PTASP Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to download all PTASP FAQs as a PDF.
In light of the extraordinary challenges presented by the COVID-19 public health emergency, on December 11, 2020 FTA issued a second Notice of Enforcement Discretion for the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) regulation (49 CFR Part 673). FTA will refrain from taking enforcement action until July 21, 2021 for recipients and subrecipients unable to certify compliance with the PTASP regulation. Please visit FTA’s COVID-19 FAQs page for more information about the Notice.
The PTASP TAC remains available to help you meet PTASP regulation requirements.
- What is the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) final rule?
- To whom does the PTASP rule apply?
- Why is FTA deferring the applicability of the PTASP requirements for small operators who receive 5310 and 5311 funds?
- On what date does the PTASP final rule become effective? By when do I need to comply?
- Why do I need to have a safety plan if my public transportation system is already safe?
- How do I submit my PTASP for certification?
- How will FTA verify that transit agencies have safety plans in place?
- Does FTA have data protection measures in place to cover safety plans?
- What is the penalty if a transit agency does not have a certified PTASP as required by the rule?
- What FTA funding sources can I use to develop and implement my Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP)?
- Can the Accountable Executive be a contractor?
- Can my rail transit agency’s Chief Safety Officer (CSO) have responsibilities other than safety?
- What is a Safety Management System (SMS)?
- How does SMS differ from system safety?
- How does SMS integrate with system safety?
- Does each operator of a public transportation system need to implement an SMS?
- Where can I find more information on SMS?
- Can a Chief Safety Officer or SMS Executive also be responsible for security in a transit system?
- What is a State’s role in safety plan development, implementation, and approval? How does that affect small providers?
- Can you further explain the definition of ‘small public transportation provider’ and whether it is the same as the Transit Asset Management (TAM) rule definition of ‘Tier II provider’?
- What is the relationship between the PTASP rule and the National Public Transportation Safety Plan (NSP)?
- How will my performance targets be incorporated into the State and MPO planning process?
PTASP Webinar Questions and Answers
- Applicability Webinar Q&A (January 21, 2020)
- Agency Safety Plan Review, Approval, and Certification Webinar Q&A (March 19, 2020)
The PTASP final rule (49 C.F.R. Part 673) intends to improve public transportation safety by guiding transit agencies to more effectively and proactively manage safety risks in their systems. It requires certain recipients and sub-recipients of FTA grants that operate public transportation to develop and implement safety plans that establish processes and procedures to support the implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS). SMS is a comprehensive, collaborative approach to managing safety. It brings management and labor together to control risk better, detect and correct safety problems earlier, share and analyze safety data more effectively, and measure safety performance more precisely.
Since no two public transportation systems are alike, the rule sets scalable and flexible minimum standards for safety plans, including requirements for the identification, assessment, and mitigation of risks and strategies to minimize exposure to hazards, a safety training program, safety performance targets, and a process and timeline for conducting an annual review and update of the safety plan.
The rule applies to all operators of public transportation systems that are recipients and sub-recipients of FTA grant funds. Specifically, if you operate public transportation and are a recipient or sub-recipient of Urbanized Area Formula Grant Program funds under 49 U.S.C. § 5307 (Section 5307 Grant Program) or if you operate a rail transit system that is subject to FTA’s State Safety Oversight Program, then you must comply with the PTASP rule. FTA is deferring applicability of this requirement for operators that only receive funds through FTA’s Formula Grants for the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program under 49 U.S.C. § 5310 (Section 5310 Grant Program) and/or Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program under 49 U.S.C. § 5311 (Section 5311 Grant Program).
The rule does not apply to certain modes of transit service that are subject to the safety jurisdiction of another Federal agency, including passenger ferry operations that are regulated by the United States Coast Guard, and commuter rail operations that are regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration.
The PTASP final rule takes a risk-based approach to managing safety, and FTA determined that these operators pose a lower risk than larger operators. FTA also received several comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) from small operators requesting a reduction in financial and administrative burden. Additionally, a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine noted that while 6,800 public transit agencies receive federal funds, FTA should concentrate its initial implementation and oversight on the country’s largest two dozen or so transit systems, which account for the majority of the country’s ridership. As a result, FTA is deferring the applicability of the requirements of the rule for approximately 2,000 small operators. This is a significant reduction in burden to small and rural operators compared to the original requirements proposed in the NPRM.
