Recently in Leadership Category
Today, Vice President Biden met with the leaders of 20 disabilities and veterans advocacy groups at the White House to discuss the Disabilities Treaty. In the coming weeks, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will begin considering the Treaty, and the Vice President's meeting served as an opportunity to explain the Administration's strong support for ratification of this important Treaty and to discuss next steps in the ratification process. The Vice President was joined by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Judith Heumann, the State Department's Special Advisor for International Disability Rights.
The group met in the Vice President's Ceremonial Office, where Vice President Biden discussed his longtime personal commitment to ensuring that Americans with disabilities enjoy the same opportunities as their fellow citizens to live, work, and travel overseas. He made the case that ratifying the Disabilities Treaty is important because many countries around the world don't have the same high standards as the United States. In many countries, wheelchair ramps, sign language interpreters, service animals, and other accommodations are the exception, not the rule. That makes it more difficult, or even impossible, for people with disabilities - including our veterans and wounded warriors - to work, study, and travel abroad.
By ratifying the Disabilities Treaty and encouraging other countries to change that, the United States can carry forward its strong legacy of leadership on these issues, breaking down barriers, and making a real difference for those who have too often faced discrimination, inequality, abuse, or neglect.
In addition to discussing the Administration's strong support for ratification of the Disabilities Treaty, the Vice President expressed his appreciation for the groups' work as champions for the rights of people with disabilities. The Administration is committed to doing everything we can to ensure that all Americans - including those with disabilities - have the chance to live up to their fullest potential at home and abroad.
To learn more about the Disabilities Treaty, visit http://www.state.gov/disabilitiestreaty.
On September 26th the U.S. Access Board issued new accessibility guidelines for outdoor areas developed by the federal government. The guidelines provide detailed specifications for accessible trails, picnic and camping areas, viewing areas, beach access routes and other components of outdoor developed areas when newly built or altered. They also provide exceptions for situations where terrain and other factors make compliance impracticable.
"The Board is eager to release these guidelines, which were long in the making, to explain how access to the great outdoors can be achieved," states Access Board Chair Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA. "The greatest challenge in developing these guidelines was balancing what's needed for accessibility against what's possible in natural environments with limited development."
Requirements for trails, outdoor recreation access routes, and beach access routes address surface characteristics, width, and running and cross slopes. Exceptions are included for these and other provisions under certain conditions stipulated in the guidelines. Departures are allowed where compliance is not practicable because of terrain or prevailing construction practices. Exceptions are also recognized where compliance would conflict with mandates such as the Endangered Species Act and other laws or where it would fundamentally alter a site's function or purpose.
The guidelines originate from recommendations prepared by an advisory panel chartered by the Board, the Outdoor Developed Areas Regulatory Negotiation Committee. They were made available for public comment twice and finalized according to the feedback received. The rule applies only to national parks and other federal sites, but the Board plans to follow-up with rulemaking to address non-federal sites under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at a later date.
"The Board is moving ahead to issue the guidelines first for federal sites out of expediency," explains Braitmayer. "In developing its guidelines, the Board must assess and aggregate their impacts. The Board was able to complete the necessary assessment on sites in the federal sector, but will require more time to analyze the impacts on the broader range of sites controlled by state and local governments covered by the ADA."
The rule applies to federal agencies that develop outdoor areas for recreational purposes, including the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. The new requirements will become mandatory on November 25, 2013 as part of the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards, which apply to facilities that are built, altered, or leased with federal funds.
The Board will conduct a public webinar on the new rule on October 17 from 2:30 to 4:00 (ET). To register for this free webinar, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.
Livable Housing Australia (LHA) was formed in 2011 as a partnership between community and consumer groups as well as government and industry. The partnership arose from the Kirribili Dialogue on Universal Design for housing which was undertaken to assist with the formulation of a set of guidelines for the creation of more livable homes.
The Livable Housing Design Guidelines were consequently developed and promoted. These guidelines aim to produce homes which are easier and safer to use for all occupants including people with disabilities, older people, people with temporary disabilities and families with children. They state that a livable home must:
- Be easy to enter and exit
- Be easy to move around in
- Be capable of easy and cost effective adaption
- Three performance levels are identified under the guidelines: Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. Silver is the least onerous and focuses on key spatial elements allowing for future adaptability of the home at far lower cost to the occupant. Gold allows larger circulation to key areas within the home and extends to other areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. Platinum circulation requirements include further features such living room and flooring guidelines.
Earlier this year, LHA established a system of accreditation of homes under its published guidelines. LHA is responsible for the accreditation of dwellings under this system and grades buildings according to the performance level achieved. The LHA quality mark can then be used by the developer to assist with the marketing of their project.
