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FTA Begins New Era of Public Transit Safety

Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration

Safety is the number-one priority for U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and for all of us at FTA. In that spirit, I am excited to share some good news.

On July 19 of this year, FTA issued two final regulations to strengthen the safety of our nation’s public transportation systems: the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) rule and the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program rule (PTSCTP).

These rules complete the regulatory foundation for FTA’s National Public Transportation Safety Program, which Congress authorized in 2012 and again in 2015. Through these rules and the implementation of other FTA safety actions, we are entering a new era of public transit safety.

This administration has taken a performance- and risk-based approach to the development of these two new safety rules. The data shows that the greatest safety risk within the transit industry is concentrated in urban areas and rail transit systems. As a result, the requirements of both rules are scaled to address these safety risks.

The PTASP rule implements an innovative, risk-based and performance-based approach to improving transit safety founded on Safety Management System principles. It applies to both rail and bus transit operators in urban areas that provide approximately 97 percent of total public transit trips taken in the U.S. on an annual basis. The rule is not one-size-fits-all. Since no two public transit systems are alike, the rule sets scalable and flexible requirements for safety plans by imposing the appropriate regulatory burden in achieving safety goals.

FTA is deferring applicability of the safety plan rule for 2,000 small and rural public transit systems because these operators pose a lower safety risk. FTA will continue to analyze the safety performance of these systems to determine the need for potential regulatory action.

To further reduce the burden on small providers, states must draft and certify safety plans on behalf of bus operators with 100 or fewer vehicles in peak revenue service, unless the operator opts to draft its own plan. Rail transit agencies and bus operators with more than 100 vehicles in peak service are required to develop and certify their own safety plans.

The safety plan rule takes effect on July 19, 2019, and compliance with the rule is required by July 20, 2020. In the coming months, FTA anticipates making guidance available to public transit agencies to assist in their development of safety plans. We will also provide templates, guidance documents and continue to host webinars on specific topics through the implementation of the rule.

The PTSCTP rule establishes a safety training curriculum to enhance the technical proficiency of rail transit safety personnel in various aspects of safety. The rule is deregulatory, reduces the burden from the current interim requirements and creates a process for individuals to receive credit for completing equivalent but non-FTA-sponsored training courses.

The rule applies to State Safety Oversight employees and contractors who conduct safety audits and examinations of rail transit systems and to rail transit agency employees and contractors who are directly responsible for safety oversight. FTA encourages other safety personnel, including those from bus agencies, to voluntarily participate in the training program.

Individuals responsible for the safety oversight of rail transit have three years to complete applicable training requirements and must complete refresher training every two years thereafter.

The training rule replaces interim requirements and takes effect on Aug. 20, 2018. The two new rules will help make the public transit industry—which provides more than 10 billion passenger trips a year—even safer than it is today, improving safety for all passengers and workers who utilize, operate and maintain our nation’s transit systems. FTA is dedicated to continuing to work with state and industry partners to enhance public transit’s safety record.

Information about the rules, including dates and registration information for upcoming webinars, fact sheets, FAQs and graphics, can be found here and here. Additionally, you can email PTASP-related questions here.

Thank you for your continued partnership and for your commitment to transit safety.

FTA Webinars Focus on Safety Regulations

FTA has scheduled a series of webinars regarding the two final regulations on public transportation safety it issued July 19: the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) rule and the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program (PTSCTP) rule.

The PTASP final rule requires certain rail and bus operators to develop safety plans to better manage their safety risk using Safety Management Systems. The PTSCTP final rule establishes a basic curriculum for rail transit safety personnel responsible for the safety oversight of rail transit systems.

The webinars, which all begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time, are specific to the agencies and modes that must comply with PTASP and PTSCTP. ­Register according to this schedule:

* PTASP, Multimodal Agencies: Monday, Aug. 6, and Thursday, Aug. 30.
* PTASP, State Safety Oversight ­Agencies: Thursday, Aug. 9, and Wednesday, Sept. 5.
* PTASP, Bus-Only Agencies: Tuesday, Aug. 28.
* PTASP, State DOTs: Wednesday, Aug. 29, and Wednesday, Sept. 12.
* PTASP, Rail-Only Agencies: Thursday, Sept. 6.
* PTSCTP: Thursday, Aug. 16.
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