FTA will continue to evaluate the safety risks posed by small operators to determine the need for future regulation. Any future application of PTASP rule requirements or other safety requirements for small operators will be subject to public notice and comment.
The rule takes effect on July 19, 2019. The regulation set July 20, 2020 as the deadline for transit agencies to certify that they have established a compliant agency safety plan. However, on April 22, 2020 FTA issued a Notice of Enforcement Discretion effectively extending the PTASP compliance deadline from July 20, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Transit operators are required to review, update, and certify their plans annually.
Through the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act (MAP-21), Congress amended Federal transit law to require each operator of a public transportation system to draft and carry out a PTASP to reduce the likelihood of safety events. The PTASP will help operators better manage safety risks through the development and implementation of proactive Safety Management Systems (SMS).
From 2008 to 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board reported on 13 rail transit accidents that, collectively, resulted in 15 fatalities, 349 injuries, and over $57 million in property damages. During that same period, bus and rail transit agencies reported over 63,000 incidents, approximately 2,300 fatalities, and over 95,000 injuries to FTA’s National Transit Database. In many cases, these safety events occurred after long periods of excellent safety records, but underlying poor safety cultures, deficiencies in the training and supervision of employees, deficiencies in the maintenance of equipment and infrastructure, and the lack of proactive safety risk management and oversight resulted in sudden catastrophic events.
Through this rule, FTA intends to improve safety by guiding transit agencies to more effectively and proactively manage safety risks in their systems and to predict and reduce the frequency of these safety events.
FTA is requiring each transit agency, direct recipient, or state to annually self-certify that they have PTASPs that meet the requirements of this rule. FTA will use its existing Certifications and Assurances process for this effort. FTA intends to use its triennial oversight review programs to assess compliance with the requirements of the rule.
The rule requires each operator to certify compliance with these requirements through its annual Certifications and Assurances to FTA. A State that drafts one or more safety plans on behalf of small operators may provide certification of those plans to FTA on behalf of small transit providers. FTA will use its existing Certifications and Assurances process for this effort. FTA intends to use its triennial oversight review programs to assess compliance with the requirements of the rule.
An operator’s data may be protected under State law. FTA does not have specific statutory data protection authority for safety plans nor the information collected through the implementation of safety plans.
FTA is committed to helping the transit industry comply with this rule and will continue our extensive outreach, including providing webinars, guidance and technical assistance. Transit operators must certify compliance with the PTASP rule requirements by December 31, 2020 to be eligible to receive Federal transit funds. Failure to comply with a requirement of the rule subjects a grantee to a range of FTA enforcement options depending upon the circumstances, including a transit operator being ineligible to receive FTA grant funds until the operator satisfies the requirements of the rule.
Transit agencies and States may use FTA’s Planning Program funds under 49 U.S.C. § 5305 (Section 5305) and FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula funds under 49 U.S.C. § 5307 (Section 5307) to assist with the development of PTASPs.
Transit operators may use a variety of other FTA funding sources for the implementation of their PTASPs, including Section 5307 funds, FTA’s State of Good Repair Program funds under 49 U.S.C. § 5337 (Section 5337), and FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities Program funds under 49 U.S.C. § 5339 (Section 5339). Those funding sources may be used for activities that are eligible under the applicable grant program, independent of the PTASP rule.
Because some State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) that are required by 49 C.F.R. § 673.11(d) to draft and certify PTASPs on behalf of small public transportation providers do not receive Section 5307 funds, States may use FTA’s Planning Program Section 5305 funds to develop PTASPs. FTA encourages State DOTs to coordinate with the Metropolitan Planning Organizations located within their States to determine whether the States should use Planning Program funds through Section 5305 for the one-time drafting and certifying of PTASPs for small public transportation providers.
For additional information on FTA Grant Programs, please see our website: https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/grant-programs.
The definition of “Accountable Executive” from 49 C.F.R. §673.5 of the PTASP final rule is: a single, identifiable person who has ultimate responsibility for carrying out the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan of a public transportation agency; responsibility for carrying out the agency’s Transit Asset Management Plan; and control or direction over the human and capital resources needed to develop and maintain both the agency’s Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. § 5329(d), and the agency’s Transit Asset Management Plan in accordance with 49 U.S.C. § 5326. The Accountable Executive may be a contractor if that person has control or direction over the human and capital resources needed to develop and maintain both the agency’s Safety Plan and TAM Plan.
