, Room E56-306, phone: (202) 366-
4011, or email, bonnie.graves@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issues regulations 
implementing the transportation and related provisions of the Americans 
with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The regulations at 49 CFR parts 
27, 37, 38, and 39 set forth specific requirements transportation 
providers must follow to ensure their services, vehicles, and 
facilities are accessible to and useable by people with disabilities. 
The body of ADA regulations is vast, covering multiple modes of public 
transportation, including fixed route bus and rail (e.g., rapid, 
commuter, and light rail); ADA complementary paratransit; general 
public demand responsive service; and ferry service. The Federal 
Transit Administration (FTA), as an agency within DOT, is charged with 
ensuring that providers of public transportation comply with these 
regulations. In 2010, FTA initiated a comprehensive management review 
of the agency's core guidance to transit grantees on ADA and other 
civil rights requirements. A primary goal of the review was to assess 
whether FTA was providing sufficient, proactive assistance to grantees 
in meeting civil rights requirements, as opposed to reacting to 
allegations of failure to comply with the requirements. Based on the 
results of the review, FTA identified the need to develop an ADA 
circular similar to the circulars long in place for other FTA programs. 
The current body of statutes and regulations in the ADA area can be 
imposing, and in some cases, extremely technical. As a result, FTA 
recognized value to the transit industry and other stakeholders in 
compiling and organizing information by topic into a plain English, 
easy-to-use format.
    The proposed circular does not alter, amend, supersede or otherwise 
affect the DOT ADA regulations themselves or replace or reduce the need 
for detailed information in the regulations. Its format, however, can 
outline basic requirements with references to the applicable regulatory 
sections, along with examples of practices used by transit providers to 
meet the requirements. Optional practices are included throughout the 
circular; FTA recognizes that there are many different ways agencies 
can fulfill the regulatory requirements and ensure the delivery of 
compliant service.
    FTA proposed a phased approach for the development of the new 
circular, FTA C 4710.1, with the initial proposed chapter focused on 
vehicle acquisition (See 77 FR 60170, Oct. 2, 2012, www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-10-02/pdf/2012-24185.pdf) . In February, 2014, FTA 
published four additional chapters (Introduction and Applicability, 
General Requirements, Equivalent Facilitation, and Complementary 
Paratransit Service). (See 79 FR 9585, Feb. 19, 2014, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-02-19/pdf/2014-03530.pdf).
    FTA will not publish final versions of individual chapters, but 
rather will publish one final circular after receiving comments on all 
individual chapters.
    Today's notice provides a summary of the seven additional proposed 
chapters and two chapter addenda. These chapters of the proposed 
circular do not contain any new requirements, policies, or directives. 
The chapters themselves are not included in this notice; an electronic 
version may be found on FTA's Web site, at www.fta.dot.gov. Paper 
copies of the circular may be obtained by contacting FTA's 
Administrative Services Help Desk, at (202) 366-4865. After the summary 
of the seven new chapters, this notice describes FTA's approach for 
publishing a final circular.
    After issuing the four additional chapters in February 2014, FTA 
received comments from 23 individuals and organizations. A number of 
comments raised concerns that optional practices and suggestions could 
be misinterpreted as requirements. Objections were raised to the 
circular project in its proposed format. Commenters provided further 
suggestions for modifying the format of the circular in order to better 
distinguish between regulatory requirements and guidance. FTA has 
incorporated many of these suggestions into the seven additional 
proposed chapters issued with this amendment, and will incorporate 
format changes in the remaining chapters, as appropriate. The revised 
format presents the regulatory requirements under a ``Requirement'' 
subheading; citations are included within quotation marks. A separate 
``Discussion'' section then follows. FTA welcomes comments on these 
format changes. FTA also received comments on the substance of the 
draft chapters, including some corrections and suggestions, which FTA 
will incorporate as appropriate, along with other general comments on 
the circular format, upon finalization of the entire circular.
    FTA encourages stakeholders to provide comments on the content of 
these seven proposed chapters and two chapter addenda.

