FTA issues two safety rules

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued two final rules it says will strengthen the safety of public transportation systems.

The two rules, the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan rule and the Safety Certification Training Program rule, lay the regulatory framework for the National Public Transportation Safety Program as authorized by Congress.

“FTA has worked diligently to reach this important stage of completing the final regulatory framework of our National Public Transportation Safety Program,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “Through these rules, FTA will enter a new era of safety and we will continue to work with our state and industry partners to enhance public transit’s safety record.”

The Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan rule requires transit agencies to incorporate Safety Management System (SMS) policies and procedures as they develop safety plans to better manage their safety risks. FTA says SMS is a comprehensive and collaborative approach to safety. FTA explains that the rule sets scalable and flexible requirements, which should remove any regulatory burden from achieving safety goals.

The safety plan rule takes effect on July 19, 2019, and compliance with the rule is required within one year of that date.  FTA anticipates making guidance available to transit agencies within the next few months that will assist in their development of safety plans and implementation of SMS. The rule applies to all operators of public transportation systems that are recipients and sub-recipients of federal financial assistance under the Urbanized Area Formula Program.

FTA is deferring action on applicability of the rule for small and/or rural transit systems in order to evaluate the safety risks posed by these systems and to determine the need for future regulatory action. The rule does not apply to agencies that are subject to the safety jurisdiction of another federal agency, including rail operators regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The second rule, the Public Transportation Safety Training Certification Program (PTSCTP), establishes basic training curriculum thresholds in order to enhance the technical competencies and capabilities of individuals responsible for the safety oversight of rail transit systems. The rule takes effect on Aug. 20, 2018. FTA says the publication of this final rule reduces the burden to the transit industry from the interim training requirements by eliminating a course requirement and allowing for equivalency training credit.

FTA will hold two webinars in August to communicate the requirements of the PTSCTP rule. The first will take place on Aug. 2, while the second will be Aug. 16.

Categories: Commuter/Regional, Intercity, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Regulatory, Safety/Training