For further technical assistance regarding the sufficiency of a transit agency’s organizational structure, please submit your question to the PTASP_QA@dot.gov email box.
The Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) regulation requires transit agencies to identify a CSO who has responsibility for safety and the authority and responsibility for the day-to-day implementation and operation of the agency’s Safety Management System. In rail transit agencies, the CSO may not serve in other operational or maintenance capacities. (49 C.F.R. §673.5). Supplementary FTA guidance provides that a rail transit CSO may have additional responsibilities that have a nexus to safety, including, but not limited to, security, asset management, and training. (See FTA’s Chief Safety Officer Factsheet). A rail transit agency’s State Safety Oversight Agency is responsible for determining whether it is permissible for a rail transit agency’s CSO to have additional responsibilities.
A Safety Management System (SMS) is a comprehensive, collaborative approach to managing safety. It brings management and labor together to control risk better, detect and correct safety problems earlier, share and analyze safety data more effectively, and measure safety performance more precisely.
SMS helps transit agencies apply resources to risk and ensure they have the organizational infrastructure to support decision-making at all levels regarding the assignment of resources.
Some key parts of SMS include:
- Defined safety roles and responsibilities;
- Strong executive safety leadership;
- Formal safety accountabilities and communication;
- Effective policies and procedures; and
- Active employee involvement.
Operators of public transportation systems that are subject to the PTASP rule must develop and implement SMS processes as part of their agency safety plans.
The key difference between SMS and system safety is how safety is managed under each approach. FTA’s PTASP rule requires transit operators to manage their safety risks through the implementation of SMS. SMS is a top-down, data-driven management system which involves the continuous collection and analysis of information that helps a transit operator become proactive about how it addresses safety risks. In contrast, system safety—a common transit industry approach to safety—is an engineering discipline that incorporates safety into a system during its design and construction.
System safety assumes that technical compliance with engineered solutions will result in safe operations. The safety plan requirements for rail transit agencies under FTA’s original State Safety Oversight Rule (49 C.F.R. Part 659) implemented system safety through 21 specific requirements for System Safety Program Plans (SSPPs). The major focus of system safety is to integrate risk management into the overall system engineering process rather than addressing hazards as day-to-day operational considerations.
While the system safety approach effectively resolves many hazards, new safety risks may emerge over time with deviations in work practices, performance changes in system equipment or component parts, degraded conditions, aging infrastructure, integration of old and new technologies, and workforce changes. Using methods prescribed in the typical SSPP, it is difficult to identify and assess these new safety risks. By using the principles of SMS, the PTASP promotes the collection and analysis of more information from the frontline, supervisors, automated systems, customers, audits of normal operations, and other activities to help the rail transit agency manage safety risks and regularly monitor the effectiveness of safety risk mitigation. SMS also brings accountability for safety to the top levels of the organization, so the PTASP final rule requires each transit operator to designate an accountable executive who is ultimately responsible for managing safety and allocating resources to improve safety. SMS requires each employee and function within an organization to assume responsibility for safety, not just the safety office. Two other key components of SMS are the safety risk management and safety assurance processes, where data is collected and analyzed, priorities are established, and solutions are introduced then measured against performance, and monitored and evaluated to ensure the solutions are effective.
A rail transit agency may use the safety process and procedures established under its SSPP as a baseline for SMS implementation under its new safety plan. Please refer to FTA’s PTASP website for a crosswalk document that provides guidance on how to transition an SSPP to a safety plan that meets the PTASP rule requirements.
SMS improves on the SSPP framework by integrating and harmonizing the various elements of a safety plan so that they work together to manage safety risks throughout all aspects of a transit agency’s operations. SMS provides structure and accountability to supply management with ongoing information about safety risks concerning an agency’s operations. SMS supports management decisions to prioritize actions and allocate resources to resolve identified safety concerns or reduce safety risk to an acceptable level. SMS also includes routine monitoring of service delivery operations in order to evaluate the safety performance of activities and programs.
No. Only operators of public transportation systems that are subject to this rule must develop and implement SMS processes.
