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e-CFR data is current as of September 22, 2020

Title 49Subtitle APart 37 → Subpart C


Title 49: Transportation
PART 37—TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES (ADA)


Subpart C—Transportation Facilities


Contents
§37.41   Construction of transportation facilities by public entities.
§37.42   Service in an Integrated Setting to Passengers at Intercity, Commuter, and High-Speed Rail Station Platforms Constructed or Altered After February 1, 2012.
§37.43   Alteration of transportation facilities by public entities.
§37.45   Construction and alteration of transportation facilities by private entities.
§37.47   Key stations in light and rapid rail systems.
§37.49   Designation of responsible person(s) for intercity and commuter rail stations.
§37.51   Key stations in commuter rail systems.
§37.53   Exception for New York and Philadelphia.
§37.55   Intercity rail station accessibility.
§37.57   Required cooperation.
§37.59   Differences in accessibility completion dates.
§37.61   Public transportation programs and activities in existing facilities.
§§37.63-37.69   [Reserved]

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§37.41   Construction of transportation facilities by public entities.

(a) A public entity shall construct any new facility to be used in providing designated public transportation services so that the facility is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs. This requirement also applies to the construction of a new station for use in intercity or commuter rail transportation. For purposes of this section, a facility or station is “new” if its construction begins (i.e., issuance of notice to proceed) after January 25, 1992, or, in the case of intercity or commuter rail stations, after October 7, 1991.

(b) (1) Full compliance with the requirements of this section is not required where an entity can demonstrate that it is structurally impracticable to meet the requirements. Full compliance will be considered structurally impracticable only in those rare circumstances when the unique characteristics of terrain prevent the incorporation of accessibility features.

(2) If full compliance with this section would be structurally impracticable, compliance with this section is required to the extent that it is not structurally impracticable. In that case, any portion of the facility that can be made accessible shall be made accessible to the extent that it is not structurally impracticable.

(3) If providing accessibility in conformance with this section to individuals with certain disabilities (e.g., those who use wheelchairs) would be structurally impracticable, accessibility shall nonetheless be ensured to persons with other types of disabilities (e.g., those who use crutches or who have sight, hearing, or mental impairments) in accordance with this section.

[56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991, as amended at 71 FR 63266, Oct. 30, 2006]

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§37.42   Service in an Integrated Setting to Passengers at Intercity, Commuter, and High-Speed Rail Station Platforms Constructed or Altered After February 1, 2012.

(a) In addition to meeting the requirements of sections 37.9 and 37.41, an operator of a commuter, intercity, or high-speed rail system must ensure, at stations that are approved for entry into final design or that begin construction or alteration of platforms on or after February 1, 2012, that the following performance standard is met: individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, must have access to all accessible cars available to passengers without disabilities in each train using the station.

(b) For new or altered stations serving commuter, intercity, or high-speed rail lines or systems, in which no track passing through the station and adjacent to platforms is shared with existing freight rail operations, the performance standard of paragraph (a) of this section must be met by providing level-entry boarding to all accessible cars in each train that serves the station.

(c) For new or altered stations serving commuter, intercity, or high-speed rail lines or systems, in which track passing through the station and adjacent to platforms is shared with existing freight rail operations, the railroad operator may comply with the performance standard of paragraph (a) by use of one or more of the following means:

(1) Level-entry boarding;

(2) Car-borne lifts;

(3) Bridge plates, ramps or other appropriate devices;

(4) Mini-high platforms, with multiple mini-high platforms or multiple train stops, as needed, to permit access to all accessible cars available at that station; or

(5) Station-based lifts;

(d) Before constructing or altering a platform at a station covered by paragraph (c) of this section, at which a railroad proposes to use a means other than level-entry boarding, the railroad must meet the following requirements:

(1) If the railroad operator not using level-entry boarding chooses a means of meeting the performance standard other than using car-borne lifts, it must perform a comparison of the costs (capital, operating, and life-cycle costs) of car-borne lifts and the means chosen by the railroad operator, as well as a comparison of the relative ability of each of these alternatives to provide service to individuals with disabilities in an integrated, safe, timely, and reliable manner. The railroad operator must submit a copy of this analysis to FTA or FRA at the time it submits the plan required by paragraph (d)(2) of this section.

