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Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines; Detectable Warnings

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines; Detectable Warnings

Federico Pena
U.S. Department of Transportation
April 12, 1994


[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 70 (Tuesday, April 12, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-8676]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: April 12, 1994]


_______________________________________________________________________

Part III

Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General



28 CFR Part 36

Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board



36 CFR Part 1191

Department of Transportation
Office of the Secretary



49 CFR Part 37



_______________________________________________________________________




Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines; Detectable 
Warnings; Joint Final Rule
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Office of the Attorney General

28 CFR Part 36

[A.G. Order No. 1852-94]

ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

36 CFR Part 1191

[Docket 93-3]
RIN 3014-AA15

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Office of the Secretary

49 CFR Part 37

 
Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines; 
Detectable Warnings

AGENCIES: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 
Department of Justice and Department of Transportation.

ACTION: Joint final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 
is conducting research during fiscal year 1994 on whether detectable 
warnings are needed at curb ramps and hazardous vehicular areas and 
their effect on persons with mobility impairments and other 
pedestrians. Depending on the results of this research, the Access 
Board may conduct additional research during fiscal year 1995 to refine 
the scoping provisions and technical specifications for detectable 
warnings at these locations. Because of the issues that have been 
raised about the use of detectable warnings at curb ramps and curbless 
entranceways to retail stores and other places of public accommodation, 
the Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the Department of 
Transportation are suspending temporarily until July 26, 1996 the 
requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular 
areas, and reflecting pools in the Americans With Disabilities Act 
Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) so that the agencies can consider the 
results of the research and determine whether any changes in the 
requirements are warranted.

EFFECTIVE DATE: May 12, 1994.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Access Board: James J. Raggio, General 
Counsel, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, 
1331 F Street NW., suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111. Telephone 
(202) 272-5434 (voice) or (202) 272-5449 (TTY).
    Department of Justice: Stewart B. Oneglia, Chief, Coordination and 
Review Section, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, Post 
Office Box 66118, Washington, DC 20035. Telephone (202) 307-2222 (voice 
or TTY).
    Department of Transportation: Robert C. Ashby, Deputy Assistant 
General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement, Department of 
Transportation, 400 7th Street SW., room 10424, Washington, DC 20590. 
Telephone (202) 366-9306 (voice) or (202) 755-7687 (TTY).
    The telephone numbers listed above are not toll-free numbers.
    This document is available in the following alternate formats: 
cassette tape, braille, large print, and computer disc. Copies may be 
obtained from the Access Board by calling (202) 272-5434 (voice) or 
(202) 272-5449 (TTY). The document is also available on electronic 
bulletin board from the Department of Justice at (202) 514-6193.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On July 9, 1993, the Access Board published a notice in the Federal 
Register announcing that it planned to conduct research during fiscal 
year 1994 on whether detectable warnings are needed at curb ramps and 
hazardous vehicular areas and their effect on persons with mobility 
impairments and other pedestrians.1 58 FR 37058. On the same day, 
the Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the Department of 
Transportation (hereinafter referred to as ``the agencies'') published 
a joint notice of the proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal 
Register to suspend temporarily the requirements for detectable 
warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools 
in the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) 
pending the research. 58 FR 37052. In issuing the NPRM, the agencies 
noted that blind persons and their organizations had taken differing 
positions regarding whether detectable warnings are needed at these 
locations; that persons with mobility impairments had expressed concern 
that installing detectable warnings on the entire length of curb ramps 
would adversely affect their ability to safely negotiate the sloped 
surfaces; and that a national association of retail stores had asserted 
that installing detectable warnings on curb ramps and curbless 
entranceways to the stores would pose a tripping hazard for their 
customers. The agencies stated in the NPRM that because of these 
potential safety issues they believed that it would be in the public 
interest to suspend temporarily the ADAAG requirements for detectable 
warnings at the locations noted above until the research provides 
additional information to address the issues.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\Detectable warnings are a pattern of closely spaced, small 
truncated domes that are built in or applied to a walking surface to 
alert persons who are blind or who have low vision of hazards on a 
circulation path. 36 CFR Part 1191, Appendix A, Section 4.29.2. 
Research has shown that the truncated dome pattern is highly 
detectable both by cane and under foot. The truncated dome pattern 
has been used as a detectable warning along transit platform edges 
for over five years by the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in 
California and by the Metro-Dade Transit Agency in Florida. The 
truncated dome pattern has also been used in Great Britain, Japan, 
and other countries as a detectable warning.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Over 150 comments were received on the July 9, 1993 NPRM. Another 
110 comments concerning detectable warnings were received in response 
to a NPRM published by the Access Board in the Federal Register on 
December 21, 1992 which proposed to reserve detectable warnings 
provisions for curb ramps installed in the public right-of-way by State 
and local governments. 58 FR 60612. The comments received in response 
to both the July 9, 1993 NPRM and the December 21, 1992 NPRM have been 
considered in this rulemaking. The comments came from blind persons and 
their organizations (132 comments); State and local government agencies 
(54 comments); manufacturers of detectable warnings (14 comments); 
professional and trade associations (11 comments); businesses (4 
comments); organizations representing persons with mobility impairments 
(4 comments); mobility specialists (13 comments); and other individuals 
(17 comments) and entities (14 comments). About 25 persons submitted 
comments in response to both NPRM's.
    The comments centered around three issues: whether detectable 
warnings are needed at curb ramps and other locations; their effect on 
persons with mobility impairments and other pedestrians; and their 
durability, maintainability, and cost. The comments are further 
discussed below.

