Get the latest information on the work being done by the public transit industry’s standards development program.

Message from the Chair | Association News | Standards Development Program | Collaboration | The ROI |  Recently Published Standards


Washington, DC – The Standards Development Oversight Council (SDOC) governs all activities related to APTA’s standards development. The SDOC provides overall direction for the development and maintenance of standards in the public transportation industry. It is imperative that the members of the committees and subcommittees review and approve document publication requests in a timely fashion. This is important to ensure that APTA standards development policies are being adhered to, which accelerates our document update process.

A new way for us to communicate is APTA’s latest innovation, APTAconnect, an online platform designed to increase member engagement. APTAconnect is more advanced and user-friendly than APTA’s earlier committee collaboration pages and will help you stay better engaged with colleagues between conferences and committee meetings.

The APTAconnect platform is for discussions, networking and collaboration. This is the place to ask questions and provide answers. It’s also a way to share best practices and learn from one another and provide an opportunity to share resources and documents. Meeting notices, agendas, and documents will be posted at

APTA’s staff rolled out this initiative as a pilot to several committees and it was well received. If you are on an APTA committee, you have already been given access through your APTA account. I encourage you to visit your online communities and participate in the discussions to help make committee membership even more valuable. The shift from collaboration pages to APTAconnect might have some growing pains associated with changing from one application to another, so please be patient as we all work together to maximize the new service.

APTAconnect will be a great tool in moving more of our standards development activities to web conferences and conference calls, reducing the number of face-to-face meetings required to one a year. This tool also will reduce costs and travel time away from the office and give us the ability to accomplish much more between meetings.


The APTAU 2019 “FutureView” Webinar Series

APTAU continues to offer its new, six-part marquee webinar series, FutureView, which brings together practitioners from all facets of our industry to analyze and address the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing public transportation today and into the future.

You can still register for the next FutureView webinar on “Increasing Bus Electrification in the Transit Industry – Workforce Implications”, from 3:00-4:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, September 11. A recording will also be posted on APTAU Learning shortly after the live webinar.

APTAU’s in-house team of industry experts and renowned speakers from across the industry invite participants to join them in discussing such critical topics as travel behavior trends, mode loyalty, approaches to Mobility as a Service, public transit system vulnerabilities, emerging technologies, workforce development, strategies for building political support for public transportation and more. Through the FutureView series, APTA members share insights and best practices with their peers and discover strategies to better position their systems and businesses to capitalize on and define the changing mobility landscape. As an industry, we can write our own future. See what yours might look like with APTA’s FutureView!

You can view the first four webinars in the FutureView series at any time.


Bus Transit Systems

The Brake and Chassis Working Group leadership hired a new contractor to accelerate the review and publishing of documents. The group had two full working sessions in the first half of 2019. They met Feb. 14-15 at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority facility in St. Petersburg, FL, and May 22-23 in Louisville, KY. The group successfully balloted four documents. Both APTA-BTS-BC-RP-008-18, Transit Bus Brake Valve Treadle Assembly Maintenance, and APTA BTS-BC-RP-001-05, Transit Bus In-Service Brake System Performance Testing, have gone through public comment and CEO review. The two others, Remanufacturing or Rebuilding of Transit Bus Brake and Chassis Components and Troubleshooting Transit Bus Air Systems, will complete public comment in September 2019. The contractor is making the final changes requested by the voting members and the document will be ready for public review. The group has scheduled its next meeting for Sept. 11-12 at Detroit DOT’s facilities to work on two topics: disc brake (on/off) and S-cam.

The Bus Rapid Transit Working Group held its first in-person meeting in Hartford, CT, Jan. 9-10, hosted by Connecticut DOT. The group reviewed six recommended practices and decided on how to approach the update of the documents. It decided to merge two of the documents into one, then the five subgroups began work on revising the documents. The full working group met Aug. 6-7 in Minneapolis, hosted by Metro Transit, where members continued progress on these documents.

The Bus Procurement Guidelines Working Group has completed its update of the new electric bus components, submitting the new section to the larger working group in February. The new section received more comments and revisions than anticipated from the larger working group membership. These comments were addressed via a series of four-hour conference calls and consensus was reached on several outstanding topics (surrounding warranty and other issues). The document is now ready for public comment. We anticipate a great deal of interest in the proposed document and the likelihood of receiving many comments to be reviewed.

