July 1, 2016
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Transit System Safety Is FTA Priority

Thomas Littleton, FTA associate administrator, Office of Transit Safety and Oversight, spoke to a packed crowd about the new safety initiatives coming out of the FAST Act, including recently released requirements on the National Public Transportation Safety Plan (NPTSP) and the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP)—requirements that affect all public transit agencies.

The proposed NPTSP plan would provide guidance on FTA’s approach to improving the safety performance of public transit systems and would be FTA’s primary method to disseminate guidance and resources to the industry. The plan includes guidance for implementing a Safety Management System (SMS).

Littleton said that although public transit systems already perform many activities to stay safe, SMS makes sure the right safety activities for all modes are performed correctly and routinely and are having the impact agencies expect.

The proposed PTASP plan would require any system that receives federal financial assistance to implement a comprehensive safety plan based on SMS principles unless the system’s safety issues are already regulated by another DOT agency.

Littleton said FTA is currently working on the issue of transit worker assaults and will be creating a notice of proposed rulemaking by March 2017. “We have a national online dialogue going on regarding this issue,” he said and urged attendees to go to FTA’s website to post questions.

Safety standards are a critical issue, said Littleton. “Under the FAST Act, we need to review the public transit systems’ different safety standards to see how effective they are,” he said. Although the public comment period closed on June 16, Littleton encouraged attendees to provide more feedback. “Tell us what you think is effective and what the federal government should or should not be setting standards for,” he added.

Littleton told listeners that FTA has numerous resources to keep them informed including its website, webinars, a YouTube page, a newsletter that covers safety and program oversight, and email alerts.

Dennis Bonney, chair, APTA’s Rail Safety Committee, and director, HSE and regulatory compliance, Bombardier Transportation, moderated the session.

FTA’s Thomas Littleton discussed federal requirements for transit safety plans. Bombardier executive Dennis Bonney was the session moderator.

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