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Using Your Safety Management System (SMS) to Mitigate Infectious Disease and Respiratory Hazard Exposure

Transit agencies nationwide have led a historic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the industry continues to recover and adapt, transit agencies are implementing new and enhanced measures to ensure the safety of their employees and passengers and increase public confidence in transit. FTA is committed to helping the public transportation industry in the U.S continue to recover and adapt.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law requires that transit agencies subject to the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (PTASP) regulation include strategies in Agency Safety Plans (ASP) to minimize exposure to infectious diseases, consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or a State health authority.

FTA encourages each transit agency to consider identifying mitigations or strategies related to exposure to infectious diseases and other respiratory hazards such as smoke or residue from controlled substances through the Safety Management System (SMS) Safety Risk Management process described in the agency’s ASP. 

Current Resources

Transit agencies may find the following resources useful as sources of hazard identification data and potential mitigations to inform the Safety Risk Management process. This list is non-exhaustive and is provided for technical assistance only.

The content linked below is available for historical purposes. FTA is no longer updating this content and it may not reflect current COVID-19 guidance.

Transit COVID-19 Response Program Information Collection

From March 2020 to September 2022, FTA collected information from FTA recipients and subrecipients on the impacts of COVID-19, including transit workforce counts, service impacts, and transit worker positives, fatalities, and recoveries. All agencies that provided transit service and submit reports to the National Transit Database as urban reporters or tribal transit agencies reported this information directly. State recipients of Section 5311 grants are reported on behalf of their applicable subrecipients. FTA used this data to inform FTA actions in support of the transit industry’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and implementation of the federal mask requirement for public transportation.

While reporting is no longer required, agencies may access previously submitted baseline and recurring forms on FTA’s Transit Integrated Appian Development Platform for information and to update any previous responses as needed.

Federal Mask Requirement

From January 2021 to April 2022, the federal government required masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs. As a result of a court order, effective April 18, 2022, the CDC's January 29, 2021 Order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. As of April 18, 2022, the CDC stopped enforcing its Order, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) stopped enforcing its mask-related security directives.

This does not preclude transit agencies or local governing bodies from implementing their own requirements for face masks. Transit agencies may continue to recommend or require face masks on public transit. The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.


Mental Health, Wellness and Self-Care

COVID-19 Pandemic