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|Karen L. Braitmayer Access Board Chair|
|David M. Capozzi Access Board Executive Director|
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which requires access to programs and activities that are funded by federal agencies and to federal employment. The law also created the U.S. Access Board to ensure access to the built environment.
Specifically, the Board was established to enforce a law passed a few years earlier, the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968. One of the first laws on the books to address accessibility, the ABA aimed to make the federal government a model of accessibility by requiring access to all facilities designed, built, altered, or leased with federal funds.
In passing the Rehabilitation Act, Congress determined that the ABA needed better enforcement. As originally written, the ABA effectively left compliance up to each agency with little oversight. Further, comprehensive standards for accessibility were not available at that time. It was clear that a central agency was needed to both establish and enforce accessibility requirements for facilities covered by the law.
According to Access Board Chair Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, "In creating the Access Board, Congress recognized that you can't guarantee accessibility until you clearly spell out how it is to be achieved and have a process in place to make sure that those requirements are met." In fact, the lessons learned from the ABA and the Rehabilitation Act would not be lost on later laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"With accessibility, it's fair to say that the Federal government essentially started in its own backyard," states David M. Capozzi, the Access Board's Executive Director. "The Rehabilitation Act and the Architectural Barriers Act helped lay the groundwork for the landmark ADA and coverage of accessibility beyond the federal realm."
To this day, the Board continues to do what it was created to do. It develops and keeps up-to-date the accessibility requirements of the ABA and enforces compliance with them through the investigation of complaints. If a member of the public is concerned about access to a facility that may have received federal funding, it can file a complaint with the Board. The Board then opens an investigation to determine whether the facility is covered by the ABA and, if so, whether it meets the applicable standards. If a covered facility is not in compliance, the Board will pursue a corrective action plan and monitor the case until all necessary work is completed. The Board typically opens about 50 to 100 cases each year, and has ensured access to all types of facilities covered by the ABA, including post offices, national parks, and social security offices, among others. Since the ABA also applies to non-Federal buildings that are federally funded, the Board's casework has encompassed many other types of facilities as well, such as schools, transit stations, local courthouses and jails, and public housing.
The Board's mission has grown tremendously over the years under later laws. Its work developing and maintaining accessibility requirements is no longer limited to buildings covered by the ABA. Now, the Board is responsible for design requirements for facilities and transportation systems covered by the ADA, electronic and information technology in the federal sector under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, telecommunications equipment subject to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and, most recently, medical diagnostic equipment under Section 510 of the Rehabilitation Act. Through this work, the Board has become a leading resource on accessible design.
"The Board has eagerly accepted the responsibility to address access in new and unchartered areas," says Capozzi. "The Board maintains a very active and varied rulemaking agenda. In fact, just today, the Board is releasing new guidelines that address access to federal outdoor recreation sites." The Board is also developing new guidelines or standards for public rights-of-ways, shared use paths, passenger vessels, emergency housing, classroom acoustics, and medical diagnostic equipment. Having previously developed and updated its guidelines for facilities under the ABA and ADA, the Board is currently refreshing its ADA guidelines for transportation vehicles and its standards and guidelines for information and communication technologies covered by section 508 and the Telecommunications Act. In addition to rulemaking, the Board provides technical assistance and training to the public on its guidelines and standards on a regular basis and funds research on accessible design.
"Often people ask which department the Board is part of, but in fact it is an independent federal agency with authority to report directly to the President and Congress," says Braitmayer. Its governing Board includes 13 members from the public appointed by the President to four-year terms. Over the years, almost 100 people have served on the Board as public members. Since the Board also coordinates policy government-wide relating to accessible design, 12 federal departments are represented on the Board as well.
US Access Board
Under the Specific Programme: Preparatory Action "Tourism and accessibility for all", the European Commission has issued an Open Call for projects that will foster accessibility in local tourism development agendas, strategies and practices.
Call Deadline: 22/10/2013
Call Number: 102/G/ENT/PPA/13/511
The specific objectives of this call are:
- To foster adaptation of tourism products and services to the needs of people with special access needs
- To promote equal opportunity and social inclusion of people with special access needs
- To improve skills and training with relation to accessibility in the tourism supply chain
- To help mainstreaming accessibility in all segments of the tourism supply chain, while at the same time creating a seamless chain of accessibility in tourism
- To promote, market and disseminate best practices in accessible tourism
- To provide adequate support and guidance to SMEs
- To enhance the quality and diversify the offer of accessible tourism experiences in Europe
For more detail:
The UNWTO recommendations on "Accessible Tourism for All" (2013) have been approved and endorsed by the General Assembly. Updated from the 2005 version, the recommendations outline a form of tourism that involves a collaborative process among stakeholders to enable people with access requirements to function independently through universally designed tourism products, services and environments. These recommendations were developed within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2007.
