Office of System Safety
The Office of System Safety’s mission is to drive continuous improvements in transit safety through the implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS) methods and principles. The office works to achieve this mission by establishing effective policies for SMS adoption in the transit industry; identifying, prioritizing, and managing safety risk; and establishing a needs-based Safety Promotion Program.
The four main components of the Office of System Safety’s work and the associated office activities are outlined below. These components align with the elements of SMS.
- Develop and implement policies and guidance regarding transit safety.
Safety Risk Management
- Proactively address safety concerns impacting the transit industry and systematically apply FTA’s statutory oversight authority to improve the safety of the nation’s transit systems.
- Ensure the effective implementation of safety risk mitigations through the collection, analysis, and assessment of industry safety data.
- Develop and provide training, tools, educational resources, and technical assistance to the transit industry.
Paulina Orchard, Director
Paulina Orchard serves as the Director of the Office of System Safety in the FTA Office of Transit Safety and Oversight. Paulina has over ten years of experience in the Federal Government. Prior to her current role, Paulina managed the Safety Policy and Promotion Division in the Office of System Safety and served as the Safety Risk Management Coordinator, managing FTA’s internal safety risk management process. She started her tenure at FTA as a Program Analyst managing the FTA SMS Implementation Pilot Program, working with participating transit agencies to identify effective practices to support SMS implementation industry-wide.
Prior to joining FTA, Paulina worked to advance risk-informed decision-making and strategy development efforts at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Paulina holds a Bachelor of Arts from the George Washington University and a Juris Doctor and a Master of Laws from Duke University School of Law.