To reduce the administrative, financial, and regulatory burdens on small public transportation providers, FTA has developed a condensed SMS framework for operators of 100 or fewer vehicles in peak revenue service. Small public transportation providers only need to develop processes for safety performance monitoring and measurement. A process for safety performance and monitoring will enable the agency to monitor its system for compliance with the agency’s procedures for operations and maintenance and identify and address inefficiencies. The process ensures that mitigations are implemented, adhered to, and effective.
Yes, a Chief Safety Officer or SMS Executive also can be responsible for security in their transit system. In rail transit systems, Chief Safety Officers cannot have additional operational and maintenance responsibilities, they must be dedicated to ensuring safety within the system as a full-time responsibility. Rail transit agencies may petition FTA to allow its Chief Safety Officer to serve multiple roles given administrative and financial hardships with having a single, dedicated, and full-time Chief Safety Officer. Similarly, FTA recommends bus transit systems that operate more than 100 vehicles in peak revenue service to have a dedicated Chief Safety Officer, given the increased safety risks in those systems, although, this is not a requirement.
Small transit providers who are Section 5307 Grant Program recipients and subrecipients may have their Chief Safety Officer serve other functions, including the areas of operations, maintenance, and grant administration. For these transit agencies, the Chief Safety Officer may be a full-time employee of the transit system who has responsibility for duties other than safety, a part-time employee of the transit system, or a contractor. To illustrate, in a small bus agency, the general manager or operations manager may be the same individual as the Chief Safety Officer or SMS Executive.
States must draft and certify safety plans on behalf of small public transportation providers, unless a small provider opts to draft and certify their own safety plan and notifies the State that they will do so. A small public transportation provider is an operator who meets all of the following requirements:
- Is a recipient or sub-recipient of FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Program,
- Operates 100 or fewer vehicles in peak revenue service, and
- Does not operate rail fixed-guideway public transportation.
Regardless of who drafts and certifies a safety plan, each transit operator is required to carry out and implement its own safety plan, including all SMS-related activities because each transit agency is in the best position to manage safety risks within their own system.
State Safety Oversight Agencies must review and approve the safety plans of each rail transit agency that is subject to their jurisdiction.
In addition to these requirements, each transit operator must provide the State in which it operates and its Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) with its safety performance targets to assist the State and MPO with the capital program planning process.
Yes, FTA’s intention is to match the definition of Tier II provider in the TAM rule with the definition of “small public transportation provider” in the PTASP rule. FTA interprets the definition of ”small public transportation provider” to include bus transit systems with one hundred (100) or fewer vehicles in revenue service during peak regular service across all non-rail fixed route modes or in any one non-fixed route mode. FTA is aware that the funding thresholds differ in the TAM rule’s Tier II definition and the definition of small public transportation provider in the PTASP rule. However, the revenue service thresholds are applied the same in both rules.
State Safety Oversight Agencies must review and approve the safety plan of each rail transit agency for which it has responsibility. FTA also offers a series of SMS courses designed to assist the industry, and intends to develop additional courses, as needed. For additional information, please visit: https://www.transit.dot.gov/PTASP.
FTA is providing the industry with templates, guidance documents, webinars, and technical assistance to assist with the development and implementation of safety plans. FTA also offers a series of SMS courses designed to assist the industry, and intends to develop additional courses, as needed. For additional information, please visit: https://www.transit.dot.gov/PTASP.
As part of PTASP requirements, transit agencies must set safety performance targets in their safety plans based on the following safety performance measures that FTA has established in the NSP:
- Safety Events, and
- System Reliability.
After establishing their safety performance targets, transit agencies provide them to their States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), along with their safety plans. State DOTs and MPOs must reference those safety performance targets and plans within the statewide transportation improvement program and statewide long-range plan and the MPO’s transportation improvement program and metropolitan transportation plan. The safety performance targets and performance-based plans should inform a transit agency’s investment priorities, and those investment priorities should be carried forward within the MPO’s and State DOT’s planning processes.
FTA and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have published a final rule on Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Planning that established new requirements for MPOs and State DOTs to coordinate with transit providers, set performance targets, and integrate those performance targets and performance plans into their planning documents by certain dates. As part of this performance-based approach, recipients of federal highway and transit funds are required to link investment priorities from their Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to achieve performance targets.
