1. Why did FTA develop an Interim Provisions for the Safety Certification Training Program?
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.
2. I keep hearing about Safety Management Systems (SMS) from FTA; and now, I’m seeing it in the Interim Provisions training, how exactly will SMS help transit? And, where can I learn more about it?
To help a safe industry stay safe and become even safer, FTA is adopting Safety Management Systems (SMS) as our new safety regulatory framework. With a focus on organization-wide safety policy, proactive hazard management, strong safety communication between front line employees and management, targeted safety training, and clear accountabilities and responsibilities for critical safety activities, SMS provides an enhanced structure for addressing expectations specified by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). SMS also provides dedicated tools and approaches to help FTA implement outstanding recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding needed improvements in safety and oversight programs in both rail and bus modes. FTA has integrated various levels of SMS elements into the Interim Provisions to help a safe industry become even safer.
FTA has adopted Safety Management Systems (SMS) as our new safety regulatory framework. With a focus on organization-wide safety policy, formal methods for identifying hazards, controlling their potential consequences, continually assessing safety risk, and promoting an effective employee safety reporting system, SMS provides a new structure for addressing expectations specified by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). For more detailed information on how FTA plans on implementing SMS, go to the following link: FTA - Transit Safety and Oversight - Safety Management Systems (SMS)
3. How long do I have to complete the Interim Provisions Training? And, will the Interim Provisions coursework count toward the Final Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program?
FTA proposes that participants of the interim safety certification training program have three years to complete the training requirements.
4. What is the difference between participants in the Interim Provisions for the Safety Certification Training Program and participants in the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan?
The Interim Provisions covers Federal, State, and other designated personnel who conduct safety audits and examinations of public transportation agencies and transit system personnel with direct safety oversight responsibility.
There is another group of transit employees to be trained under the “Transit Agency Safety Plan”; this group does not have direct safety oversight responsibility. Public Transportation Agencies must develop a Public Transportation Safety Plan (transit agency safety plan) that is approved by the board of directors of the transit agency and certified by the recipient or the State. The participants in this plan will most likely be required to take training required by their individual transit agency. A critical element of SMS is safety awareness at all levels of an organization. FTA is developing a one-hour Safety Management System Awareness course that will have universal applicability throughout the public transportation industry. Therefore, FTA is also encouraging that transit system personnel at all levels voluntary participate in the one-hour SMS Awareness training as it becomes available.
5. I’m from a small bus transportation agency and have direct responsibility for safety oversight; will I be required to complete the same requirements as an employee directly responsible for safety oversight at a large transit agency?
No, however, FTA has developed a voluntary component in the Interim Provisions for the Safety Certification Training Program for employee’s who have direct responsibility for safety oversight of bus transit agencies.
6. I work in operations for a transit agency and I am directly responsible for safety. However, I don’t seem to fit into the categories listed in the Federal Register Notice, should I participate in the Interim Provisions?
Initially, the interim training program will primarily focus on enhancing the technical competencies and capabilities of those persons responsible for direct safety oversight of rail fixed guideway public transportation systems (rail transit systems) and the Federal and State personnel who conduct safety audits of these systems. This approach recognizes the impact of recent bus and rail transit accidents and incidents that prompted the safety certification training requirements in MAP-21.1 However, many of the provisions of the interim program will also benefit personnel with bus safety oversight responsibilities; therefore, participation in applicable courses is encouraged.
7. How much of the formula funds can be used for training?
Recipients of sections 5307 or 5311 funds may use up to 0.5 percent of those funds to cover up to 80 percent of the cost of participation by an employee who has direct safety oversight responsibility for the public transportation system. Likewise, participation by SSOA personnel with direct safety oversight responsibilities will be an eligible expense for section 5329(e)(6)(A) funds.
8. I have already received my Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP) Certificate from the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI); will I get credit for taking the TSSP Certificate courses for the Interim Provisions, and how is the TSSP different from the curriculum in the interim training program?
FTA's interim program coursework which contains different competencies than those in the TSSP. Therefore, FTA proposes that no credit will be transferred from prior education or experience into the interim program. More specifically, the current TSSP program was designed to address competencies that support the development and implementation of system safety, security, and emergency management program plans. The interim program promotes the development, implementation and oversight of SMS safety policies, risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion programs and initiatives through the effective use of SMS tools and techniques.
The objectives within the SMS curriculum were built from FTA’s SMS framework which uses a different approach to identifying hazards and controlling their potential consequences, continual assessment of safety risk, and an effective employee safety reporting system.
9. What happens next and how can I stay involved in this process?
FTA has published the interim provisions for comment. For the interim provisions, please visit the Federal Register Notice (PDF). Please provide FTA with your comments at Regulations.gov. FTA requests comments by and will accept comments to the extent possible after that date.
After FTA reviews the comments collected through this notice, FTA may publish a subsequent notice indicating any substantive revisions that may be warranted based on public comment. In the alternative, should public comments indicate that no substantive revisions are necessary, FTA will publish guidance for implementing the requirements noted in the Federal Register.
After the interim provisions are in place, FTA will prepare a Public Transportation Certification Training Program, which will be established by regulation. Regulations are developed in two major steps – a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and a Final Rule. FTA will share each in the Federal Register with an opportunity for public comment.
1 See generally, H.R. Rep. No. 112-557, at 603 (2012).