Need for Detectable Warnings at Curb Ramps and Other Locations

    The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), ten NFB chapters, and 
31 blind individuals submitted comments supporting the proposed 
suspension of the ADAAG requirements for detectable warnings at curb 
ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools. NFB further 
recommended that detectable warnings be eliminated eventually from 
ADAAG, including at transit platform edges. NFB asserted that blind 
persons are responsible for using effective travel methods (i.e., cane 
or guide dog) and that public policy should be based on an ``individual 
responsibility'' standard. NFB pointed out that blind persons move 
about safely every day without detectable warnings; and stated that 
fears of blind persons falling or being injured are based on emotional 
responses and not factual information. NFB claimed that there are 
sufficient cues already available in the environment to alert blind 
persons of hazards on a circulation path and that if only some hazards 
are marked by detectable warnings, the inconsistency is likely to 
defeat their intended purpose and could create a threat rather than an 
aid to safe mobility for blind persons.
    The American Council of the Blind (ACB), 18 ACB chapters, the 
Council of Citizens with Low Vision International and two of its 
chapters, the Guide Dog Users of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, the 
National Alliance of Blind Students, the American Foundation for the 
Blind, the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind 
and Visually Impaired, 15 other State and local organizations 
representing persons who are blind or who have vision impairments, 49 
blind individuals, and eight mobility specialists submitted comments 
opposing the suspension. These commenters recounted incidents of blind 
persons approaching curb ramps and stepping into the street without 
stopping; walking into reflecting pools; and falling from transit 
platforms. News articles were submitted reporting the deaths of three 
blind persons who fell from subway platforms in Boston and New York and 
from a commuter rail platform in Maryland during 1993.\2\ Another news 
article reported an incident of a blind person who was severely injured 
from falling in front of an oncoming train in Baltimore in December 
1992.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\None of the transit platform edges had detectable warnings 
that conform to the ADAAG requirements. The New York subway platform 
edge was marked by a yellow stripe and an abrasive material.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ACB submitted a report of a recent research project which studied 
cues used by blind persons to detect streets. Barlow, J. and Bentzen, 
B.L., Cues Blind Travelers Use to Detect Streets, Washington, DC: 
American Council of the Blind (1993). Eight cities were included in the 
research project. In each city, ten blind persons who use canes to 
travel approached ten unfamiliar intersections with curb ramps without 
detectable warnings. They were asked to stop when they believed their 
next step would be into the street and to report the cues which they 
used to determine where to stop. Of the 80 blind persons who 
participated in the research project, 75% were considered good-to-
excellent travellers by self-report and through assessment by 
orientation and mobility specialists; and two-thirds reported 
travelling independently a minimum of five times a week.
    Of the 800 street approaches, the participants walked down the 
center of the curb ramps in 557 instances and stopped before the street 
in 360 cases (65%). Of the 22 cues reportedly used to detect the 
street, the two most frequently mentioned cues were the downslope of 
the ramp and the presence of traffic on the street perpendicular to the 
participant's line of travel. Other cues frequently mentioned were the 
upslope or texture change at the street, the end of the building line 
or shoreline, and the presence of traffic on the street parallel to the 
participant's line of travel. The participants stated that they usually 
used a combination of cues to identify the street.
    In the 197 instances (35%) where the participants walked down the 
curb ramp and did not stop before the street:
     There was traffic on the street perpendicular to the 
participant's line of travel in 116 cases (59%). The traffic was moving 
in 75 cases and idling in 41 cases.
     The participants took two or more steps into the street in 
151 cases (76%).
    Although the participants reported the presence of the traffic on 
the street perpendicular to their line of travel and the upslope or 
texture change at the street as frequently used cues to detect the 
street, the research data indicate that these cues are not sufficient 
to consistently and dependably identify the street.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\The research project also analyzed participant variables such 
as frequency of travel, travel proficiency, cane lengthen in 
relation to stride length, cane technique, hearing, and 
organizational membership. Travel proficiency and cane technique 
were found to be marginally significant factors in detecting the 
street. The other factors were not significant.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The research data suggest that there is a strong relationship 
between the slope of the curb ramp and the detection of the street.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\The research data also suggest that there is a strong 
relationship between the rate of change in slope between the walkway 
leading up to the curb ramp and the ramp itself. The participants 
had a greater rate (85%) of detecting the street were the change in 
slope was abrupt and a lower rate (57%) where the change in slope 
was gradual.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Where the slope was 6 deg. or more (1:10 or more), the 
participants stopped before the street in 172 of 194 instances (89%).
     Where the slope was 5 deg. (1:11 to 1:13), the 
participants stopped before the street in 31 of 44 instances (70%).
     Where the slope was 4 deg. or less (1:14 or less), the 
participants stopped before the street in 157 of 319 instances 
(49%).\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\The ten most difficult streets to detect (i.e., where most 
participants stepped into the street without stopping) had a ramp 
with a slope of 4 deg. or less and at least one of the following 
characteristics: a curb ramp parallel to the participant's line of 
travel; a very quiet street or busy street with surges of traffic 
and gaps in traffic cues; no building line or a building line that 
was different from others on the route; and little or no texture 
change or upslope at the street or a change which was considered 
gradual. At one blended curb, all ten participants stepped into the 
street without stopping and five of them crossed the entire street 
without detecting it despite an abrupt end to the shore line, a 
surface texture change, and a slight lip where the street pavement 
overlapped the sidewalk.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The report made the following recommendations for additional 
research:

    [F]uture research could more precisely measure the curb ramps 
included in this project, and analyze performance with relationship 
to these more accurate measurements. It may be possible that ramps 
which have 1:12 slopes facilitate high detection rates, while ramps 
of lesser slopes (e.g., 1:15) may be clearly associated with low 
detection rates. If ramps of 1:12 facilitate high street detection 
rates, then it is possible that the [ADAAG] requirement for 
detectable warnings on curb ramps could be limited, e.g., to ramps 
having slopes less than 1:12. The requirement that detectable 
warnings extend over the entire surface of curb ramps is not 
supported by empirical evidence that such an extensive tactile cue 
is necessary to alert blind travellers to the end of a curb ramp and 
the beginning of a street. It is possible that a lesser amount of 
warning (24'' or 36'') may be sufficient. If so, the optimal 
placement of the warning still remains to be determined. Suggested 
locations are (1) on the lower end of the ramp, immediately 
adjoining the street; (2) on the upper end of the ramp; and (3) 
around the sides and at the top of the ramp. Dimensions and location 
of detectable warnings need further empirical research.

Effect of Detectable Warnings on Persons With Mobility Impairments and 
Other Pedestrians

    Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, Paralyzed Veterans of 
America, and two State organizations representing persons with mobility 
impairments expressed concern that detectable warnings could have an 
adverse effect on persons who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids, 
especially on sloped surfaces.\6\ They generally supported suspending 
the ADAAG requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous 
vehicular areas, and reflecting pools while additional research is 
conducted.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA) initially 
supported the ADAAG requirements for detectable warnings and 
explained that it had changed its position after reviewing the data 
from the earlier Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Metro-Dade 
Transit Agency studies. The BART study conducted tests on level 
platform surfaces with 24 persons with mobility impairments, 
including four manual wheelchair users. Five participants (21%) 
responded that the detectable warnings would be helpful; eight (33%) 
responded that they were ``not affected''; seven (29%) responded 
that they would be ``insignificantly affected''; four (17%) 
responded that they would be ``moderately impaired''; and none 
responded that they would be ``seriously impaired.'' Three of the 
manual wheelchair users responded that they would be 
``insignificantly affected'' and the other one responded that he or 
she would be ``moderately impaired.'' Peck, A.F. and Bentzen, B.L., 
Tactile Warnings to Promote Safety in the Vicinity of Transit 
Platform Edges, Cambridge, MA: Transportation Systems Center (1987). 
The Metro-Dade Transit Agency conducted tests with seven wheelchair 
users on level platform surfaces. Five of the participants responded 
that they were ``not affected'' or ``insignificantly affected.'' The 
other two had difficulty with the detectable warnings but their 
specific responses are not reported in the study. Mitchell, M., 
Pathfinder Tactile Tile Demonstration Test Project, Miami, FL: 
Metro-Dade Transit Agency (1988). Carsonite International, the 
manufacturer of the detectable warning materials used in the BART 
and Metro-Dade Transit Agency systems, submitted a letter from BART 
stating that in over five years experience with detectable warnings 
on its rail system, no problems have been observed with wheelchair 
users entering or exiting the trains.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The International Mass Retail Association, the National Grocers 
Association, the Food Marketing Association, the Building Owners and 
Managers Association International, a regional commercial real estate 
association, 37 State and local government agencies, and four 
businesses expressed concern that detectable warnings would pose a 
tripping hazard to other pedestrians and supported the suspension. 