II. Summary of Circular Amendment 2

    Amendment 2 to the circular includes a table of contents for all 12 
proposed chapters, including contents for the previously published 
proposed chapters: Chapter 1 (Introduction and Applicability), Chapter 
2 (General

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Requirements), Chapter 4 (Vehicle Acquisition), Chapter 5 (Equivalent 
Facilitation), and Chapter 8 (Complementary Paratransit Service).
    The table of contents for Chapters 2 and 8 includes the proposed 
additional sections on monitoring. Finally, the table of contents 
includes the seven proposed chapters that are the subject of today's 
notice: Chapter 3 (Transportation Facilities), Chapter 6 (Fixed Route 
Service), Chapter 7 (Demand Responsive Service), Chapter 9 (ADA 
Paratransit Eligibility), Chapter 10 (Passenger Vessels), Chapter 11 
(Other Modes), and Chapter 12 (Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring).
    Proposed Chapter 3, ``Transportation Facilities,'' explains the 
regulations related to transportation facilities with emphasis on the 
requirements for new construction and alterations. Proposed Chapter 3 
explains the history of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), 
including the revisions adopted by DOT in 2006 as the DOT Standards. 
The chapter does not attempt to exhaustively cover all topics related 
to construction and alteration but rather presents examples of common 
issues in applying the DOT Standards, such as the number and location 
of accessible station parking spaces, curb ramps and track crossings, 
and station platforms. The proposed chapter includes an extensive 
discussion on path of travel alterations and cost disproportionality--
an issue that has been the source of misunderstanding in the past. 
Attached to proposed Chapter 3 is a checklist grantees may use to 
review new construction and alterations to help ensure compliance, 
including 18 review topics covering parking and loading areas, 
accessible routes, signs, facility elements, elevators and lifts, and 
platforms, among others.
    Proposed Chapter 6, ``Fixed Route Service,'' explains the 
requirements for fixed route bus (local, express, commuter, and bus 
rapid transit (BRT)) and rail (light rail, rapid rail, and commuter 
rail). Proposed Chapter 6 does not cover intercity rail. The chapter 
primarily focuses on subpart G requirements that are specific to fixed 
route, such as priority seating, alternative transportation when 
vehicle lifts are not working, and stop announcements and route 
identification efforts. The cross-cutting requirements that apply to 
other modes of transit in addition to fixed route, such as the 
transport of service animals, wheelchairs, and oxygen, are covered in 
the previously published proposed Chapter 2, ``General Requirements.'' 
Proposed Chapter 6 concludes with two forms grantees may use to monitor 
their own stop announcement and route identification efforts--forms 
similar to those used by FTA when it conducts onsite compliance 
reviews.
    Proposed Chapter 7, ``Demand Responsive Service,'' addresses demand 
responsive services such as traditional dial-a-ride, taxi subsidy 
programs, vanpool programs, and route deviation service. ADA 
complementary paratransit service, also a type of demand responsive 
service, is covered separately in proposed Chapters 8 and 9 of this 
circular. Proposed Chapter 7 explains the different types of demand 
responsive services and provides illustrations of service types for 
consideration at the local level. The chapter then explains the part 37 
equivalent service requirements that permit transit agencies to 
purchase inaccessible vehicles, and explains equivalent service and 
service provision in the most integrated setting. Route deviation, in 
particular, has been a topic of interest and this chapter attempts to 
provide clarity on the issue. The section on route deviation service 
equivalency considerations includes a discussion of discriminatory 
policies and practices that limit the use of route deviation services. 
The same discussion explains the requirements to provide complementary 
paratransit service for transit agencies that limit route deviation 
requests to riders with disabilities. The discussion also explains how 
agencies may accommodate requests for complementary paratransit service 
either by deviating vehicles from fixed routes or by using available 
supplemental demand responsive (e.g., dial-a-ride) vehicles--
essentially comingling complementary paratransit eligible riders with 
other demand responsive customers on the same vehicle. Proposed Chapter 
7 concludes with options for monitoring and determining equivalency and 
includes a table for the seven service requirements. The chapter 
includes a sample certification of equivalent service as an attachment.
    Proposed Chapter 9, ``ADA Paratransit Eligibility,'' addresses 
eligibility for complementary paratransit services, covering who is 
eligible and the regulatory requirements that transit agencies must 
follow when determining eligibility. The chapter focuses on ADA 
paratransit eligibility standards and includes a detailed discussion of 
eligible individuals as well as important considerations in eligibility 
such as most limiting conditions and environmental barriers. It 
discusses each type of ADA paratransit eligibility, including 
unconditional, conditional, and temporary eligibility, and includes 
considerations for applying conditional eligibility with examples of 
explicit conditions and suggestions on how to appropriately apply 
conditions. Requirements surrounding personal care attendants, 
companions, and visitors are also addressed in this chapter.
    Proposed Chapter 9 describes the types of eligibility determination 
processes transit agencies use and includes suggested sources of 
information for determining eligibility such as supplemental 
information provided by professionals, as well as important 
considerations for the use of such information.
    The chapter also covers the paperwork aspect of the paratransit 
application process. For example, it explains the prohibition against 
unreasonable burdens on applicants for ADA paratransit eligibility and 
includes examples of unreasonable burdens. The chapter includes 
information on how to treat incomplete applications for ADA paratransit 
eligibility, maintain an applicant's confidentiality, and offer 
eligibility materials in accessible formats. Proposed Chapter 9 goes on 
to explain the requirements for documenting eligibility, including the 
use of identification cards. Also included is a discussion of proper 
wording for letters to applicants found ineligible, conditionally 
eligible, or temporarily eligible.
    Proposed Chapter 9 also explains the requirements for making timely 
determinations and for providing service if determinations are not made 
within 21 days of submission of complete applications. This includes a 
discussion of the timing of appointments for in-person assessments and 
their relationship to the 21-day application timeframe. The chapter 
explains the requirement for recertification of ADA paratransit 
eligibility at reasonable intervals and the appeal process requirements 
for applicants found ineligible, conditionally eligible, or temporarily 
eligible. This section includes information on notifying applicants of 
their right to appeal the decision, the right to be heard in person, 
the separation of function requirements, and the timing and 
documentation of appeal decisions. It also offers suggestions on 
selecting individuals to hear appeals and related practices that can 
help minimize the need for appeals.
    The last section of proposed Chapter 9 ends with a discussion of 
two topics that have generated particular interest in the industry and 
within the disability community: No-show policies and origin-to-
destination service. First, the

