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U.S. Access Board Issues Technical Bulletin on Signs in Celebration of 54th Anniversary of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA)

August 12, 2022
Source: U.S. Access Board

The U.S. Access Board has published a technical bulletin on accessible signage that covers the requirements for signs in Chapter 7: Communication Elements and Features of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards. The bulletin includes both the ADA Technical Guide to Signs and the ABA Technical Guide to Signs, both of which address signs for designations of rooms and spaces, international symbols of accessibility, raised characters, finish and contrast, Grade 2 braille, visual character spacing and height, locations of signs at facilities, and other spaces and elements. The bulletin also answers common questions on tactile signs, visual signs, and pictograms. Vivid and detailed graphics of compliant signage are included to illustrate how various requirements can be met. 

This technical bulletin is the latest installment to the Board’s online guide to the ADA and ABA Standards, which currently covers the first six chapters. The Board also provided a webinar covering accessible signage on February 3, 2022, along with the Accessible Signage webinar presentation materials that are available in the archive.

The Guide to the ADA Standards addresses design requirements for places of public accommodation, commercial facilities, and state and local government facilities subject to the ADA. The Guide to the ABA Standards covers standards that apply to facilities that are designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds. The Board’s online guide also features a series of animations on different topics to help design professionals understand the reason and method of application of the requirements in the standards. In addition, the Board offers technical assistance documents that review design recommendations. Access Board accessibility specialists are available to provide technical assistance five days a week and accessibility training upon request. 

This publication on accessible signage coincides with the 54th anniversary of the ABA. Passed in 1968, the ABA stands as the first measure by Congress to ensure access to the built environment for people with disabilities. The law requires that buildings or facilities that were designed, built, or altered with federal dollars or leased by federal agencies after August 12, 1968 be accessible. Facilities that predate the law generally are not covered, but alterations or leases undertaken after the law took effect can trigger coverage. 

The ABA covers a wide range of facilities, including U.S. post offices, Veterans Affairs medical facilities, national parks, Social Security Administration offices, federal office buildings, U.S. courthouses, and federal prisons. It also applies to non-government facilities that have received federal funding, such as certain schools, public housing, and mass transit systems. 

The Board enforces the ABA through the investigation of complaints. Individuals may file an ABA complaint using the Access Board’s Online ABA Complaint Form or by email, fax, or mail. Receipt of complaints filed by fax or mail will be delayed due to circumstances related to COVID-19. 

Online ABA Complaint Form

Email to

Fax to (202) 272-0081; or 

Mail to:
Compliance and Enforcement Section 
Office of the General Counsel 
U.S. Access Board 
1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000 
Washington, DC  20004-1111

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