FTA: How Can We Keep Frontline Workers Safe?

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(Photo Courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit)

(Photo Courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit)

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is calling on industry and the public to provide input on potential transit worker safety mitigations, including potential minimum safety standards for Roadway Worker Protection programs as well as operator assault prevention.

FTA on Sept. 28 issued a Request for Information (download below) from industry personnel, researchers, contractors, government entities, transit users and other interested parties to help “make American transit safer for millions of frontline staff.” The RFI closes on Nov. 23, 2021.

“From 2010 to 2020, FTA has noted an average annual increase of 17% in the rate of all security events reported to the National Transit Database (NTD) per passenger boarding,” the Department noted in the RFI. “There also has been an increase in the rate of assaults on transit operators, defined by the NTD as the personnel (other than security agents) scheduled to be aboard vehicles in revenue operations, including vehicle operators, conductors and ticket collectors. Based on a review of NTD data, FTA also notes that other transit workers such as station managers, who do not meet the NTD definition of operators but are public facing, also experience assaults in transit systems.”

In 2019, FTA expanded its safety oversight capabilities when it established an internal Safety Risk Management (SRM) process to identify, assess, mitigate and monitor safety concerns affecting the transit industry. “The SRM process helps FTA determine effective and appropriate risk mitigations, such as technical assistance or regulatory responses, to support transit agencies in cultivating safer environments for their workers and riders,” FTA said.

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