The PTASP rule requires the State or transit agency who drafted the safety plan to make its safety performance targets available to States and MPOs to aid in the planning process, and to coordinate with States and MPOs in the selection of State and MPO safety performance targets. MPOs will integrate transit agency performance targets and performance plans into their planning documents, including the TIP, by certain dates set in the FTA/FHWA planning rules. States will incorporate transit agency safety performance targets into their STIP. The safety performance targets will help States and MPOs to develop their investment priorities for upcoming transit projects within their jurisdictions for at least the upcoming four years. States, MPOs and transit agencies should coordinate with each other throughout this planning process.
You can find more information about Transportation Planning on FTA’s Website.
Through the implementation of its Transit Asset Management (TAM) Plan, required under 49 C.F.R. Part 625, a transit agency should consider the results of its condition assessments while performing safety risk management and safety assurance activities. The results of the condition assessments, and subsequent SMS analysis could inform a transit agency’s TAM Plan elements, specifically investment priorities. The Accountable Executive has the ultimate responsibility for decision-making throughout this process.
Please note, the PTASP final rule applies to only Section 5307 recipients and sub-recipients, and the TAM rule applies to all operators of public transit.
You can find more information about Transit Asset Management on FTA’s TAM website.
Please direct all inquiries to FTA’s dedicated e-mail address for the PTASP rule and SMS.
Are transit agencies required to submit their final Agency Safety Plan (ASP) to FTA?
No, transit agencies are not required to submit their final ASPs to FTA. Recipients of Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) grants, rail transit agencies in the State Safety Oversight program, and States will certify by the compliance deadline (and annually thereafter) that they have met all applicable requirements established in the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) regulation (49 CFR Part 673). FTA will use its existing Triennial Review process to confirm PTASP regulation compliance.
On April 22, 2020, the FTA published a Notice of Enforcement Discretion that effectively changes the PTASP regulation deadline to December 31, 2020.
Are tribal transit agencies required to develop an Agency Safety Plan (ASP)?
At the present time, the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) regulation is not applicable to tribal transit systems, unless they are recipients or subrecipients of Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) funds.
Small Public Transportation Provider Determination
Are vehicles that are not used for transit service included in the vehicles operated in maximum service (VOMS) count? Note: FTA uses VOMS, as reported to the National Transit Database (NTD), to classify transit providers as small public transportation providers.
No, VOMS does not include vehicles that are not providing public transportation service. FTA defines VOMS as “the number of revenue vehicles an agency operates to meet the annual maximum service requirement.” FTA’s definition of VOMS also excludes “atypical days” or “one-time special events.” See the NTD Reporting Policy Manual for the full definition.
Our transit agency has only one demand response vehicle operated in maximum service (VOMS) and one fixed-route VOMS. Does the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) regulation still apply to us?
Yes, if your transit agency provides public transportation service and is a recipient or subrecipient of Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) funds, the PTASP regulation applies to your agency.
Small Public Transportation Provider Requirements
Is a small public transportation provider required to have a Chief Safety Officer (CSO)?
Yes, a small public transportation provider must have a CSO. However, in some instances, especially with small transit agencies, a single individual may serve in both the Accountable Executive role and the CSO role. (Note that for small transit agencies, the CSO may also hold additional duties, such as in operations and maintenance.) For more information, please refer to FTA’s CSO SMS Executive Fact Sheet.
What process should a small public transportation provider use to “opt out” and develop their own Agency Safety Plan (ASP) instead of having the State develop it for them?
The Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan regulation does not require a specific process for small public transportation providers to “opt out” and develop their own ASP. However, it is important for a small public transportation provider and State to communicate with each other about ASP development. FTA encourages small public transportation providers to notify their State in writing of their decision to “opt out” to support record keeping. Additionally, FTA published the Guide to “Opting Out” of an Agency Safety Plan Developed by State Department of Transportation that provides sample notification text.
If a small public transportation provider is a direct Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) recipient, is the State responsible for developing their Agency Safety Plan (ASP)?
Yes, a State has the responsibility to develop an ASP for any small public transportation provider in the State, regardless of whether that provider is a direct recipient of Section 5307 funds, a subrecipient of the State, or a subrecipient of another entity. However, if a small public transportation provider opts to develop its own ASP and notifies the State of its intent to do so, the State is no longer required to develop the ASP for the small public transportation provider.
