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Website Accessibility

 

Accessibility Requirements Guidelines Tools and Guidance Training Videos

 

Introduction

Transit agencies interact with and serve the public on a daily basis. A significant portion of the public has disabilities, and technology has allowed for new ways of communicating with those individuals.

Major studies find that about 20% of people using the Internet have some form of disability. There are 4 major categories of disabilities: Visual, Hearing, Motor Skills, and Cognitive. The Internet is a useful tool for persons with disabilities, but only if the websites and web content are accessible.

It is important that individuals with disabilities can access the information posted on your transit website, including schedules, routes, fares, service updates, agency policies, passenger information, and how to file a complaint.

Some of the reasons why you should work towards making your transit agency website accessible include:

  1. To improve the lives of persons with disabilities by enabling them to access the information and resources on your website, and thus better utilize your transit services,
  2. To reach a wider audience, leading to more awareness of your system within your community and thus increased ridership,
  3. And to comply with regulations that apply to transit agencies receiving federal funding, including the American’s with Disabilities Act (or ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and any relevant state or local laws.

 

Web Accessibility Requirements

In terms of website accessibility requirements, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5311 sub-recipients are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. FTA addresses website accessibility in Section 2.8 of the ADA Circular, available at https://www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.dot.gov/files/docs/Final_FTA_ADA_Circular_C_4710.1.pdf.

The applicable section (Section 2.8) of the ADA states the following, though please see the Circular for a full discussion on this requirement:

“The entity shall make available to individuals with disabilities adequate information concerning transportation services. This obligation includes making adequate communications capacity available, through accessible formats and technology, to enable users to obtain information and schedule service (§ 37.167(f)).” 

Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, here is a breakdown of Section 504 regulations: 

"Section 504 requires agencies to provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in their programs and benefit from their services, including the provision of information to employees and members of the public.  Agencies must provide appropriate auxiliary aids where necessary to ensure an equal opportunity.  Types of auxiliary aids may include brailled or large print versions of materials, electronic diskettes, audiotapes, qualified interpreters or readers, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDDs), captioning of video, and other methods of making information available and accessible to persons with disabilities.  In considering what type of auxiliary aid to provide, agencies must give primary consideration to the request of the individual with a disability and shall honor that request, unless it can demonstrate that another effective means of communication exists."

There are no U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-issued enforceable standards for websites and other information technology. As a best practice, it is recommended that transit agencies follow the basic elements of WCAG guidelines for web content and make it clear that they will provide alternative formats upon request.

For more information about the requirements, see the links and resources below.

 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

For those interested in the WCAG Guidelines and Section 508 standards for website accessibility, see the links below.

 

Tools and Guidance for Creating Accessible Websites and Documents

Here are some of the tools and guidance that can be used for checking the website accessibility of your website, fixing any accessibility errors, and making accessible documents. 

If you would like to hear what it is like for persons with disabilities to access websites, we’ve included demonstration videos of screen readers reading inaccessible and accessible websites:

 

Website Accessibility for Transit Agencies Video Series

In this video series we are going to help you look at designing your website with accessibility in mind. We will focus on websites that use National RTAP’s Website Builder tool and hosting service, but the information can apply to other website platforms.

 
Color Contrast
  • Checking your website for accessible color contrast
  • Fixing color contrast failures
  • Applying accessible colors to content headings
 
PDF Documents
  • Check the accessibility of Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) documents
  • Fix PDF accessibility failures using the Adobe Acrobat PDF Editor
  • Create accessible titles, figure alt tags, reading order and color contrast in PDF documents
 
Links, Images and Alt Text
  • Add alt text to images, buttons and links
  • Create accessible text and URL links