Passenger Rail Equipment Safety Standards (PRESS)

The Construction and Structural Working Group continues to update several documents: APTA-PR-CS-S-006-98, Attachment Strength of Interior Fittings for Passenger Railroad Equipment; APTA-PR-CS-S-007-98, Fuel Tank Integrity on Non-Passenger Carrying Passenger Locomotives; APTA-PR-CS-S-011-99, Cab Crew Seating Design and Performance; APTA-PR-CS-S-012-02, Door Systems for New and Rebuilt Passenger Cars; APTA-PR-CS-S-015-99, Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys for Passenger Equipment Car Body Construction; APTA-PR-CS-S-016-99, Passenger Seats in Passenger Rail Cars; APTA-PR-CS-S-018-03, Fixed Workstation Tables in Passenger Rail Cars; APTA-PR-CS-RP-019, Pushback Couplers in Passenger Rail Equipment; and APTA-PR-CS-S-035-19, Alternative Design and Construction of Passenger Railroad Rolling Stock.

The Mechanical Working Group published several documents related to Passenger Electronic 26C Emulation Braking System—Performance Requirements, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Braking System—Performance Requirements, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Brake System Cable, Connectors & Junction Boxes—Performance Requirements, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Brake DC Power Supply—Performance Requirements, Intratrain Communication Requirements for ECP Cable-Based Passenger Train Control Systems, ECP Cable-Based and Passenger Emulation Braking System—Approval Procedure, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Braking System—Interoperability Procedure and ECP Passenger Brake System—Configuration Management.

The Inspection and Maintenance working groups advanced several documents to public comment, including a revised APTA PR-IM-S-001-98 Passenger Rail Equipment Battery System Periodic Inspection and Maintenance, APTA PR-IM-S-004-98 Passenger Car Handbrake Periodic Inspection and Maintenance, APTA PR-IM-S-006-98 Passenger Car Draft Gear Periodic Inspection and Maintenance, APTA PR-IM-S-008-98 Passenger Car Electrical Periodic Inspection and Maintenance, APTA PR-IM-S-009-98 Passenger Car Tread Brake Shoe and Disc Brake Pad Periodic Inspection and Maintenance, APTA PR-IM-S-010-98 Passenger Car Brake Disc and Disc Brake Unit Periodic Inspection and Maintenance, APTA PR-IM-S-014-99 Modification Methodology for the Periodic Inspection and Maintenance of Passenger Cars, and APTA PR-M-S-018-10 Powered Exterior Side Door System Design for New Passenger Cars.

Rail Transit Systems

The Operating Practices Working Group published the new recommended practice Crash and Fire Protected Inward and Outward Facing Audio and Image Recorders in Rail Transit Operating Compartments and revised previous recommended practices for Rail Transit System Customer Relations and Rail Transit Systems Station Procedures.

The Operating Practices Working Group has also revised the standards for Rail Transit System Emergency Management Requirements, Standard for Training Rail Operators, Standard for Train Operating Personnel Returning to Work, Standard for Train Operator Hours of Service, Transit Supervisory Program Requirements, and Standard for Fitness for Duty.

The Elevator and Escalator Technical Forum published revisions to recommended practices Heavy Duty Transportation System Escalator Design Guidelines and the recommended practice for Heavy Duty Machine Room Less Elevator Design Guidelines.


The Security and Emergency Management Working Group continues to develop several documents related to emergency management programs, safe mail handling, continuity-of-operations-programs (COOP), security and emergency management aspects of special events, and emergency communication strategies. The group has balloted and advanced five documents for public comment: First Responder Familiarization of Transit Systems, Regional Emergency Planning and Participation in Mutual Aid, Creating an Alternative or Backup Operations Control Center, Suspension of Service of Public Transportation System, and Recovery and Shelter of Transit Vehicles and Nonrevenue Equipment During Emergencies.

The Infrastructure & Systems Security Working Group continues to review several documents, including Physical Security for Public Transit, Security Considerations for Public Transit, Station Security, and Security Risks.

The Enterprise Cybersecurity Working Group is preparing a recommended practice, Supply Chain, for working group ballot. Meanwhile, the Control and Communications Security Working Group is reviewing a proposal for expanding the use of its railcar white paper.

Sustainability and Urban Design

The Urban Design Working Group is updating APTA-SUDS-UD-RP-007-13, Integrating Art into Capital Projects. The group met in February to discuss final revisions to the document. It was sent for working group ballot in mid-March and was approved on April 10. The group is finalizing a recommended practice on Transit Urban Design Guidelines. It will be sent for working group ballot shortly after the editing process is completed and then sent for final approval. The group convened in Boston on July 31 to review existing Urban Design Standards documents and prioritize updating each.