If our agency is a small public transportation provider that receives Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) grants and we have a subrecipient who is also a small public transportation provider, do we have to develop an Agency Safety Plan (ASP) for our subrecipient even though the State is developing our ASP?
No, the State is required to develop an ASP for all small public transportation providers in the State. This includes a small public transportation provider that may be a subrecipient of another small public transportation provider.
We are a small public transportation provider that has opted to develop our own Agency Safety Plan (ASP). Does our State still need to approve our ASP?
No, the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan regulation does not require the State to approve the ASP drafted by a small provider. Once you have opted to develop your own ASP and have notified the State of your decision, the development and approval of your plan is your agency’s responsibility.
We are a direct recipient of Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) funding, but at this time our public transportation services are fully brokered via contract (our provider is not a subrecipient). Is our agency responsible for developing and implementing the Agency Safety Plan (ASP)?
Yes, if you are not a small public transportation provider (see below), as the purchaser of transit services, you are responsible for meeting the requirements of the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan regulation. Your agency could request that your contractor develop elements of your agency’s ASP, but your agency, as the recipient of Section 5307 funds, is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with the regulation and certifying compliance annually—not the contractor. Alternatively, your agency could develop the ASP and ensure that your contractor follows it.
If you are a small public transportation provider, your State is responsible for developing your ASP unless your agency has opted out of a State-developed plan. (A small public transportation provider is a recipient or subrecipient of Federal financial assistance under Section 5307 that does not operate any rail service and operates 100 or fewer vehicles in non-rail modes during peak revenue service. All fixed-route service counts as a single mode, and each non-fixed-route mode counts individually.)
Are there any requirements for the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) related to the Agency Safety Plan (ASP) review and approval process?
The PTASP regulation does not include requirements for MPOs related to the ASP review and approval process. The regulation requires States and transit agencies to “make their safety performance targets available to States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations to aid in the planning process” (49 CFR § 673.15(a)). The regulation also states that “to the maximum extent practicable, States and transit agencies must coordinate with States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the selection of State and MPO safety performance targets” (§ 673.15(b)). Please see FTA’s PTASP Informational Guidance: Roles and Responsibilities fact sheet and also FTA’s MPO PTASP Frequently Asked Questions for information on the role of the MPO.
When can the Accountable Executive and Chief Safety Officer (CSO) be the same individual?
Bus agencies may either identify a CSO/SMS Executive or designate the Accountable Executive to serve as the CSO/SMS Executive. Rail transit agencies may allow the Accountable Executive to also serve as the CSO or SMS Executive but should consider whether the Accountable Executive has the capacity to support SMS implementation and operation along with other responsibilities. The rail transit agency’s State Safety Oversight Agency may provide further guidance on this topic based on its familiarity with the rail transit agencies under its jurisdiction. For more information, please refer to FTA’s CSO SMS Executive Fact Sheet.
Can a contractor’s employee be designated as the Accountable Executive when a transit system is managed and operated by a contractor?
Yes. An agency can designate a contactor as the Accountable Executive as long as the individual meets the requirements for the Accountable Executive role established in the PTASP regulation. Per § 673.5, the Accountable Executive is a single, identifiable person who has ultimate responsibility for carrying out the ASP of a public transportation agency; responsibility for carrying out the agency's Transit Asset Management (TAM) Plan; and control or direction over the human and capital resources needed to develop and maintain both the agency's Agency Safety Plan (ASP), in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5329(d) and the agency's TAM Plan, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5326.
Can the Chief Safety Officer (CSO) be an employee of our contractor or do they need to be an employee of our transit agency?
An agency can designate a contactor as the CSO as long as the individual meets the requirements for the CSO role established in the PTASP regulation. Per § 673.5, the CSO must be “an adequately trained individual who has responsibility for safety and reports directly to a transit agency's chief executive officer, general manager, president, or equivalent officer. A Chief Safety Officer may not serve in other operational or maintenance capacities, unless the Chief Safety Officer is employed by a transit agency that is a small public transportation provider as defined in this part, or a public transportation provider that does not operate a rail fixed guideway public transportation system.”
Are there any drafts or examples of Agency Safety Plans (ASPs) for small agencies to use as a reference when they develop their ASP?
Yes, FTA has published a Sample Small Public Transportation Provider Agency Safety Plan for States and small public transportation providers to use as an example of an ASP that meets the requirements of the PTASP regulation.
