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Program Standard Technical Assistance Guide

FTA developed this Program Standard Technical Assistance Guide to provide guidance to states in implementing new regulations for State Safety Oversight (SSO) programs. The new SSO final rule, 49 CFR Part 674, replaces the current SSO rule at 49 CFR Part 659, and significantly strengthens each state’s authority and responsibility for overseeing safety at the rail fixed guideway public transportation systems (RFGPTS) within its boundaries. 

This new regulation implements mandates from the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21) (Pub. L. 112–141, July 6, 2012) designed to further strengthen each SSO Agency’s (SSOA) investigative and enforcement authority, and to equip each SSOA with the financial and personnel resources needed to effectively oversee the safety of each RFGPTS in its jurisdiction. 49 CFR Part 674 also requires SSOA personnel to have the proper training and certification for their roles. It requires SSO programs to be certified to federal standards by the FTA. It also outlines requirements for developing program standards, notifying the FTA of incidents and accidents, and monitoring corrective actions at the RFGPTS.

As specified in 49 CFR Part 674.27, each state must update its program standard to address MAP-21 statutory mandates and be consistent with the National Public Transportation Safety Plan and the rules for Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans, also implemented by the FTA to address 49 U.S.C. 5329 requirements. The updated program standard must identify the processes and procedures that govern the activities of the SSOA. Also, the SSO program standard must identify the processes and procedures an RTA must have in place to comply with the standard.

By following and using this guide, states will be able to update their program standards and ensure general conformance with 49 U.S.C 5329(e) and 49 CFR Part 674 requirements. The guide is not a minimum standard, but rather a tool for identifying activities and requirements that clearly address 49 U.S.C. 5329(e) and 49 CFR Part 674 elements. States may propose other methods for addressing these requirements; however, the FTA will not accept alternate methods unless they adequately address 49 U.S.C. 5329(e) and 49 CFR Part 674 requirements. 

The program standard specified in 49 CFR Part 674.27 requires nine sections:

  • Section 1: Program Management
  • Section 2: Program Standard Development
  • Section 3: Program Policy and Objectives
  • Section 4: Oversight of Agency Safety Plans and RFGPTS Internal Safety Reviews
  • Section 5: Triennial SSO Program Audits
  • Section 6: Accident Notification
  • Section 7: Accident Investigation
  • Section 8: Corrective Actions
  • Section 9: Annual Reporting
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