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chapter explains the administrative process for suspending 
complementary paratransit service for riders who establish a pattern or 
practice of missing scheduled trips or canceling trips late. The 
discussion explains how to establish that a pattern or practice exists, 
methods of notifying riders of proposed suspensions, and the appeal 
process. The discussion then suggests practices for minimizing rider 
no-shows and offers references to guidance documents.
    The section on the requirement for origin-to-destination service 
refers to DOT's 2005 Disability Law Guidance, which elaborates on the 
meaning of origin-to-destination service. (See http://www.fta.dot.gov/12325_3891.html). FTA notes that DOT has an open rulemaking on 
reasonable modification of policy and through that rulemaking sought 
public comments on issues related to origin-to-destination service. 
(See 71 FR 9761, Feb. 27, 2006). The proposed circular presents DOT's 
position on origin-to-destination service consistent with the 2005 
guidance. Any changes to ADA requirements made through rulemaking at 
the DOT level may require associated changes to this circular.
    Several attachments are included with this chapter: Proposed task 
and skills lists for assessing abilities to use fixed route transit 
services; sample letters for unconditional, conditional, and temporary 
ADA paratransit eligibility; a sample letter for denial of ADA 
paratransit eligibility, including a sample basis for the determination 
and a sample ADA paratransit eligibility determination appeal request 
form; and sample no-show policy documents and related guidance.
    Proposed Chapter 10, ``Passenger Vessels,'' covers the requirements 
for ferries that apply to passenger vessel operators (PVOs) that 
receive FTA financial assistance. Regulations addressed in this chapter 
are from 49 CFR part 39 subparts A, B, C, D, F, and G. The subpart E 
guidelines for accessibility of vessels are currently reserved. The 
proposed chapter explains the unique challenges posed by marine 
environments and the regulatory requirements from multiple agencies.
    Proposed Chapter 10 then covers each of the part 39 subparts and 
provides examples of good practices. The chapter also provides excerpts 
from the Department's additional guidance in the form of questions and 
answers concerning 49 CFR part 39, published on January 31, 2011. (See 
www.civilrights.dot.gov/sites/default/files/PVGuidance2_3_11.pdf). 
Proposed Chapter 10 also includes examples of good PVO practices in 
accommodating passengers with disabilities, including accommodating the 
needs of passengers with hearing impairments, providing information on 
vessel accessibility, and the resolution of complaints.
    Proposed Chapter 11, ``Other Modes,'' covers the 49 CFR part 38 
subpart H requirements for other vehicles and systems. These other 
modes are not covered by the requirements in 49 CFR part 38 subparts B, 
C, D, and E (vans, buses, and rail vehicles); these requirements are 
covered in the proposed chapter for vehicle acquisition (Chapter 4), 
published on Oct. 2, 2012. The chapter covers the requirements for 
automated guideway transit vehicles and systems, high-speed rail cars, 
monorails, trams and similar vehicles and systems, and includes 
hyperlinks to the part 38 requirements that apply to each mode.
    Proposed Chapter 12, ``Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring,'' 
explains how FTA carries out its oversight and enforcement 
responsibilities--including complaint investigations and onsite 
reviews--and covers transit agencies' own responsibilities for 
resolving and tracking nondiscrimination complaints. A sample comment 
form is included as an attachment to the chapter. The chapter also 
provides an overview of monitoring compliance for the programs and 
services agencies provide and monitoring any contractors or service 
providers that agencies use and includes a table showing the monitoring 
topics discussed in in different circular chapters.
    Amendment 2 to the circular also includes two short proposed 
addenda to Chapters 2 and 8 published as Amendment 1 to the circular. 
The addendum proposed for insertion at the end of proposed Chapter 2, 
``General Requirements,'' covers monitoring methods to ensure 
compliance with the topics in that chapter. Topics covered include 
gathering relevant service information (e.g., elevator working 
condition records), reviewing service data, directly observing the 
provision of service, and reviewing rider comments and complaints.
    The addendum proposed for insertion at the end of Chapter 8, 
``Complementary Paratransit Service,'' covers monitoring methods to 
ensure compliance with the topics in that chapter. Topics covered 
include a discussion of the components of an effective monitoring 
program. These include policies, procedures and standards, data 
collection and analysis, first-hand observations, provision of service, 
and reviewing rider comments and complaints.