Accessible Tourism for All defines the appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications and facilities open to the public or for public use.
"Accessibility is a central element of any responsible and sustainable tourism policy. It is both a human rights imperative and an exceptional business opportunity," said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. "Above all, we must come to appreciate that accessible tourism does not only benefit persons with disabilities or special needs, it benefits us all," he added.
Along this line, a manual on "Accessible Tourism for All" is set to be published in late 2013, designed to guide tourism stakeholders to improve the accessibility for tourism destinations, facilities and services worldwide.
The development of the Manual is a joint effort between UNWTO, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) and two Spanish institutions, the ACS Foundation and the ONCE Foundation. According to the World Health Organization (2011), there are approximately 1 billion persons with disabilities in the world, or 15% of the world population having a physical, mental or sensory disability. UNWTO´s "Declaration on the Facilitation of Tourist Travel (2009) underlines travel and tourism facilitation for persons with disabilities as an essential element of any policy for the development of responsible tourism.
Accessible Tourism for All <http://crm.unwto.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=15430&qid=1574531>
UNWTO General Assembly
Contacts: UNWTO Senior Media Officer: Marcelo Risi
<mailto:mrisi@UNWTO.org> Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 <tel:%28%2B34%29%2091%20567%2081%2060>
UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme <mailto:comm@UNWTO.org>
Tel: +34 91-567-8100 <tel:%2B34%2091-567-8100> Fax: +34 91-567-8218 <tel:%2B34%2091-567-8218>
From the blog by Bill Peace, "Bad Cripple":
"The comment left today prompted me to write. These two diatribes accusing me of being: "self righteous", full of "bull shit", and a "piece of shit author". I should also be "ashamed" of myself as I am a "self loathing cry baby".While the language leaves much to be desired I do not think the views expressed are far from the norm. Disability is grossly misunderstood. Much of what has been taught in secondary schools is badly antiquated. The fact is the vast majority of the population firmly believes disability is a medical problem. A few may be aware that people with a disability have been discriminated against but that problem was solved a long time ago with a law that insures all new buildings are accessible. At no point does civil rights enter the equation. People with a disability it is thought are "suffering"...My anger and frustration does not stem from paralysis but rather a society that is knowingly reluctant to make the most basic so called reasonable accommodations. This is the leap in logic the majority of Americans have failed to make: disability is not about a given physical deficit. disability is about social, economic, and political exclusion."
For the full story:
Are you a traveller with particular access requirements? Do you have a disability, or do you regularly travel with young children?
The aim of this survey is to research the travel patterns and behaviour of people with specific access requirements. The topics covered in the questionnaire are designed to gain an understanding of your personal situation, your travel experiences and your thoughts about travelling in future, so that we can build up a picture of the demand for accessible tourism.
The survey results will be used for a report identifying options for improving the range of accessible tourism services, which will be widely disseminated among and evaluated by stakeholders in the sector, and your responses will ultimately help inform future policy.
To participate, register atwww.accessibletourismsurvey.com and enter your email address to receive a link to the questionnaire. The survey will be open until 22 August 2013.
We would also be very grateful if you could circulate this email to anyone who may be interested in participating.
The Access Board has released for public comment proposed guidelines for passenger vessels. Developed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the guidelines provide design criteria for large vessels when newly constructed or altered to ensure that they are accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines address various features of vessel accessibility and include provisions for onboard routes, vertical access between decks, doorways and coamings, toilet rooms, guest rooms, alarm systems, and other spaces and elements used by passengers.
"The Board is pleased to unveil proposed guidelines that will ensure access to vessels for passengers with disabilities," states Access Board Chair Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA. "We know from experience that barriers to accessibility are often due to a lack of clear and detailed design guidance, and this rule will fill a long-standing gap in making passenger vessels accessible to all."
As proposed, the guidelines would apply to cruise ships and other vessels that carry over 150 passengers or at least 50 overnight passengers. They also cover ferries designed to carry 100 or more passengers and tenders allowed to carry 60 or more passengers. The Board is not proposing requirements for smaller vessels due to design challenges, space constraints, and other factors. The guidelines would apply to newly built or altered vessels.