Commenters who opposed the suspension stated that concerns about the 
safety of others are speculative and unsubstantiated. Several 
manufacturers commented that there have been no reported incidents of 
trips or falls attributable to their products. A bank and a retail 
store chain stated that they had installed detectable warnings on curb 
ramps at their sites and had received complaints from wheelchair users 
and elderly customers. Only one commenter, a local school district, 
reported that an adult and some students had tripped while running over 
a curb ramp with detectable warnings.
    The Federal Transit Administration and Project ACTION of the 
National Easter Seal Society have recently sponsored a research project 
on detectable warnings which among other things tested detectable 
warnings on curb ramps for safety and negotiability by persons with 
mobility impairments. Bentzen, B.L., Nolin, T.L., Easton, R.D., and 
Desmarais, L., Detectable Warning Surfaces: Detectability by 
Individuals with Visual Impairments, and Safety and Negotiability for 
Individuals with Physical Impairments, Cambridge, MA: Transportation 
Systems Center (1993). The study tested a variety of detectable warning 
materials with 40 persons having a wide range of physical disabilities. 
The participants included 15 persons who use mobility aids with wheels 
(power and manual wheelchairs, and three- and four-wheeled scooters); 
18 persons who use mobility aids with tips (canes, crutches and 
walkers); and seven persons who do not use any mobility aid. The 
participants travelled up and down ramps that were six feet long and 
four feet wide with a 1:12 slope, the maximum slope permitted by ADAAG 
for new construction. Detectable warnings were installed on the entire 
six foot length of the ramps. For comparison, participants also 
travelled up and down a brushed concrete ramp of the same dimensions. 
Subjective and objective measurements were collected.
    Of the 40 participants, the objective data showed that:
     14 participants (35%) exhibited no difficulty negotiating 
the ramp;
     19 participants (47.5%) exhibited few difficulties; and
     7 participants (17.5%) exhibited numerous difficulties.
    The latter group included four persons who used manual wheelchairs; 
two persons who used walkers with wheels (rollators); and one person 
who wore leg braces and used a quad cane.
    A physical therapist who observed the participants reported that 
persons using no mobility aids performed consistently well on all the 
ramps with detectable warnings and that even those with protheses or 
braces showed good negotiability. Persons using power wheelchairs, and 
three- and four-wheeled scooters demonstrated few, if any difficulties, 
on any of the ramps with detectable warnings. However, four of the five 
manual wheelchair users exhibited numerous difficulties negotiating the 
ramps with detectable warnings, including exerting additional effort to 
go up the ramps, and the small, narrow front wheels getting caught in 
the groves between the domes. Participants using canes, crutches, or 
walkers were observed to have the most difficulties on the ramps with 
detectable warnings. Mobility aids with small tips (canes or walkers) 
appeared to get caught between the domes or lay on an angle between the 
grove and the dome, causing the participant to feel less stable. 
Participants who used crutches with larger tips appeared more safe and 
generally negotiated the ramps with detectable warnings better than 
those who used canes or walkers.
    The research project report recommended that ``given even the 
moderately increased level of difficulty and decrease in safety which 
detectable warnings on slopes pose for persons with physical 
disabilities, it is desirable to limit the width of detectable warnings 
to no more than that required to provide an effective warning for 
persons with visual impairments.'' The report suggested that a standard 
width of 24, 30 or 36 inches be established for detectable warning 
surfaces and indicated that such widths would provide an effective 
stopping distance for 90 to 95% of blind persons and persons with low 
vision.

