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Accessibility   Program Summary Banner

Program Summary

    A brief history of accessibility-related legislation and policies:
    1968 Congress passes the Architectural Barriers Act requiring that "any building or facility, built, renovated, or leased with Federal funds, will be built to be accessible to and usable by physically disabled persons."
    1973 The Rehabilitation Act is passed. Section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act establishes the Access Board as an independent regulatory agency with authority to enforce the Architectural Barriers Act.
    1984 Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) adopted as standard for accessibility specifications, published in the FEDERAL REGISTER on August 7, 1984 (49 FR 31528). Each of the standard-setting agencies then takes action in accordance with its own procedures to incorporate the UFAS in its own standards, regulations, or other directives.
    1985 Department of Defense adopts UFAS
    1990 The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is enacted to extend the rights of people with disabilities into the private sector.
    - Section 504 of the ADA expands accessibility legislation to include program areas (not just buildings and facilities).
    - ADA brings its own set of accessibility guidelines, the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)
    1991 It is determined that the requirements of the ADA will be incumbent upon leasees and concessionaires.
    1993 Department of Defense is directed to, "not only meet the requirements of UFAS…but also to meet the requirements of ADAAG in facilities subject to UFAS whenever the ADAAG provide equal or greater accessibility than the requirements of UFAS."
    1993 The Director of Civil Works issues a memorandum providing accessibility guidance and establishing policy saying, "it is our policy to incorporate accessibility considerations in all planning, design, new construction or renovation activity."
    1993 The Recreation Access Advisory Committee is convened to provide advice and information to the Access Board on accessible design in developed outdoor recreation environments.
    1994 The Recreation Access Advisory Committee recommended guidelines are published in the Federal Register as an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
    1996 Corps of Engineers signs an MOU with the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
    1997 Corps of Engineers signs an MOU with Wilderness Inquiry.
    1997 Commander publishes memo stating, "It is the policy of the Corps to provide universally accessible recreation opportunities for all people. The Corps will ensure that all new and existing facilities and programs meet or exceed current guidelines."
    1997 The Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee is established to negotiate a consensus agreement on major issues of disagreement regarding accessibility for beaches, campsites, picnic sites, and trails.
    1999 The Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee delivers guidelines to the Access Board for publication in the Federal Register as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
    2001 Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act establishes accessibility requirements for Federal electronic and information technology. This law requires that technology including computer hardware and software, Web sites, phone systems, fax machines, copiers, and similar technologies be accessible according to standards developed by the Access Board, which are now part of the Federal government's procurement regulations.
    2004 On July 23, 2004, the U.S. Access Board issued new accessibility guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act. The new guidelines are a culmination of more than 10 years of work by the Access Board to harmonize the current Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) with other model building codes.
    2008 DOD Adopts New Access Board Standards October 31, 2008
    2013 Final guidelines for federal outdoor recreational areas were published; the guidelines became mandatory on November 25, 2013

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