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ADA Requirements

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Third Party Procurement

Frequently Asked Questions

Q = Question; A = Answer

Q. I am diabetic and I use insulin. Is there any law saying that I am restricted from driving in the United States?

A. The issuance of drivers' licenses is controlled by the individual states. The American Diabetes Association has provided a list of the requirements each state places on those drivers who have diabetes. Any coordinating Federal requirements, including those applicable to drivers of commercial interstate vehicles, are issued by NHTSA, the DOT mode responsible for commercial drivers licenses—see (Revised May 2010)

Q. Is it the policy of the FTA to respond to all complaints of discrimination?

A. FTA's Office of Civil Rights will conduct an investigation and respond whenever a complaint or any other information indicates a possible failure to comply with civil rights requirements. If FTA receives a complaint that is not within its jurisdiction, FTA will refer it to another Federal agency that may have jurisdiction. As described in DOT Order 1000.18 informal resolution will be encouraged, whenever possible. (Revised May 2010)

Q. What are the U.S. DOT requirements for ADA paratransit eligibility? Would an epileptic qualify?

A. Under section 37.123(e) of the DOT's ADA regulations, ADA paratransit eligibility is restricted to three categories of persons whose disability prevents them from using the public transit system. Although epilepsy may prevent an individual from operating a motor vehicle, it generally does not prevent the individual from using the regular fixed-route bus. If the disability prevents the individual from riding the bus, the individual might be eligible for ADA paratransit. But that determination is made at the local level by the local public transit system based on the information provided to them. (Posted: December 2009)

Q. I am getting ready to put out a bid to buy some buses. Where do I go to get the ADA Access FTA Contract Clause required by 4220.1F, Appendix D? Also, what is the best location to go to in order to get the most up to date versions of the contract clauses?

A. There is no standard ADA Access clause. FTA Procurement Circular 4220.1F requires grantees to evaluate every procurement vis-à-vis the Master Agreement's statutory and regulatory requirements, and incorporate proper contract clause language in their third party contracts. Indeed, FTA provides Appendix A.1 – "Contract Clause Guidance and Instructions" of the Best Practices Procurement Manual to grantees for this reason, among others. The FTA Circular states the following:

16. STATUTORY AND REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS. A current but not all inclusive and comprehensive lists of statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to grantee procurements (such as Davis-Bacon Act, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Clean Air, and Buy America) is contained in the FTA Master Agreement. Grantees are responsible for evaluating these requirements for relevance and applicability to each procurement. For example, procurements involving the purchase of iron, steel and manufactured goods will be subject to the "Buy America" requirements in 49 C.F.R. Part 661. Further guidance concerning these requirements and suggested wording for contract clauses may be found in FTA's Best Practices Procurement Manual. For specific guidance concerning the crosscutting requirements of other Federal agencies, grantees are advised to contact those agencies.

It is not acceptable to simply reference the Master Agreement and leave contractors the responsibility to decide which statutes and regulations apply to that particular contract (note that many may not apply). Grantees cannot avoid the responsibility for determining which requirements apply (e.g., ADA) and so stating in their solicitations and contracts with suitable contract language, as well as representations and certifications. We would also note that FTA evaluates grantee contract clauses as part of their Procurement System Reviews (PSRs), and a failure to include the specific contract clauses would be cited as a deficiency that would be unacceptable to FTA. Finally, we should note that as a public transit agency acquiring vehicles, you are subject to the vehicle acquisition requirements at 49 CFR Part 37, subpart D. In order to be considered ADA-Accessible, vehicles must meet the requirements in 49 CFR Part 38, specifically, subpart B. (Posted: December 2009)

Q. The agency that we are getting our 5316 funding from is telling me that we can't purchase standard Ford vans from the dealer. They say that the vehicle has to have some sort of ADA accommodations made to qualify for 5316 funding. I have vehicles with lowered floors, raised tops, wheelchair lifts, but what I need are standard vans to transport individuals with disabilities that do not have mobility issues. Can you please help clear up the confusion?

A. Vehicle acquisitions are governed by the DOT's ADA regulations at 49 CFR Part 37, subpart D. The acquisition of vehicles for demand responsive services (such as that typically provided by vans) is addressed in section 37.77. That section requires newly acquired vans to meet the ADA accessibility specifications in 49 CFR Part 38, subpart B, unless the entity acquiring the vehicles is already able to meet the requirements of equivalent service as spelled out in section 37.105 of 49 CFR Part 37 (PDF). (Posted January, 2010)

Q. I would like to find out what standards are being used in the US regarding the supply and installations of Tactile Indicators for your stations and platforms, these are to meet the needs of the visually impaired and being used worldwide, and we are a complying manufacturer and installer to AUS 1428.4:2002.

A. The attached website provides guidance on US Federal standards: The current dimensional requirements are found in section 4.29 of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, but you should also see section R304 of the proposed Public Rights of Way Guidelines, for the proposed new Federal standard. (Posted: May, 2010)

Q. What percentage of the fleet has to be ADA accessible if you receive money from a federal grant?

A. There are no fixed percentages - rather, the vehicles must be acquired in compliance with the vehicle acquisition regulations in Subpart E of Title 49, Part 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (Posted: May, 2010)

Q. Please provide us with the most recent illustrated wheelchair specification for paratransit companies, including ramps and lift specifications.

A. Please pay particular attention to Subpart B of these guidelines, which have been adopted by the USDOT as regulations: (Posted: June, 2010).

Q. Our paratransit systems runs until 7:20 p.m. or so on the weekdays and Saturdays. If I schedule to go to a 5:30 p.m. community meeting, do I have to also schedule an exact return time to pay the ADA fee or can I ask for a "will call" on the return time, as long as I arrive home before 7:20 p.m., and still pay the ADA fee? Look forward to hearing from you. This question comes from the fact that most Community meetings in our area have a start time, but no end time. Therefore, the disabled populations can't usually stay for the whole meeting as other non-disabled attendees do. This, I find discriminatory. Also, people on dialysis who use ADA are forced to give a return time that isn't really accurate. Some vans go to pick dialysis people up and they aren't ready. Dialysis has to complete its process or a person can die. Thus, a second van and driver is sent to pick the person up, when they call. If a person uses ADA payment and a "will call" is allowed before 7:20 p.m. This would save on time, a driver and a lift-equipped van.

A. You may file a complaint or send your questions to (Posted: June, 2011)

Q. A citizen complained that due to the artwork covering the windows she cannot see where her stop is. She has cataracts. Are there any ADA regulations that apply in this situation as to riders needing to see out of the windows, which are obstructed due to "artwork"?

A. There is nothing in FTA regulations that prohibits bus wraps. If a person cannot see well enough to orient themselves on the bus or to determine where their stop is, that situation is addressed under section 37.167 of the USDOT's regulation implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act. Paragraph 37.167(b) requires:

  • (b) On fixed route systems, the entity shall announce stops as follows:

    • (1) The entity shall announce at least at transfer points with other fixed routes, other major intersections and destination points, and intervals along a route sufficient to permit individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities to be oriented to their location.
    • (2) The entity shall announce any stop on request of an individual with a disability.

(Posted: June 2011)

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Commitment to Accessibility: DOT is committed to ensuring that information is available in appropriate alternative formats to meet the requirements of persons who have a disability. If you require an alternative version of files provided on this page, please contact