Durability, Maintainability, and Cost

    Many of the commenters who supported suspending the ADAAG 
requirements for detectable warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular 
areas, and reflecting pools also expressed concern about the durability 
and maintainability of detectable warning materials, especially under 
certain climatic conditions (e.g., snow and ice, and the need for snow 
and ice removal).
    One commenter stated that a member of the ANSI A117 Committee 
recently visited the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system and observed 
a 50 to 60% ``failure rate'' with the corners of the detectable warning 
titles ``turning up and creating tripping hazards.'' The commenter also 
cited a magazine article on the use of detectable warnings in Japan as 
evidence that they are prone to breakage and deterioration.
    Manufacturers of various detectable warning materials responded 
with information about their products. Carsonite International, the 
manufacturer of the detectable warning materials used in the BART 
system, stated that in its ten years of experience, it is rare that the 
product or the adhesive fails. Where loosening or delamination has 
occurred, it was due to a failure to properly prepare the substrate. 
Carsonite International also submitted a letter from BART stating that 
annual costs for maintaining the detectable warnings at its 34 stations 
are $10,800 for materials and 8,160 hours of labor.
    Another detectable warning manufacturer stated that its product has 
been in use for the past two winters in the Boston area and that there 
have been no notable difficulties with snow and ice removal. The 
commenter also mentioned sites in Ontario, Canada where detectable 
warnings have been installed and have performed well under tough winter 
conditions. Other commenters who opposed the suspension noted that 
there were snow and ice removal techniques that could be used with 
detectable warnings without adversely affecting the efficiency of the 
overall snow removal operation such as hot-air blowers, stiff brooms, 
and de-icing materials.
    A few commenters who supported the suspension objected to the cost 
of detectable warnings but did not provide any specific data. There are 
currently a variety of detectable warning products on the market, 
including ceramic, hard composite, and resilient tiles; cast pavers; 
pre-cast concrete and concrete stamping systems; stamped metal; rubber 
mats; and resilient coatings. The costs of these products range from 
three to twenty dollars per square foot. One commenter mentioned that a 
university had installed detectable warnings on 25 to 30 new curb ramps 
on its campus at an added cost of $5,000 for the entire project.

