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Section 508

FHWA / Section 508 / Section 508 Authorities

Disclaimer: FHWA is committed to making its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessible by meeting the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The tools, resources, criteria and other items provided herein are for internal use by FHWA for ICT it procures, develops, maintains, and utilizes. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use by third parties of the information contained in this website. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear on this website only because they are considered essential to the objective of the information.

Books labeled Policy, Standards and Acts

Section 508 Authorities

Section 508 Overview

Section 508 is:

  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law that requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities in accord with standards issued by the U.S. Access Board.
  • A Final Rule by the Access Board on January 18, 2017 revised and updated, in a single rulemaking, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the guidelines for telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment covered by Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934. The revisions and updates are intended to ensure that information and communication technology (ICT) covered by the respective statutes is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
  • Per Section 508 agencies must provide individuals with disabilities equal access to information and data comparable to those who do not have disabilities.
  • Section 508 standards are the technical requirements and criteria used to measure conformance with this law.

Related Links

508 Refresh

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines Final Rule ("508 Refresh") updating the original 2000 Final Rule on Section 508 Standards became effective January 18, 2018. The Final Rule also updated Section 255 of the Communication Act. The final rule jointly updates and reorganizes the Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines, aligning them with other commonly used guidelines and standards for ICT. The 508 Refresh applies to ICT that Federal Agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use as well as telecommunications equipment.

ICT that is procured, developed, maintained, or used by agencies shall conform to the Revised 508 Standards. The Revised 508 Standards also clarify the electronic content that Federal agencies are required to make conformant with the Revised 508 Standards:

  • All public-facing electronic content.
  • Nine categories of non-public facing electronic content that communicate official agency business:
    • An emergency notification.
    • An initial or final decision adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding.
    • An internal or external program or policy announcement.
    • A notice of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunity, or personnel action.
    • A formal acknowledgement of receipt.
    • A survey questionnaire.
    • A template or form.
    • Educational or training materials.
    • Intranet content designed as a web page.

Terms

ICT vs EIT? The original law referred to Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) and the 508 Refresh refers to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The change from EIT to ICT occurred to align better with International standards as well as to reflect changes in technology over the years. EIT should always be interpreted as ICT for agency purposes.

Page last modified on February 23, 2021

508 graphics source: FHWA. Heading glyphs: Pixabay.

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