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Disability Data Standard

We are improving the way the City of Boston asks people about disability

We want to develop a standard approach to collecting data about disability from constituents and City employees to improve accessibility and inclusion in Boston. To do this, the Disabilities Commission, Office of Human Resources, Elections Department, and the Department of Innovation and Technology are partnering to explore preferred language around disability, and the experiences of voting in Boston and onboarding as a City of Boston employee with a disability.

At the end of the process, the Elections Department will be able to implement concrete recommendations to the constituent experience of voting with regard to accessibility and the Office of Human Resources will be able to amend onboarding processes to incorporate more comprehensive language for employees to describe their disabilities. Results from these two projects will be used to develop a Disability Data Standard for the City of Boston. 

What We're Trying to Achieve


Over several months, we are leading a mix of projects to address this issue, including:

  • Literature Review of Best Practices
  • Focus Groups with Boston residents
  • Process mapping of the voting process, and onboarding for new City of Boston employees
  • User research with disability advocates and City employees


  • Identify best practices for collecting information from constituents and City of Boston employees about disabilities they may have
  • Map the process and gain a better understanding of the experience for people with disabilities for:
  1. Voting in Boston
  2. Onboarding as a City of Boston employee

Disability Guidelines and Standards for City of Boston Services

Developed in partnership with members of the Disabilities Commission, Disability Policy Consortium, and members of the disability community in Boston, these guidelines and standards are the first version of how we expect City employees to collect data from constituents about disability. These guidelines will evolve over time as we figure out how to apply them throughout City services and get direct feedback from the people we serve. We greatly appreciate any thoughts, questions, or feedback you’d like to share at

Download Disability Data Standard

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