Other Issues

    The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) 
submitted comments on the July 9, 1993 NPRM stating that based on a 
comparison of trackbed falling accidents for the WMATA and BART 
systems, it believed that the granite edges on its platforms are 
superior to truncated domes. Based on this analysis, WMATA requested 
that the ADAAG requirements for detectable warnings be changed from 
truncated domes to granite edges. The truncated dome pattern was 
adopted in ADAAG because research has shown that it is highly 
detectable both by cane and underfoot. WMATA did not submit any 
information showing that its granite edge is equally detectable both by 
cane and underfoot. As WMATA noted in its comments, the number of 
trackbed falling accidents involving blind persons and persons with low 
vision are relatively small in comparison to the millions of passenger 
miles traveled annually on our nation's rail systems to do any 
statistically meaningful analysis.
    WMATA also recommended that research be conducted on the safety of 
the truncated dome pattern for other passengers and that the ADAAG 
requirements for detectable warnings in key stations and in newly 
constructed and altered rail stations be suspended indefinitely. The 
truncated dome pattern has been used as a detectable warning on the 
platform edges of all rail stations in the BART and Metro-Dade Transit 
Agency systems for over five years and no safety problems have been 
reported by persons with mobility impairments or other passengers. The 
Access Board is conducting additional research because questions have 
been raised whether experience from the rail station environment is 
transferable to sloped curb ramps and curbless entranceways to retail 
stores. Additional research on the use of the truncated dome pattern in 
rail stations is not necessary.
    The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the 
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) referenced a 
NPRM published by the Department of Transportation on November 17, 1992 
(57 FR 54210) which proposed to extend the deadline for retrofitting 
key rail stations with detectable warnings until January 26, 1995. MTA 
and SEPTA stated that they did not believe that the proposed extension 
provided sufficient time for them to complete testing products and to 
purchase and install the detectable warnings. MTA and SEPTA requested 
that the deadline for retrofitting key rail stations with detectable 
warnings be delayed until the Access Board's research on use of 
detectable warnings on curb ramps and hazardous vehicular areas is 
completed.
    The Department of Transportation published a final rule on November 
30, 1993 (58 FR 63092) extending the deadline for retrofitting key rail 
stations with detectable warnings until July 26, 1994. In the final 
rule, the Department of Transportation stated that ``[t]he drop-offs at 
the edges of rail station platforms create a clear, documented, and 
unacceptable hazard to persons with visual impairments'' and that 
detectable warnings as specified in ADAAG will mitigate this hazard. 
The Department of Transportation noted that many rail systems have been 
working with detectable warning manufacturers to address concerns about 
durability and maintainability and that the extension provided for in 
the final rule was adequate to permit an aggressive effort by rail 
systems to address concerns about installation.
    The American Public Transit Association (APTA) submitted a comment 
stating that, if as a result of the additional research conducted by 
the Access Board on the use of detectable warnings at curb ramps and 
hazardous vehicular areas, the technical specifications for detectable 
warnings should be changed, rail systems could be placed in a position 
of installing material which could be found to be unsafe in other 
applications, and having to replace the material later. If the research 
shows that detectable warnings are needed at curb ramps and hazardous 
vehicular areas, it is possible that some refinements may be made to 
the scoping provisions and technical specification for detectable 
warnings (e.g., the location and width of detectable warnings for curb 
ramps; the types of hazardous vehicular areas where detectable warnings 
will be required). However, substantial change to the basic pattern of 
raised truncated domes is not anticipated. The Department of 
Transportation has indicated in its final rule extending the deadline 
for retrofitting key rail stations with detectable warnings that if the 
technical specifications for detectable warnings change in the future, 
the grandfathering provision in its regulations (49 CFR 37.9) could 
apply in appropriate situations to avoid making rail systems reinstall 
detectable warnings meeting the revised specifications.

Final Common Rule

    This rulemaking raises some difficult issues. It involves making 
decisions about the safety needs of blind persons and persons with low 
vision and considering their needs in light of the concerns expressed 
by persons with mobility impairments and other commenters. The task is 
all the more complicated by the fact that blind persons and their 
organizations have taken differing positions on the matter.
    After carefully reviewing the comments received on the July 9, 1993 
and December 21, 1992 NPRM's and the reports of the two recent research 
projects discussed above, the agencies believe that it is in the public 
interest to suspend temporarily the ADAAG requirements for detectable 
warnings at curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools 
while additional research is conducted on the need for detectable 
warnings at these locations and their effect on persons with mobility 
impairments and other pedestrians.
    The July 9, 1993 NPRM proposed that the suspension remain in effect 
until January 26, 1995. This date was first proposed by the Access 
Board in November 1992. At the time, the Access Board envisioned that 
the additional research would be completed in fiscal year 1994 and that 
the agencies would have an opportunity to review the results of the 
research and, if necessary, initiate further rulemaking on detectable 
warnings before January 26, 1995. In subsequent planning for the 
research project, the Access Board has divided the project into two 
phases. The first phase, which is scheduled for completion in fiscal 
year 1994, will focus on whether detectable warnings are needed at curb 
ramps and hazardous vehicular areas and their effect on persons with 
mobility impairments and other pedestrians. Depending on the results of 
the first phase, an optional second phase may be conducted during 
fiscal year 1995 to refine the scoping provisions and technical 
specifications for detectable warnings at these locations. If the 
second phase of the research project is conducted, the agencies will 
conduct further rulemaking to amend the scoping provisions and 
technical specifications based upon the recommendations of the research 
project. Allowing nine months for the rulemaking process from the end 
of fiscal year 1995, the joint final rule provides for the suspension 
to remain in effect until July 26, 1996. Of course, depending on the 
results of the first phase of the research project, the agencies could 
decide to conduct further rulemaking earlier. The July 26, 1996 date is 
the outside period by which the agencies expect to complete all 
rulemaking on this matter.
    Several commenters requested that the agencies provide guidance in 
this rulemaking on whether entities may be required to retrofit 
existing curb ramps, hazardous vehicular areas, and reflecting pools 
with detectable warnings at a future date under the program 
accessibility requirements for State and local governments (28 CFR 
35.150) and the readily achievable barrier removal requirements for 
public accommodations (28 CFR 36.304). At this time, it is premature to 
provide such guidance. The agencies will further address these 
questions after the research project is completed and further 
rulemaking on the matter is conducted.

