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NTL Section 508 Accessibility Guide to Digital Submissions


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 4 U.S. adults – 61 million Americans – have a disability that impacts major life activities (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2018;67:882–887 DOI: The most common disability type, mobility, affects 1 in 7 adults. With age, disability becomes more common, affecting about 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older. More than 8 million U.S. citizens reported visual disabilities in 2016. For some, this means wearing glasses to help improve access to text and graphic information. However, people who are blind or nearly blind need assistive technologies, such screen readers, to help them access information on websites and electronic media. In order to help improve access to government information presented in electronic media, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (known as the U.S. Access Board added standards for electronic and information technologies to section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1973. These standards were first enacted in 2000, and recently updated in 2018. This guide describes the 2018 ITC Refresh rules, the National Transportation Library’s (NTL) alignment and implementation of those rules, and tips for helping you make the items you submit to NTL accessible to everyone.

Final Federal Rule

All public facing PDFs must be accessible as of March 23, 2018, according to the final Federal rule (for the ICT Refresh under Section 508). The updated 508 Standards apply to a federal agency’s full range of public-facing content, including websites, documents and media, blog posts, and social media sites. 

For inclusion in ROSA P, document submitters should make the PDF as accessible as possible before submitting to NTL. For a detailed explanation of the accessibility guidelines, NTL Digital Submissions Accessibility Checklist.

To read more about the Federal Rule visit our Federal Rule Resources page.  

NTL Accessibility Policy

NTL complies with the ICT Refresh Federal Rule by:

  • Reviewing the accessibility of all NTL Digital submissions published on or after March 23, 2018
  • Contacting document submitters if the PDF fails the accessibility tool check in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and requests re-submissions
  • Helps remediate any remaining accessibility errors to be as fully compliant as possible
  • Sends a confirmation email to the document submitter upon acceptance and cataloging 
  • Provides a courtesy copy of the revised PDF to the submitter attached to the confirmation email
  • Ensures that all new catalog submissions are compliant prior to ingesting into the NTL catalog and ROSA P
  • Reviews accessibility of revised NTL Digital Submissions PDFs, including document corrections for documents existing in ROSA P
  • Revises Top 25 Most Popular Downloads from ROSA P to improve accessibility of legacy content that is accessed most often

The proposed NTL Accessibility Policy can be read in full on NTL Accessibility Policy.  


What tools does NTL use to determine accessibility of submissions?

NTL uses the Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Checker in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC for PDFs, which can be found in the Tools section of Adobe Pro. 

If submitting a MS Word Doc to NTL, we will run the MS Check Accessibility tool that is located under the Review Tab in Word.   

If submitting Excel files for data sets, please run the MS Check Accessibility tool that is is located under the Review Tab in Excel. For questions about accessibility of data sets, please contact NTL Data Curation staff at