Under a newly adopted plan, the Board will undertake outreach activities on yearly basis that highlight accessibility within a particular sphere or focus area. Outreach efforts will aim to increase awareness of a particular aspect of accessibility through partnerships with interested agencies and the development and distribution of information and guidance materials. As part of this work, the Board may also hold seminars or conferences on the subject. The goal of this program is to increase the visibility of different facets of accessibility in a manner that supplements the Board’s technical assistance and training programs, builds partnerships with other entities, improves compliance with access requirements, and showcases best practices for accessible design.
The board will select a new focus issue each year according to criteria it adopted as part of the plan. Priority will be given to subject areas where accessibility has been problematic or not well understood and where supplementary guidance is needed. The Board intends to choose topics that relate directly to any of its guidelines and standards, are manageable in scope, and offer promising partnership opportunities with other agencies and organizations.
This year the Board has chosen access to courthouses as its first focus issue. Elevated spaces within courtrooms, such as judges’ benches and witness stands, and space limitations within the well of the court have posed challenges to designers as to how access can best be achieved. There has also been confusion over how to apply the guidelines for courthouses the Board previously developed under the ADA since they have not yet been incorporated into enforceable standards, including those governing the design of Federal and state courthouses. In addition, there are known and potential design solutions for achieving access to courtroom spaces that bear further exploration. The Board plans to collaborate with agencies that oversee the construction of courthouses, such as the General Services Administration, on addressing these and other issues. The information to be developed will be relevant to Federal, state and county courthouses. In coming months, the Board will be planning activities that will highlight access to courthouses and develop information on best practices for courtroom access. A meeting on the subject is tentatively planned for this fall in Chicago.
For further information on this Board effort, contact Elizabeth Stewart at (202) 272-0042 (voice), (202) 272-0082 (TTY), or email@example.com (e-mail).