Regulatory Analyses and Notices

    The agencies have independently determined that this final rule is 
not a significant regulatory action and that a regulatory assessment is 
not required under Executive Order 12866. It is a significant rule 
under the Department of Transportation's Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures since it amends the agency's ADA regulations, which are a 
significant rule. The Department of Transportation expects the economic 
impacts to be minimal and has not prepared a full regulatory 
evaluation.
    The agencies hereby independently certify that this proposed rule 
is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required.
    The agencies have also independently determined that there are no 
Federalism impacts sufficient to warrant the preparation of a 
Federalism assessment under Executive Order 12612.

Text of Final Common Rule

    The text of the final common rule appears below.
    Sec. ____ Temporary suspension of certain detectable warning 
requirements.
    The requirements contained in sections 4.7.7, 4.29.5, and 4.29.6 of 
Appendix A to this part are suspended temporarily until July 26, 1996.

Adoption of Final Common Rule

    The agency specific proposals to adopt the final common rule, which 
appears at the end of the common preamble, are set forth below.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Office of the Attorney General

28 CFR Part 36

List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 36

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alcoholism, Buildings and 
facilities, Business and industry, Civil rights, Consumer protection, 
Drug abuse, Historic preservation, Individuals with disabilities, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Authority and Issuance

    By the authority vested in me as Attorney General by 28 U.S.C. 509, 
510; 5 U.S.C. 301; and 42 U.S.C. 12186(b), and for the reasons set 
forth in the common preamble, part 36 of chapter I of title 28 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 36--NONDISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY BY PUBLIC 
ACCOMMODATIONS AND IN COMMERCIAL FACILITIES

    1. The authority citation for 28 CFR part 36 is revised to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510; 42 U.S.C. 12186(b).

    2. Section 36.407 is added to read as set forth at the end of the 
common preamble.

    Dated: February 23, 1994.
Janet Reno,
Attorney General.

ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD

36 CFR Part 1191

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 1191

    Buildings and facilities, Civil rights, Individuals with 
disabilities.

Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the common preamble, part 1191 of 
title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 1191--AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) ACCESSIBILITY 
GUIDELINES FOR BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES

    1. The authority citation for 36 CFR part 1191 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
12204).

    2. Section 1191.2 is added to read as set forth at the end of the 
common preamble.

    Authorized by vote of the Access Board on November 10, 1993.
Judith E. Heumann,
Chairperson, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance 
Board.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Office of the Secretary

49 CFR Part 37

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 37

    Buildings and facilities, Buses, Civil rights, Individuals with 
disabilities, Mass transportation, Railroads, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the common preamble, part 37 of title 
49 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 37--TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES 
(ADA)

    1. The authority citation for 49 CFR part 37 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
12101-12213); 49 U.S.C. 322.

    2. Section 37.15 is added to read as set forth at the end of the 
common preamble.

    Dated: April 6, 1994.
Federico Pena,
Secretary of Transportation.
[FR Doc. 94-8676 Filed 4-11-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-01-P; 8150-01-P; 4910-62-P

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