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New Developments

This section of the toolkit is dedicated to new topics and developments that relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It will be updated as new materials and information are available.


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Circular

On October 5, 2015, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released the finalADA Circular, which provides guidance to recipients and subrecipients of FTA financial assistance to carry out provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the U.S. DOT's implementing regulations at 49 CFR Parts 27, 37, 38, and 39. The final Circular became effective on November 4, 2015.

The Circular provides topically arranged explanations of the existing ADA requirements and information on implementing the requirements. It does not exhaustively cover all DOT ADA requirements, and does not establish new requirements. The Circular gives FTA recipients and subrecipients information regarding their ADA obligations, as well as additional optional good practices and suggestions for transit agencies.

To download the Circular or access training resources regarding the Circular, visit the FTA's ADA Circular page.


Final Rule: Reasonable Modification of Policies and Practices

This Final Rule, effective July 13, 2015, clarifies that public transportation providers are required to make reasonable modifications to their polices, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. It applies to public entities providing fixed route, demand-response (dial-a-ride), and complementary paratransit services. It establishes that an individual's disability cannot preclude a public transportation entity from providing full access to its service, except when it would fundamentally alter the service.

The Final Rule also provides 27 examples of what a reasonable modification is and is not, and clarifies the definition of origin-to-destination service. The issue of origin-to-destination policy has long had varied interpretations and was unevenly applied throughout the nation. The new rule requires paratransit providers that primarily operate curb-to-curb service to make reasonable modifications for those passengers who need assistance beyond the curb so that they can use the service.


2011 ADA Rule Change

In 2011, the FTA issued a final rule that amended aspects of the ADA regulations. This includes a revision that deletes the operational role of the common wheelchair design standard and also redefines the term wheelchair. It also states that the Department of Transportation's definition of a service animal has not changed and now differs from the Department of Justice's new definition of a service animal.

To read the text of the final rule, and view a summary of changes, please see the ADA section of the FTA website.