April 1, 2016
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FTA, FRA Announce News, Events

FTA Schedules Webinar on SSO Final Rule
FTA’s Office of Transit Safety and Oversight will conduct a webinar on April 12, 2-3:30 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss the State Safety Oversight (SSO) final rule, which strengthens a State Safety Oversight Agency’s (SSOA) authority to investigate accidents and oversee a rail transit agency’s implementation of the System Safety Program Plan and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.

The final rule, which replaces longtime rules, was published on March 16. SSOAs will have three years from the effective date of the final rule to fully implement the rule’s requirements.

Find details at FTA’s safety-related rulemaking webpage.

FTA Announces Grant Availability
On March 29, FTA released a notice of funding opportunity regarding approximately $5.3 million in funding from two programs to support the Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Grants (R2W Demonstration Grants).

The goal of the competitive grants is to find and test promising, replicable public transportation programs that support increased access to healthcare, improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.

Eligible applicants include states, tribes and designated or direct recipients for funds under 49 U.S.C. 5307, 5310 or 5311. Proposers must serve as the lead agency of a local consortium that includes stakeholders from the transportation, healthcare, human service or other sectors and must demonstrate that the proposed project was planned through an inclusive process with the involvement of the transportation, healthcare and human service industries.

Eligible projects must have implementation-ready capital and operating projects that enhance access, such as mobility management, health and transportation provider partnerships, technology and other actions that drive change.

FTA will accept complete proposals until May 31. To apply, click here.

FRA Proposes Two-Member Crews
FRA recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking that would establish a minimum requirement of two-member train crew staffs for all railroad operations, with exceptions proposed for those operations that FRA believes do not pose significant safety risks to railroad employees, the general public and the environment.

The proposed rule would also establish minimum requirements for the roles and responsibilities of the second train crewmember on a moving train, and FRA officials say it will help promote safe and effective teamwork.

Additionally, FRA co-proposed two options for situations when a railroad wants to continue an existing operation with a one-person train crew or start up an operation with less than two crewmembers. Under both options, the railroad would be required to describe the operation and provide safety-related information to FRA.

Proposed Option 1 includes an FRA review and approval period lasting up to 90 days, while Option 2 proposes permitting such operations to initiate or continue without a mandatory FRA review and approval waiting period or while such review is taking place.

FRA will accept written comments on the proposed rule until May 16 at the Federal eRulemaking Portal. For more information, contact FRA.

FRA Rolls Out New Rail Safety Website
FRA has launched a redesigned website that will serve as a one-stop shop to help drivers, pedestrians and law enforcement stay safe around the nation’s more than 200,000 railroad crossings and 140,000 miles of track.

“Railroad crossings are in nearly every city and town across America,” said DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Preventing fatalities at crossings and on tracks takes innovative solutions, increased enforcement actions and robust safety education efforts. FRA’s new website is an important tool to help us achieve our goal of zero deaths at crossings and along tracks.”

According to FRA data, 96 percent of rail-related fatalities, most of which are preventable, are the result of incidents at railroad crossings and by trespassers. For that reason, FRA is providing numerous interactive features, as well as downloadable fact sheets on safety and a resource library, on the website.

Last year, FRA launched a campaign to reduce fatalities at railroad crossings. It includes partnering with Google and other tech companies to use FRA data that pinpoints the country’s approximately 200,000 railroad crossings to add crossing alerts to map applications. FRA has also worked with local law enforcement to increase enforcement around railroad crossings.

In 2015, 244 individuals died at railroad crossings, down from 264 in 2014.
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