(2) The railroad operator must submit a plan to FRA and/or FTA, describing its proposed means to meet the performance standard of paragraph (a) of this section at that station. The plan must demonstrate how boarding equipment or platforms would be deployed, maintained, and operated; and how personnel would be trained and deployed to ensure that service to individuals with disabilities is provided in an integrated, safe, timely, and reliable manner.

(3) Before proceeding with constructing or modifying a station platform covered by paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, the railroad must obtain approval from the FTA (for commuter rail systems) or the FRA (for intercity rail systems). The agencies will evaluate the proposed plan and may approve, disapprove, or modify it. The FTA and the FRA may make this determination jointly in any situation in which both a commuter rail system and an intercity or high-speed rail system use the tracks serving the platform. FTA and FRA will respond to the railroad's plan in a timely manner, in accordance with the timetable set forth in paragraphs (d)(3)(i) through (d)(3)(iii) of this paragraph.

(i) FTA/FRA will provide an initial written response within 30 days of receiving a railroad's written proposal. This response will say either that the submission is complete or that additional information is needed.

(ii) Once a complete package, including any requested additional information, is received, as acknowledged by FRA/FTA in writing, FRA/FTA will provide a substantive response accepting, rejecting, or modifying the proposal within 120 days.

(iii) If FTA/FRA needs additional time to consider the railroad's proposal, FRA/FTA will provide a written communication to the railroad setting forth the reasons for the delay and an estimate of the additional time (not to exceed an additional 60 days) that FRA/FTA expect to take to finalize a substantive response to the proposal.

(iv) In reviewing the plan, FRA and FTA will consider factors including, but not limited to, how the proposal maximizes accessibility to individuals with disabilities, any obstacles to the use of a method that could provide better service to individuals with disabilities, the safety and reliability of the approach and related technology proposed to be used, the suitability of the means proposed to the station and line and/or system on which it would be used, and the adequacy of equipment and maintenance and staff training and deployment.

(e) In any situation using a combination of high and low platforms, a commuter or intercity rail operator shall not employ a solution that has the effect of channeling passengers into a narrow space between the face of the higher-level platform and the edge of the lower platform.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this paragraph, any obstructions on a platform (mini-high platforms, stairwells, elevator shafts, seats etc.) shall be set at least six feet back from the edge of a platform.

(2) If the six-foot clearance is not feasible (e.g., where such a clearance would create an insurmountable gap on a mini-high platform or where the physical structure of an existing station does not allow such clearance), barriers must be used to prevent the flow of pedestrian traffic through these narrower areas.

(f) For purposes of this part, level-entry boarding means a boarding platform design in which the horizontal gap between a car at rest and the platform is no more than 10 inches on tangent track and 13 inches on curves and the vertical height of the car floor is no more than 5.5 inches above the boarding platform. Where the horizontal gap is more than 3 inches and/or the vertical gap is more than 58 inch, measured when the vehicle is at rest, the horizontal and vertical gaps between the car floor and the boarding platform must be mitigated by a bridge plate, ramp, or other appropriate device consistent with 49 CFR 38.95(c) and 38.125(c).

[76 FR 57935, Sept. 19, 2011]

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§37.43   Alteration of transportation facilities by public entities.

(a)(1) When a public entity alters an existing facility or a part of an existing facility used in providing designated public transportation services in a way that affects or could affect the usability of the facility or part of the facility, the entity shall make the alterations (or ensure that the alterations are made) in such a manner, to the maximum extent feasible, that the altered portions of the facility are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, upon the completion of such alterations.

(2) When a public entity undertakes an alteration that affects or could affect the usability of or access to an area of a facility containing a primary function, the entity shall make the alteration in such a manner that, to the maximum extent feasible, the path of travel to the altered area and the bathrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered area are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, upon completion of the alterations. Provided, that alterations to the path of travel, drinking fountains, telephones and bathrooms are not required to be made readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, if the cost and scope of doing so would be disproportionate.

(3) The requirements of this paragraph also apply to the alteration of existing intercity or commuter rail stations by the responsible person for, owner of, or person in control of the station.

(4) The requirements of this section apply to any alteration which begins (i.e., issuance of notice to proceed or work order, as applicable) after January 25, 1992, or, in the case of intercity and commuter rail stations, after October 7, 1991.

(b) As used in this section, the phrase to the maximum extent feasible applies to the occasional case where the nature of an existing facility makes it impossible to comply fully with applicable accessibility standards through a planned alteration. In these circumstances, the entity shall provide the maximum physical accessibility feasible. Any altered features of the facility or portion of the facility that can be made accessible shall be made accessible. If providing accessibility to certain individuals with disabilities (e.g., those who use wheelchairs) would not be feasible, the facility shall be made accessible to individuals with other types of disabilities (e.g., those who use crutches, those who have impaired vision or hearing, or those who have other impairments).