III. Publication Approach

    With the publication of the seven additional proposed chapters, FTA 
has now published all 12 proposed chapters that would compose FTA's 
proposed ADA circular. In its final form, the circular will provide 
guidance specifically for recipients of FTA financial assistance that 
provide public transportation service. As such, requirements found in 
the DOT ADA regulations, for example, related to intercity rail (i.e., 
Amtrak), private motor coach service (e.g., Greyhound), taxi service, 
and airport transportation will not be addressed in the FTA ADA 
circular.
    FTA will not publish final versions of individual chapters, but 
rather will publish one final circular after receiving comments on 
individual chapters. Once comments are received on these remaining 
seven chapters, FTA will review the circular as one comprehensive 
document, make further refinements and publish a final circular.

IV. Conclusion

    FTA seeks comments on the scope and content of the seven chapters 
of the circular addressed in Amendment 2: Chapter 3 (Transportation 
Facilities), Chapter 6 (Fixed Route Service), Chapter 7 (Demand 
Responsive Service), Chapter 9 (ADA Paratransit Eligibility), Chapter 
10 (Passenger Vessels), Chapter 11 (Other Modes), and Chapter 12 
(Oversight, Complaints, and Monitoring), and additional text on 
monitoring practices, published as addenda to previously published 
Chapters 2 and 8.
    FTA is seeking comments specifically regarding (1) whether there 
are areas in each of these chapters that need more clarification or 
explanation; (2) important topics that were overlooked; (3) whether any 
sections, as written, appear to exceed regulatory requirements and 
which are not clearly presented as options; (4) whether any regulatory 
requirements are not clearly delineated as requirements; (5) whether 
the document's format change (e.g., the addition of a separate 
``Requirements'' section in the topic areas) sufficiently addresses 
comments received on previous chapters regarding the need to separate 
regulatory requirements from options and technical assistance; and (6) 
examples of local practices that have proven effective that would be 
worth describing in the circular.

Therese W. McMillan,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-26665 Filed 11-10-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P