The Sustainability Working Group continues to make progress on its update to APTA SUDS-CC-RP-002-11, Guidelines for Climate Action Planning. The group met in February and met again at the end of July to finalize the draft.

The Transit Asset Management Working Group published APTA SUDS-TAM-RP-005-19, Improving Asset Management Through Better Asset Information, and APTA SUDS-TAM-RP-004-19, Communicating Your Transit Asset Management Plan, in early 2019. Two documents are currently going through the publication development process: Building Internal Stakeholder Support for Your Asset Management Program and Communication and Coordination with External Stakeholders for Transit Asset Management. These documents are expected to be published by the end of 2019. The group met in August to discuss finalizing the Recommended Practice for Procuring Software to Support Transit Asset Management, as well as topics for new guidance.


The Path Forward

You don’t have to see the person you’re communicating with to share your thoughts. The use of email, texting, instant messaging, web conferencing, video chatting, and social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it possible to conduct discussions without being present for a meeting.

There are pros and cons for technology-based versus face-to-face communications for business professionals. The APTA Standards Development Program is moving forward using a technology-enabled model. While in-person communication is generally preferred by most members and permits better networking and social interactions, web conferencing, instant messaging, and email provide increased bandwidth for conducting discussions and accelerate the development process.

Time is the greatest barrier to our work. Finding a time when all stakeholders can meet in person to have a discussion is challenging. Technology-enabled discussions greatly reduce this factor by providing short, concise discussion opportunities, recordings, file sharing and information in real time, and allowing for continued discussions when the group is not convened. Face-to-face meetings will not be eliminated, but they will be curtailed to one meeting a year, and web or video conferencing will increase in addition to the use of collaboration tools like APTAconnect to share files and conduct curated conversations on various topics. These changes provide huge gains by reducing meeting and travel costs and they give stakeholders more time to provide their insights into the development of our documents.


Your Feedback Is Important!
What are the gaps in industry standards and federal regulations that you feel APTA Standards should address during Fiscal Year 2020? Please take a moment to complete this one-question micro survey.

FTA conducted an independent evaluation of APTA’s Standards Development Program in September 2018. Overall, results were positive, and the information below conveys stakeholders’ satisfaction rate.

Question: Does your organization see a cost or time savings benefit or value from the standards publications?

Cost or Time Savings Benefit Pie Chart

Question: Does your organization see a cost or time savings benefit or value from the standdards publications?

Cost or Time savings Benefit or Value from published APTA Standards documents


  • APTA SUDS-TAM-RP-004-19, Communicating Your Transit Asset Management Plan
  • APTA RT-OP-024-19, Crash and Fire Protected Inward and Outward Facing Audio and Image Recorders in Rail Transit Operating Compartments
  • APTA RT-EE-RP-001-02, Rev. 3 Heavy-Duty Escalator Design Guidelines
  • APTA RT-EE-RP-004-02, Rev. 3 Heavy-Duty Machine Room-Less Elevator Design Guidelines
  • APTA RT-OP-RP-008-04, Rev. 2 Rail Transit Customer Relations Programs
  • APTA RT-OP-RP-009-04, Rev. 2 Rail Transit System Station Procedures
  • APTA RT-OP-RP-019-14, Rev. 1 Rail Transit Operations Supervisor Program Requirements
  • APTA RT-OP-RP-015-09, Rev. 1 Train Operator Hours-of-Service Requirements
  • APTA SS-CCS-WP-005-19, Securing Control and Communications Systems in Transit Bus Vehicles and Supporting Infrastructure
  • APTA PR-M-S-020-17 R1, Passenger Electronic 26C Emulation Braking System—Performance Requirements
  • APTA PR-M-S-021-17 R1, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Braking System—Performance Requirements
  • APTA PR-M-S-022-19, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Brake System Cable, Connectors & Junction Boxes – Performance Requirements
  • APTA PR-M-S-023-19, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Brake DC Power Supply—Performance Requirements
  • APTA PR-M-S-024-19, Intratrain Communication Requirements for ECP Cable-Based Passenger Train Control Systems
  • APTA PR-M-S-025-19, ECP Cable-Based and Passenger Emulation Braking System—Approval Procedure
  • APTA PR-M-S-026-19, ECP Passenger Cable-Based Braking System—Interoperability Procedure
  • APTA PR-M-S-027-19, ECP Passenger Brake System—Configuration Management
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