(c) As used in this section, a primary function is a major activity for which the facility is intended. Areas of transportation facilities that involve primary functions include, but are not necessarily limited to, ticket purchase and collection areas, passenger waiting areas, train or bus platforms, baggage checking and return areas and employment areas (except those involving non-occupiable spaces accessed only by ladders, catwalks, crawl spaces, very narrow passageways, or freight (non-passenger) elevators which are frequented only by repair personnel).

(d) As used in this section, a “path of travel” includes a continuous, unobstructed way of pedestrian passage by means of which the altered area may be approached, entered, and exited, and which connects the altered area with an exterior approach (including sidewalks, parking areas, and streets), an entrance to the facility, and other parts of the facility. The term also includes the restrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered area. An accessible path of travel may include walks and sidewalks, curb ramps and other interior or exterior pedestrian ramps, clear floor paths through corridors, waiting areas, concourses, and other improved areas, parking access aisles, elevators and lifts, bridges, tunnels, or other passageways between platforms, or a combination of these and other elements.

(e)(1) Alterations made to provide an accessible path of travel to the altered area will be deemed disproportionate to the overall alteration when the cost exceeds 20 percent of the cost of the alteration to the primary function area (without regard to the costs of accessibility modifications).

(2) Costs that may be counted as expenditures required to provide an accessible path of travel include:

(i) Costs associated with providing an accessible entrance and an accessible route to the altered area (e.g., widening doorways and installing ramps);

(ii) Costs associated with making restrooms accessible (e.g., grab bars, enlarged toilet stalls, accessible faucet controls);

(iii) Costs associated with providing accessible telephones (e.g., relocation of phones to an accessible height, installation of amplification devices or TDDs);

(iv) Costs associated with relocating an inaccessible drinking fountain.

(f)(1) When the cost of alterations necessary to make a path of travel to the altered area fully accessible is disproportionate to the cost of the overall alteration, then such areas shall be made accessible to the maximum extent without resulting in disproportionate costs;

(2) In this situation, the public entity should give priority to accessible elements that will provide the greatest access, in the following order:

(i) An accessible entrance;

(ii) An accessible route to the altered area;

(iii) At least one accessible restroom for each sex or a single unisex restroom (where there are one or more restrooms);

(iv) Accessible telephones;

(v) Accessible drinking fountains;

(vi) When possible, other accessible elements (e.g., parking, storage, alarms).

(g) If a public entity performs a series of small alterations to the area served by a single path of travel rather than making the alterations as part of a single undertaking, it shall nonetheless be responsible for providing an accessible path of travel.

(h)(1) If an area containing a primary function has been altered without providing an accessible path of travel to that area, and subsequent alterations of that area, or a different area on the same path of travel, are undertaken within three years of the original alteration, the total cost of alteration to the primary function areas on that path of travel during the preceding three year period shall be considered in determining whether the cost of making that path of travel is disproportionate;

(2) For the first three years after January 26, 1992, only alterations undertaken between that date and the date of the alteration at issue shall be considered in determining if the cost of providing accessible features is disproportionate to the overall cost of the alteration.

(3) Only alterations undertaken after January 26, 1992, shall be considered in determining if the cost of providing an accessible path of travel is disproportionate to the overall cost of the alteration.

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§37.45   Construction and alteration of transportation facilities by private entities.

In constructing and altering transit facilities, private entities shall comply with the regulations of the Department of Justice implementing Title III of the ADA (28 CFR part 36).

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§37.47   Key stations in light and rapid rail systems.

(a) Each public entity that provides designated public transportation by means of a light or rapid rail system shall make key stations on its system readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs. This requirement is separate from and in addition to requirements set forth in §37.43 of this part.

(b) Each public entity shall determine which stations on its system are key stations. The entity shall identify key stations, using the planning and public participation process set forth in paragraph (d) of this section, and taking into consideration the following criteria:

(1) Stations where passenger boardings exceed average station passenger boardings on the rail system by at least fifteen percent, unless such a station is close to another accessible station;

(2) Transfer stations on a rail line or between rail lines;

(3) Major interchange points with other transportation modes, including stations connecting with major parking facilities, bus terminals, intercity or commuter rail stations, passenger vessel terminals, or airports;

(4) End stations, unless an end station is close to another accessible station; and

(5) Stations serving major activity centers, such as employment or government centers, institutions of higher education, hospitals or other major health care facilities, or other facilities that are major trip generators for individuals with disabilities.