In laying the groundwork for this effort, the Board conducted research on the feasibility and impacts of integrating accessibility into the design of vessels. This information includes case studies on vessels of various types and sizes, examination of design solutions to identified design and engineering constraints, and cost and impact analyses. The Board previously released advance drafts of the guidelines for comment which were based on recommendations from two advisory panels organized by the Board, the Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee and the Passenger Vessels Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee.
The Board is developing these guidelines under the ADA, which requires access to transportation and other services and to places of public accommodation. Under the law, the Board is responsible for developing minimum guidelines covering access to transportation systems and to the built environment. The vessel guidelines, once finalized, will join the Board's ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Vehicles, which are currently being updated, and its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities. The new guidelines will be used by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice in setting mandatory standards.
The proposed guidelines and related information can be accessed, and comments submitted, through the federal government's rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. Instructions for submitting comments are included in the proposal. The deadline for comments is September 23, 2013. The Board will hold a public hearing on the guidelines in Washington, D.C. on July 10.
Public Hearing on the Proposed Guidelines for Passenger Vessels
July 10, 9:30 - Noon
Access Board Conference Room
1331 F Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20004
Note: For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-freeenvironment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.
Call-in option (listening only):
Dial: (888) 603-7094 (toll-free)
To submit comments by phone, contact Al Baes in advance at email@example.com, (202) 202) 272-0011 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY)
The Board has organized an advisory committee as part of its review and update of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles. The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee will develop consensus recommendations for the Board's use in updating sections of the guidelines that cover vehicles of fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail. These guidelines, which were originally published in 1991, serve as the basis for standards that apply to new or remanufactured vehicles required to be accessible under the ADA. The committee's work will not extend to portions of the guidelines that address buses and vans, which the Board is already in the process of updating.
Members of the Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee include:
- Alstom Transportation
- American Council of the Blind
- Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
- Bombardier Transportation
- California Department of Transportation, Division of Rail
- Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access
- Community Transportation Association of America
- Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
- Federal Railroad Administration (ex officio member)
- Hearing Access Program
- International Centre for Accessible Transportation
- Maryland Transit Administration
- Metra & Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation
- National Association of the Deaf
- National Association of Railroad Passengers
- National Council on Independent Living
- National Disability Rights Network
- National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
- Parsons Brinckerhoff
- RailPlan International
- Ricon Corporation
- South West Transit Association
- Talgo, Inc.
- United Spinal Association
The committee is structured to represent a balanced cross section of stakeholders and interested parties, including rail vehicle manufacturers, transit providers, disability groups, and others, as indicated in a published notice. Members were selected based on responses to a request for nominations the Board issued in February. The Board regrets not being able to accommodate all requests for committee membership. Committee membership is voluntary, and members are not reimbursed for their services.
The committee's work will be conducted in accordance with regulations governing Federal advisory committees. All committee meetings will be open to the public and will provide opportunities for any interested parties to provide information or offer comment. In addition, non-members may have the opportunity to participate in the work of any subcommittees formed by the committee. Details on the committee's first meeting will be released at a later date.
For further information, visit the vehicles homepage or contact Paul Beatty at firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 272-0012 (voice), or (202) 272-0072 (TTY). Those interested in this rulemaking and the work of the committee can sign up to receive further updates.
La capital malagueña albergará esta próxima semana la constitución de la Red de Ciudades por la Accesibilidad. La creación de esta Red se enmarca dentro del orden del día de la comisión de accesibilidad que la Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias (FEMP) va a celebrar durante el III Foro Internacional de Diseño Universal. Este próximo miércoles, una vez que finalice la comisión, se celebrará el acto de constitución.
El Ayuntamiento de Málaga ha impulsado esta iniciativa que se abordó durante el desarrollo del segundo foro. Concretamente, el área de Accesibilidad se encargará de coordinar y dinamizar esta red.
Numerosos consistorios han mostrado su interés en formar parte de la misma. Entre ellos, Ávila, Santander, Cáceres, Linares, Vitoria, Torrent (Valencia), Carranque (Toledo), Valencia, Burgos, Valladolid, Sevilla, Alcaracejos (Córdoba), Basauri (Vizcaya), Pamplona, Marbella, Granada, Almería y Melilla.
Con la creación de la Red de Ciudades por la Accesibilidad se quiere propiciar lugares accesibles para todos. Para llevar a cabo este proyecto se necesita la iniciativa municipal y el aporte de las personas con discapacidad y de las entidades que las representan para que ofrezcan el análisis de las necesidades, las prioridades y las formas de concreción de las mismas, según han informado desde el Consistorio en un comunicado.
