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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer: A State can receive funds once the grant is awarded. States will work with the FTA regional offices to develop their grant applications. Please refer to FTA’s cash management procedures in the most recent version of FTA Circular 5010.1 or consult your FTA regional office for additional information.
Answer: The grant application is currently available electronically through FTA’s TEAM system. States must coordinate with their Regional Office representative to register in TEAM. States must have their CWPs approved by FTA before they can complete the grant application in TEAM. The CWP template, a sample completed CWP, and technical assistance documents are available on the SSO program page.
Answer: SMS has worked well in other transportation industries facing challenges similar to our own including aviation, maritime and railroads, around the world, and at large and small agencies alike. SMS is scalable and effective across a broad range of organizations and applications. SMS is also now the safety policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and it is endorsed by the Transit Rail Advisory Committee on Safety (TRACS) and major public transportation industry associations. SMS is now required in the U.S. aviation industry ( It is also used in the maritime industry to address accidents and hazards caused by human factors (, and by the U.S. Coast Guard in their application of International Maritime Organization (IMO) principles, codes and standards to the domestic maritime shipping industry ( and, and by Transport Canada to support safety for passenger and freight railroad operations ( Both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the National Safety Council (NSC) endorse the principles of SMS. See the NTSB document at and the NSC documents at
Answer: States with a rail fixed guideway public transportation system (rail transit system) that is not regulated by the FRA, or any such system in the engineering or construction phase of development, are eligible to receive funding.
Answer: As of June 19, 2017, there were nine states that still require legislative action prior to FTA certification: Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
Answer: Transportation Safety Institute, U.S. DOT National Transportation Institute, Rutgers University Johns Hopkins University Volpe National Transportation Systems Center All have skilled professional training course development staff.
Answer: Usually from a cadre of gifted and dedicated transit industry professionals who volunteer their time to better the industry.
Answer: Recognizing the need for immediate assistance with the development of the transit safety oversight workforce, MAP-21 requires FTA to move forward with developing interim provisions for training and certifying this workforce in advance of the rulemaking process. Therefore, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 5329(c)(2), FTA has developed interim provisions for the certification and training of designated Federal, State, and other designated personnel who conduct safety audits and examinations and transit system personnel with direct safety oversight responsibility.
Answer: Because personalized, face-to-face training is very effective. And thus helps the transit industry improve in safety, security and operational areas.
Answer: SMS enables agencies to address any cultural and organizational problems that lead to safety hazards, identifying system-wide trends in safety, and managing emerging hazards before they result in incidents or accidents. SMS will help public transportation agencies, the States, and industry associations better prepare for and manage conditions that cause accidents. MAP-21 provides the opportunity to incorporate SMS principles into the safety regulatory framework used by FTA for the public transportation industry and the States providing safety oversight for the rail transit industry and rural and small urban community transportation providers. FTA and the transit industry have been presented with a rare opportunity to implement a modern regulatory framework that will help this vital industry flourish for generations. In the past, the conversation between regulators and industry has revolved around one central notion: compliance. As we stand up the first major safety regulatory system of the 21st century we have to seize this opportunity to change that conversation to address risk as well as compliance. SMS is the language that will allow this new conversation to occur. Adopting SMS principles will further deepen the industry’s commitment to the safety of its passengers, employees, equipment and facilities and will strengthen its core competencies in accident investigation, hazard management, safety data acquisition and analysis, and internal auditing. Most significantly, SMS offers the promise of a stronger culture for employees and managers to work together to solve safety problems.
Answer: While travel by transit is the safest form of travel among all surface transportation modes, the potential for catastrophic events remains. Over the last decade, the public transportation industry has experienced several high-profile accidents that revealed significant gaps in the programs developed by FTA and the States to oversee public safety. Further, over the last decade, rates of fatalities and injury in public transportation have largely remained stagnant, while almost all other surface transportation modes have experienced significant reductions.
Answer: It is about transparency in FTA safety oversight activity of WMATA Metrorail and Metrobus, and providing a means for the public to track WMATA’s progress in implementing corrective actions to improve safety for passengers and employees.
Answer: Critical to FTA’s vision for safety is ensuring that individuals responsible for safety management system implementation and oversight have appropriate skills and training. Only through effective outreach and training programs will we be able to implement our safety strategies successfully. FTA will provide training opportunities as well as tools for agencies, such as training gap analyses to help agencies identify areas of training need. We will establish SMS training as part of the national safety training certification program and develop individualized training plans to promote and track training progress.
Answer: No. The FTA is prohibited by federal transportation law from from granting waivers or extensions to the April 15, 2019 deadline. 
Answer: No. A state may be reimbursed for eligible activities from March 10, 2014, if it is certified. If the state is not yet certified, it may be reimbursed for eligible activities carried out from the date that their Certification Work Plan (CWP) is approved.


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