(c)(1) Unless an entity receives an extension under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the public entity shall achieve accessibility of key stations as soon as possible, but in no case later than July 26, 1994.

(2) The FTA Administrator may grant an extension of this completion date for key station accessibility for a period up to July 26, 2020, provided that two-thirds of key stations are made accessible by July 26, 2010. Extensions may be granted as provided in paragraph (e) of this section.

(d) The public entity shall develop a plan for compliance for this section. The plan shall be submitted to the appropriate FTA regional office by July 26, 1992. (See appendix B to this part for list.)

(1) The public entity shall consult with individuals with disabilities affected by the plan. The public entity also shall hold at least one public hearing on the plan and solicit comments on it. The plan submitted to FTA shall document this public participation, including summaries of the consultation with individuals with disabilities and the comments received at the hearing and during the comment period. The plan also shall summarize the public entity's responses to the comments and consultation.

(2) The plan shall establish milestones for the achievement of required accessibility of key stations, consistent with the requirements of this section.

(e) A public entity wishing to apply for an extension of the July 26, 1993, deadline for key station accessibility shall include a request for an extension with its plan submitted to FTA under paragraph (d) of this section. Extensions may be granted only with respect to key stations which need extraordinarily expensive structural changes to, or replacement of, existing facilities (e.g., installations of elevators, raising the entire passenger platform, or alterations of similar magnitude and cost). Requests for extensions shall provide for completion of key station accessibility within the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. The FTA Administrator may approve, approve with conditions, modify, or disapprove any request for an extension.

[56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 63102, Nov. 30, 1993; 79 FR 21405, Apr. 16, 2014]

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§37.49   Designation of responsible person(s) for intercity and commuter rail stations.

(a) The responsible person(s) designated in accordance with this section shall bear the legal and financial responsibility for making a key station accessible in the same proportion as determined under this section.

(b) In the case of a station more than fifty percent of which is owned by a public entity, the public entity is the responsible party.

(c) In the case of a station more than fifty percent of which is owned by a private entity the persons providing commuter or intercity rail service to the station are the responsible parties, in a proportion equal to the percentage of all passenger boardings at the station attributable to the service of each, over the entire period during which the station is made accessible.

(d) In the case of a station of which no entity owns more than fifty percent, the owners of the station (other than private entity owners) and persons providing intercity or commuter rail service to the station are the responsible persons.

(1) Half the responsibility for the station shall be assumed by the owner(s) of the station. The owners shall share this responsibility in proportion to their ownership interest in the station, over the period during which the station is made accessible.

(2) The person(s) providing commuter or intercity rail service to the station shall assume the other half of the responsibility. These persons shall share this responsibility. These persons shall share this responsibility for the station in a proportion equal to the percentage of all passenger boardings at the station attributable to the service of each, over the period during which the station is made accessible.

(e) Persons who must share responsibility for station accessibility under paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section may, by agreement, allocate their responsibility in a manner different from that provided in this section.

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§37.51   Key stations in commuter rail systems.

(a) The responsible person(s) shall make key stations on its system readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs. This requirement is separate from and in addition to requirements set forth in §37.43 of this part.

(b) Each commuter authority shall determine which stations on its system are key stations. The commuter authority shall identify key stations, using the planning and public participation process set forth in paragraph (d) of this section, and taking into consideration the following criteria:

(1) Stations where passenger boardings exceed average station passenger boardings on the rail system by at least fifteen percent, unless such a station is close to another accessible station;

(2) Transfer stations on a rail line or between rail lines;

(3) Major interchange points with other transportation modes, including stations connecting with major parking facilities, bus terminals, intercity or commuter rail stations, passenger vessel terminals, or airports;

(4) End stations, unless an end station is close to another accessible station; and

(5) Stations serving major activity centers, such as employment or government centers, institutions of higher education, hospitals or other major health care facilities, or other facilities that are major trip generators for individuals with disabilities.

(c)(1) Except as provided in this paragraph, the responsible person(s) shall achieve accessibility of key stations as soon as possible, but in no case later than July 26, 1994.

