Official US Government Icon

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Secure Site Icon

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Find the Latest Information on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 at FTA's Coronavirus landing page.

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Rail Safety

In response to Congressional concern regarding the potential for accidents and incidents on rail transit systems, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) added Section 28 to the Federal Transit Act (codified at 49 U.S.C. Section 5330). This section requires the FTA to issue a regulation creating the first state-managed oversight program for rail transit safety. 

2009 Rail Safety Statistics Report
March 2010
This Rail Safety Statistics Report uses information collected by FTA from the National Transit Database (NTD) and the SSO Program between calendar years 2003 and 2008. As applicable, this report also uses data supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the National Safety Council (NSC).

Charter for Transit Rail Advisory Committee for Safety
November 2009
Establishment of the Federal Transit Administration Advisory Committee for Transit Safety

Recommended Fire Safety Practices for Rail Transit Materials Selection Manual.
January 2009
The FTA Office of Safety and Security has teamed with the National Association of State Fire Marshals to update the Recommended Fire Safety Practices for Rail Transit Materials Selection Manual. The manual is comprised of research into the adequacy of existing railcar and bus fire safety standards and an investigation of potential improvements in test methods and criteria.

Operation Lifesaver, Toolkit on Light Rail Safety for Transit Agencies 
January 2009
The FTA Office of Safety and Security teamed up with Operation Lifesaver, Inc. to develop a toolkit on light rail safety for transit agencies. Able to be implemented as-is or customized by transit agencies, the kit includes information for adults and children, and includes posters, template speeches that your employees or advocates can deliver, activity books and cartoons for kids, and a full set of interactive activities that sneak safety education into games for kids from kindergarten to middle school. Many of the materials are bilingual (English and Spanish).

11th Annual State Safety Oversight Program Meeting Summary
October 2007
FTA held its 11th Annual State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota on September 17-20, 2007. This meeting was co-hosted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Metro Transit.

Commuter Rail Safety Study
November 2006
FTA worked cooperatively with the Federal Railroad Administration to identify frequency and causes of commuter rail accidents, direct FTA and FRA resources to address high risk causes and to raise industry awareness in identifying and implementing mitigation measures.

State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program Annual Report for 2005
October 2006
This document presents data provided by individual State Safety Oversight agencies and offer industry-wide analyses regarding accidents, probable causes and impacts.

Rail Safety Action Plan
September 2006
FTA has prepared this plan to focus attention on those safety incidents of greatest concern in the rail transit industry. The objectives of the report are to target the most frequent, highest risk causes of accidents, direct oversight and technical assistance resources, accelerate industry awareness, and spotlight mitigation practices and activities.

Fatigue Management Survey Results
September 2006
FTA conducted survey to identify and categorize fatigue management practices of rail transit agencies and oversight agencies affected by 49 CFR Part 659. This information was collected as part of the FTA’s response to the National Transportation Safety Board safety recommendations.

Implementation Guidelines for 49 CFR Part 659
March 2006
The Federal Transit Administration recently amended 49 CFR Part 659, Rail Fixed Guideway Systems; State Safety Oversight. FTA's revised Rule was published in the Federal Register on April 29, 2005. These Implementation Guidelines for 49 CFR Part 659 have been prepared to assist states and rail transit agencies in developing compliant programs based on the revised FTA Rule.

Resource Toolkit for State Oversight Agencies Implementing 49 CFR Part 659
March 2006
Sample "oversight agency program standard and referenced procedures" document that can be tailored by each affected oversight agency to develop a compliant Initial Submission. Also sample program requirements that can be adopted by the state oversight agency to support the development of compliant System Safety Program Plans and Security Plans at rail transit agencies. A sample "certification that the system safety program plan and the system security plan have been developed, reviewed, and approved" is also provided, as well as sample checklists for use by state oversight agencies in reviewing and approving rail transit agency submissions.

Reporting Template
September 1999
To allow for the individuality of reporting agencies, FTA allows each agency to develop its own reporting format, including items such as accident cause classifications. Some agencies have indicated that they would prefer to report using a standardized form. In response, FTA has developed this SSO Annual Reporting Template. This format is fully acceptable for Annual Certification and will help streamline the process.

Last updated: Friday, January 1, 2016