"Los municipios tienen a su alcance las herramientas necesarias para diseñar ciudades que puedan ser habitadas por todas las personas. Ciudades que ofrezcan servicios dirigidos a todos los ciudadanos, con criterios de diseño universal, teniendo la accesibilidad como objetivo transversal de sus actuaciones", han precisado desde el Ayuntamiento de Málaga.
IMPULSAR ACTUACIONES MUNICIPALES
Como se señala en el documento que se acordó en el anterior foro, es necesaria la creación de esta Red de Ciudades por la Accesibilidad, que refuerce las prácticas municipales y que sea un foro de intercambio de experiencias y buenas prácticas en el diseño de ciudad. Los municipios que quieran adherirse a esta Red deberán tener los siguientes requisitos: Plan Municipal de Accesibilidad; Ordenanzas de Accesibilidad; Consolidación del tejido asociativo de personas con discapacidad; Aplicación de presupuestos específicos para llevar a cabo eliminación de barreras físicas y de la comunicación; Presentar de forma manifiesta la voluntad política de llevar a cabo actuaciones transversales en lo referente a la accesibilidad.
"Es el inicio de un ambicioso proyecto, como se subraya en dicho documento, que tiene como objetivo impulsar las actuaciones municipales basadas en criterios de diseño universal, creando el compromiso de consolidación de esta Red de Ciudades por la Accesibilidad, mediante los órganos o mecanismos que se determinen por los componentes de la misma", han señalado desde el Ayuntamiento.
'La Ciudad Accesible' es una estrategia para mejorar la habitabilidad urbana y social a través del diseño universal de los espacios y servicios públicos de las urbes, las cuales se encuentran en un proceso de cambio y transformación, por lo que se plantea un cambio de actitud y una alternativa propia e imaginativa a los retos a los que se enfrentan.
III FORO INTERNACIONAL DE DISEÑO UNIVERSAL
La ciudad de Málaga acoge los próximos días 5 y 6 de junio la celebración el Foro Internacional de Diseño Universal y Movilidad, que alcanza su tercera edición como el evento de referencia en la promoción del diseño para todos..
Este encuentro, que se desarrollará en el Palacio de Ferias y Congresos, continúa la trayectoria iniciada en 2008 por el Ayuntamiento de Málaga con el objetivo de propiciar un espacio de análisis, encuentro, reflexión y también de muestra de las distintas prácticas, servicios y productos en el sector de la accesibilidad y la movilidad, dentro de la filosofía del diseño universal en la construcción de una ciudad para todos.
En total, ofrece una treintena de actividades, entre conferencias, mesas redondas, actos institucionales y exposiciones, entre otras. En esta edición, se hará hincapié en el concepto de movilidad en la ciudad, eje fundamental en el diseño de las urbes del siglo XXI. El Diseño Universal apuesta por trabajar en el planteamiento de proyectos de configuración de espacios públicos y privados donde todas las personas puedan desenvolverse en igualdad de condiciones, independientemente de sus circunstancias y capacidades, siempre en el marco de la seguridad y la eficiencia.
Se trata del foro de referencia en la promoción del diseño para todos y la vida Independiente. Asimismo se configura como un punto de encuentro para la Administración Pública y el sector privado implicado en la planificación y el desarrollo de las ciudades; una oportunidad de networking para los profesionales y una herramienta para la formación de ideas y puesta en común de propuestas para el desarrollo y gestión de la movilidad y la accesibilidad; así como espacio para la exposición de productos, servicios y soluciones para la configuración de entornos urbanos accesibles y seguros.
El programa de actos se distribuye en varias sesiones, en horario de 9.30 a 19.00 horas el día 5 de junio, y de 9.30 a 14.00 el día 6. Contempla, además del Foro de Accesibilidad, una serie de Jornadas paralelas sobre transportes de la mano de la Asociación de Empresas Gestoras de los Transportes Urbanos Colectivos (ATUC), acerca de aparcamientos por parte de Asociación Española de Aparcamientos y Garajes (Asesga) y sobre Buenas Prácticas en Accesibilidad a cargo de la Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias (FEMP).
También están previstos diversos talleres que abordarán aspectos prácticos de la accesibilidad tanto a los entornos físicos como a la comunicación, al tiempo que las adaptaciones y soluciones de bajo coste. Igualmente diversas entidades celebrarán sus actos institucionales en el marco del Foro, como la Comisión Regional del Transporte Público y la Comisión de Accesibilidad de la FEMP.
Leer más: La capital albergará la creación de la Red de Ciudades por la Accesibilidad http://www.teinteresa.es/andalucia/malaga/albergara-creacion-Red-Ciudades-Accesibilidad_0_930507855.html#WaQ12hgrpvN8nHeT
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