As a State, we do not apply for Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) funds. Our certifications and assurances do not apply to Section 5307 grants. Do we still certify in Transit Award Management System (TrAMS) for the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) requirements?
Yes, all States with applicable small public transportation providers must complete the PTASP certification in TrAMS by the compliance deadline. As a State making this certification, you are certifying that you have complied with all applicable PTASP regulation requirements. This means that you have developed an Agency Safety Plan (ASP) that meets all applicable PTASP regulation requirements for any small public transportation provider in your State that has not opted to develop its own ASP and notified your State. States should not complete the certification until they have met all of the applicable PTASP regulation requirements.
Are the Safety Management System (SMS) and the Agency Safety Plan (ASP) two separate documents?
No, your SMS is the process your agency uses to manage safety risk. Your ASP is a document that defines all of the processes you will use to operate your SMS. The ASP addresses the four required elements of your SMS: Safety Management Policy, Safety Risk Management, Safety Assurance, and Safety Promotion.
What is the difference between the approval of an Agency Safety Plan (ASP) and the certification made in the Transit Award Management System (TrAMS)?
The ASP approval that the PTASP regulation occurs at the transit agency level. For rail transit agencies, it is also conducted at the State Safety Oversight Agency. Your transit agency’s Board of Directors—or Equivalent Authority—is required to approve your agency’s ASP. By doing so, they are indicating that the ASP meets all applicable PTASP regulation requirements.
Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) recipients, rail transit agencies in FTA’s State Safety Oversight program, and States make the PTASP certification in TrAMS. By certifying, the entities are saying that their organization and all of their applicable Section 5307 subrecipients have met all of the applicable PTASP regulation requirements. This certification is not limited to the ASP document. It is a certification that the entity and all of its Section 5307 subrecipients have met all applicable PTASP regulation requirements.
Do we have to have our Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) certify for our agency as part of their overall safety requirements?
Under the PTASP regulation, there is no requirement for the MPO to certify, except in a case where the MPO is a recipient of Urbanized Area Formula Funding (Section 5307) funding and passes that funding to your agency as its subrecipient. In this situation, the MPO is required to certify compliance in TrAMS. The MPO is certifying that it, and all of its applicable subrecipients (including your agency), met all applicable PTASP regulation requirements.
Although an MPO is not required under Part 673 to certify, Section 673.15 may obligate them to coordinate with a rail transit agency in the selection and establishment of safety performance targets.
Are the appendices of the Agency Safety Plan (ASP) exempt from the approval process when the ASP is updated?
FTA has provided guidance that agencies can use appendices or referenced documents in their ASP to address PTASP regulation requirements. When your Accountable Executive signs the ASP and your Board of Directors or Equivalent Authority approves the ASP, they are indicating that the ASP meets the requirements of the PTASP regulation. Therefore, any referenced documents or appendices that are used to address PTASP regulation requirements would need to be part of the review process in order for the reviewer to confirm that the ASP meets PTASP regulation requirements. This applies to the initial ASP review and approval as well as the annual review and update process.
What is the time frame for an agency to have all personnel trained on the Agency Safety Plan (ASP)? Is this something that must be completed prior to the compliance deadline, or is there a time frame after the plans go into effect?
By the compliance deadline, your agency must have an approved ASP in place that fully complies with the requirements of the PTASP regulation. While there is no requirement for completing training prior to the compliance deadline, it may be beneficial for your agency personnel to understand their accountabilities and responsibilities as defined in the ASP. Training will help your personnel carry out the ASP as written. Agencies may consider training certain employees on processes defined in your ASP, but there are no specific training deadlines in the PTASP regulation. However, when an agency certifies its ASP, FTA expects that it is implementing its training activities.
Does the Agency Safety Plan (ASP) need to identify and address all of the training requirements of Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program (49 CFR Part 672)?
The ASP must address all applicable requirements and standards as set forth in FTA’s Public Transportation Safety Program. Your agency should include Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program requirements that apply to your agency’s designated personnel. State Safety Oversight Agencies may also require rail transit agencies to include this information in their ASPs.
Please direct all PTASP and SMS questions to FTA’s PTASP-TAC e-mail address.
To receive PTASP-related emails, enter your email address and select Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP).