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Safety FAQs

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Because personalized, face-to-face training is very effective. And thus helps the transit industry improve in safety, security and operational areas.


SMS enables agencies to address any cultural and organizational problems that lead to safety hazards, identifying system-wide trends in safety, and managing emerging hazards before they result in incidents or accidents. SMS will help public transportation agencies, the States, and industry associations better prepare for and manage conditions that cause accidents.

MAP-21 provides the opportunity to incorporate SMS principles into the safety regulatory framework used by FTA for the public transportation industry and the States providing safety oversight for the rail transit industry and rural and small urban community transportation providers.

FTA and the transit industry have been presented with a rare opportunity to implement a modern regulatory framework that will help this vital industry flourish for generations. In the past, the conversation between regulators and industry has revolved around one central notion: compliance. As we stand up the first major safety regulatory system of the 21st century we have to seize this opportunity to change that conversation to address risk as well as compliance. SMS is the language that will allow this new conversation to occur.

Adopting SMS principles will further deepen the industry’s commitment to the safety of its passengers, employees, equipment and facilities and will strengthen its core competencies in accident investigation, hazard management, safety data acquisition and analysis, and internal auditing. Most significantly, SMS offers the promise of a stronger culture for employees and managers to work together to solve safety problems.


While travel by transit is the safest form of travel among all surface transportation modes, the potential for catastrophic events remains. Over the last decade, the public transportation industry has experienced several high-profile accidents that revealed significant gaps in the programs developed by FTA and the States to oversee public safety. Further, over the last decade, rates of fatalities and injury in public transportation have largely remained stagnant, while almost all other surface transportation modes have experienced significant reductions.


It is about transparency in FTA safety oversight activity of WMATA Metrorail and Metrobus, and providing a means for the public to track WMATA’s progress in implementing corrective actions to improve safety for passengers and employees.


Critical to FTA’s vision for safety is ensuring that individuals responsible for safety management system implementation and oversight have appropriate skills and training. Only through effective outreach and training programs will we be able to implement our safety strategies successfully. FTA will provide training opportunities as well as tools for agencies, such as training gap analyses to help agencies identify areas of training need. We will establish SMS training as part of the national safety training certification program and develop individualized training plans to promote and track training progress.


No. A state may be reimbursed for eligible activities from March 10, 2014, if it is certified. If the state is not yet certified, it may be reimbursed for eligible activities carried out from the date that their Certification Work Plan (CWP) is approved.


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