(2) The FTA Administrator may grant an extension of this deadline for key station accessibility for a period up to July 26, 2010. Extensions may be granted as provided in paragraph (e) of this section.

(d) The commuter authority and responsible person(s) for stations involved shall develop a plan for compliance for this section. This plan shall be completed and submitted to FTA by July 26, 1992.

(1) The commuter authority and responsible person(s) shall consult with individuals with disabilities affected by the plan. The commuter authority and responsible person(s) also shall hold at least one public hearing on the plan and solicit comments on it. The plan shall document this public participation, including summaries of the consultation with individuals with disabilities and the comments received at the hearing and during the comment period. The plan also shall summarize the responsible person(s) responses to the comments and consultation.

(2) The plan shall establish milestones for the achievement of required accessibility of key stations, consistent with the requirements of this section.

(3) The commuter authority and responsible person(s) of each key station identified in the plan shall, by mutual agreement, designate a project manager for the purpose of undertaking the work of making the key station accessible.

(e) Any commuter authority and/or responsible person(s) wishing to apply for an extension of the July 26, 1993, deadline for key station accessibility shall include a request for extension with its plan submitted to under paragraph (d) of this section. Extensions may be granted only in a case where raising the entire passenger platform is the only means available of attaining accessibility or where other extraordinarily expensive structural changes (e.g., installations of elevators, or alterations of magnitude and cost similar to installing an elevator or raising the entire passenger platform) are necessary to attain accessibility. Requests for extensions shall provide for completion of key station accessibility within the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. The FTA Administrator may approve, approve with conditions, modify, or disapprove any request for an extension.

[56 FR 45621, Sept. 6, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 63102, Nov. 30, 1993; 79 FR 21405, Apr. 16, 2014]

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§37.53   Exception for New York and Philadelphia.

(a) The following agreements entered into in New York, New York, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, contain lists of key stations for the public entities that are a party to those agreements for those service lines identified in the agreements. The identification of key stations under these agreements is deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of this Subpart.

(1) Settlement Agreement by and among Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, Inc., James J. Peters, Terrance Moakley, and Denise Figueroa, individually and as representatives of the class of all persons similarly situated (collectively, “the EPVA class representatives”); and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, and Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (October 4, 1984).

(2) Settlement Agreement by and between Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association of Pennsylvania, Inc., and James J. Peters, individually; and Dudley R. Sykes, as Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Property, and his successors in office and the City of Philadelphia (collectively “the City”) and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (June 28, 1989).

(b) To comply with §§37.47 (b) and (d) or 37.51 (b) and (d) of this part, the entities named in the agreements are required to use their public participation and planning processes only to develop and submit to the FTA Administrator plans for timely completion of key station accessibilty, as provided in this subpart.

(c) In making accessible the key stations identified under the agreements cited in this section, the entities named in the agreements are subject to the requirements of §37.9 of this part.

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§37.55   Intercity rail station accessibility.

All intercity rail stations shall be made readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, as soon as practicable, but in no event later than July 26, 2010. This requirement is separate from and in addition to requirements set forth in §37.43 of this part.

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§37.57   Required cooperation.

An owner or person in control of an intercity or commuter rail station shall provide reasonable cooperation to the responsible person(s) for that station with respect to the efforts of the responsible person to comply with the requirements of this subpart.

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§37.59   Differences in accessibility completion dates.

Where different completion dates for accessible stations are established under this part for a station or portions of a station (e.g., extensions of different periods of time for a station which serves both rapid and commuter rail systems), accessibility to the following elements of the station shall be achieved by the earlier of the completion dates involved:

(a) Common elements of the station;

(b) Portions of the facility directly serving the rail system with the earlier completion date; and

(c) An accessible path from common elements of the station to portions of the facility directly serving the rail system with the earlier completion date.

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§37.61   Public transportation programs and activities in existing facilities.

(a) A public entity shall operate a designated public transportation program or activity conducted in an existing facility so that, when viewed in its entirety, the program or activity is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

(b) This section does not require a public entity to make structural changes to existing facilities in order to make the facilities accessible by individuals who use wheelchairs, unless and to the extent required by §37.43 (with respect to alterations) or §§37.47 or 37.51 of this part (with respect to key stations). Entities shall comply with other applicable accessibility requirements for such facilities.

(c) Public entities, with respect to facilities that, as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, are not required to be made accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs, are not required to provide to such individuals services made available to the general public at such facilities when the individuals could not utilize or benefit from the services.

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§§37.63-37.69   [Reserved]

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