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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis December 16, 2011
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APTA’s Standards Development Program: Ascertaining Best Practices, Producing Results
BY JEFF HIOTT, APTA Senior Program Manager-Standards Program

Since 2005, one of APTA’s key efforts has been to bring together public transit agencies, business members, and the federal government to write consensus-based and voluntary standards or best practices for the public transportation industry. These documents are designed to improve safety, reliability, performance, and efficiency of agency operations, planning, and equipment.

APTA members, along with their partners at the Federal Transit Administration and Transportation Security Administration and hundreds of volunteers, participated in dozens of working groups, devoting thousands of hours to craft and codify industry best practices in these categories:

* Bus Transit
* Commuter Rail
* Information Technology
* Procurement
* Rail Transit
* Security
* Sustainability and Urban Design
* Universal Transit Fares

Each standard, recommended practice, technical specification, and report written to date has made an impact on how we do business. In the past year, the Standards Program has published more than 40 documents, all of which are available free via the APTA Standards portal.

Program Highlights
The Security Program remains very active, publishing approximately 15 documents from four working groups: Infrastructure Security, Risk Management, Emergency Management, and Cyber Security.

For example, a document on “Random Counterterrorism Measures on Transit Systems” describes a modular, scalable security measure that uses random patrol and visibility tactics to create uncertainty in the planning process used by potential terrorists and deter possible attacks on bus and rail transit systems.

The Rail Transit Program posted the first edition of APTA’s standard light rail vehicle procurement guideline, including both procurement terms and conditions and technical specifications. Many public and private sector APTA members worked together to develop this document.

Two new standards have been completed and will be published in 2012: “Roadway Worker Protection Requirements” and “Electronic Device Distraction Policy.” A new standard on “Fitness for Duty” is currently being developed.

The Sustainability and Urban Design Standards Program published several documents from its two working groups. “Why Design Matters for Transit” describes the importance of design to the success of a project. Another document introduced “Transit Sustainability Guidelines” for designing and operating sustainable public transit that both reduces a community’s environmental footprint from transportation and enhances quality of life by making travel more enjoyable, affordable, and timely.

The Bus Transit Program has published a compendium of documents for Bus Rapid Transit planning, operations, and design. In addition to training syllabi for mechanic training, the program also published “Architectural and Engineering Design for a Transit Operating and Maintenance Facility.” There will be new and continued efforts in 2012 with documents being produced on brakes and chassis, passenger environment, and bus operations and safety.

In addition to its current efforts, in 2012 APTA will inaugurate a new program to work on best practices for asset management and State of Good Repair. This program will examine what we, as an industry, can do to help agencies with respect to better managing their assets and keeping their assets in a state of good repair so their service life is maximized.

For more information or to learn about becoming involved in the standards process, contact Jeff Hiott.

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