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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Maryland Transit Administration, Baltimore, MD, 5-19-10

May 19, 2010

Re: FTA Complaint Number 10-0028

Dear [name withheld]:

This letter responds to your complaint against the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of Civil Rights is responsible for civil rights compliance and monitoring, which includes ensuring that providers of public transportation are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) implementing regulations at 49 CFR Parts 27, 37, and 38.

In your complaint, you state that the interior and exterior LED screens on the Kawasaki bi-level passenger cars used on the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Penn Line are not displaying the upcoming stations.

We appreciate your reporting this concern and have entered the complaint details into our internal tracking system for administrative purposes; however, we cannot take further action. The DOT ADA regulations do not require that commuter railcars contain visual displays of upcoming stations, although we understand this feature is helpful. Instead, to assist riders in identifying stations, there is a requirement that signs with the station name be posted in the facility and be visible from the train.

DOT adopts as its regulatory standards for accessible transportation facilities the revised Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines (ADAAG) issued by the Access Board in July 2004, and adopted by DOT in November 2006. ADAAG’s Chapter 8 titled “Special Rooms, Spaces and Elements,” section 810.6.3 Station Names, states, “Signs shall be clearly visible and within the sight lines of standing and sitting passengers from within the vehicle on both sides when not obstructed by another vehicle.”

Although LED screens are not required under the ADA, we did contact MTA to discuss your concern. In a conversation between Antoinette Davis of this office and Paula Cullings, MTA’s Director of the Office of Fair Practices, we learned that MTA is currently working toward replacing its equipment. Moreover, while your complaint did not raise issues with the station signage requirements along the Penn Line, if you have concerns with the visibility of the signs, we would encourage you to report the matter to MTA to give the transit provider an opportunity to address the matter. You may also wish to file another complaint with the FTA Office of Civil Rights if you find the transit provider unresponsive.

This concludes our processing of this matter and no further action will be taken. If you have any questions, please contact myself or Antoinette Davis at (202) 366-5190 or via e-mail at Any further correspondence should reference FTA Complaint No. 10-0028. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention and we trust this information is helpful.


John R. Day
Acting ADA Team Leader
Office of Civil Rights

cc: MTA