Friday, September 21, 2012

First TRACS safety meeting with FTA oversight underway

TRACS advisory committee at Sept. 20 meeting TRACS advisory committee at Sept. 20 meeting photo courtesy FTA

The U.S. Department of Transportation kicked off the first meeting of the Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) since President Obama signed the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" (MAP-21), which granted the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) authority to implement and enforce transit safety oversight standards on heavy rail, light rail, buses, ferries and streetcars.

"Under MAP-21, we're ushering in a new era for transit safety. Working with the committee advisors and state leaders, we'll help strengthen state safety oversight agencies to carry out this vitally important mission," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Public transit remains one of the safest ways to travel in the U.S. and we intend to keep it that way."

FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff is leading the two-day public meeting, which brings together transit industry officials, transportation safety experts, transportation labor groups and academics to provide advice and recommendations on implementing the new law.

The session will give FTA officials the opportunity to listen to feedback and best practices from participants as the agency begins the process of establishing a new framework to oversee the safety of public transportation throughout the United States. TRACS members will leave the meeting with specific assignments, which will lead to recommendations on how best to implement key provisions in the law.

The agenda includes a discussion of MAP-21 safety requirements and development of a public transportation safety certification training program that applies to federal and state employees or others who conduct audits or are responsible for safety oversight.

TRACS is a Federal Advisory Committee chartered by the Secretary of Transportation, which first met in September 2010. The committee's purpose is to provide information, advice and recommendations to the Federal Transit Administration on matters relating to the safety of public transportation systems.

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