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

Association News | Standards Development Program | Collaboration | The ROI |  Recently Published Standards



The webinar “Cybersecurity Risks and Implications for Public Sector Agencies and Defense-in-Depth Strategies” was held on Oct. 6, 2020. The webinar addressed the increasing incidence of cybersecurity threats during the pandemic, including the increased risk to public sectors and corresponding communities, and the ability of transit agencies to maintain a secure posture.

The National League of Cities and APTA provided an update on these threats and their impact on the cybersecurity landscape. Participants learned how to mitigate vulnerabilities and locate resources to improve their security profile. Jeff Nelson, vice chair, APTA, and general manager, Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLink), introduced the webinar’s panel of speakers. They included Kyle Malo, senior director of Cybersecurity and CISO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA); Michael A. Echols, MBA, CISSP, CEO and founder, MAX Cybersecurity LLC; and Andre Dickens, council member, City of Atlanta, Georgia. The webinar was moderated by Angelina Panettieri, legislative director-Information Technology and Communications, National League of Cities (NLC). To access the recording of the webinar, visit

System Safety Program Plan – FRA 49 CFR Part 270

A webinar on FRA’s final rule on System Safety Program (SSP) was held on Oct. 14, 2020. This webinar was the 3rd in a series on this topic which affects all intercity, commuter and high-speed railroads.  FRA and APTA staff jointly led the webinar where clarifications on the final rule were provided.  Additionally, this installment focused on comparisons between Part 673 (PTASP rule) and Part 270 (SSP rule).  This was of interest to many multimodal agencies that operate commuter rail and other FTA regulated modes.  To access the recording of the webinar, visit

TRANSCEND Virtual Event

Please join APTA this Oct. 21 and 22 for TRANSCEND. This virtual event will explore different perspectives of the six biggest questions facing the public transit industry in the year ahead. Don’t miss out on hearing from thought leaders, exchanging ideas and connecting with peers. Learn more and register for APTA’s TRANSCEND virtual event (no longer accessible).


Bus Transit Systems

The Bus Rapid Transit Working Group balloted and approved four documents to advance for public comment: “BRT Branding, Imaging and Marketing,” “Bus Rapid Transit Stations and Stops,” “Designing Bus Rapid Transit Running Ways,” and “Bus Rapid Transit Service Design and Operations.” They are posted on the APTA website. The working group chair and vice-chair are scheduling a call with the APTA staff advisor to discuss the next steps with this group.

The Brake & Chassis Working Group continues to have one document ready to be balloted, pending a final proofreading review by APTA staff, and two additional documents that were previously developed that require “affirming” or balloting. There have been delays due to other time priorities. APTA anticipates holding these ballots and/or affirming votes in October.

The Brake and Chassis Working Group usually meet in person twice a year to develop, review and finalize standards and recommended practices. The working group’s plans to meet in person has been canceled due to COVID-19. The group has committed to additional work/review via virtual meetings and calls; however, due to agencies’ preoccupation with COVID-19 impacts and responses, and the lack of a formal, dedicated, three-day, in-person review process, progress is slower.

The Standard Bus Procurement Guidelines Working Group has secured a contractor to manage the Standard Bus Procurement Guidelines (SBPG) revision scheduled to take place over the next 13 months. The contract has two phases, with Phase 1 covering the Technical Specifications. Phase 2 will cover other sections; however, this is an optional phase and is dependent on FY22 funding from APTA. The Phase 1 kickoff meeting was held virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The contractor for the Electric Bus Procurement Guidelines has been working with APTA on an appendix (Task 2) that will be attached to the SBPG describing how to use the bus language. They have begun work on Task 3 under their contract (the final task) on procurement language around infrastructure. Regarding Task 1, APTA staff continues to review the final comments on the electric bus language to ensure that the working group accepts any changes.

The Bus Operator Safety Training working group is planning its next meeting for late-October. This working group is working to establish a reoccurring monthly call. The Safety and Security Certification Working Group will hold a GoToMeeting call Oct. 5, with the working group chair, Kevin Jones, to discuss edits to the introduction sections; to discuss edits to Section 1.3 “Design-Build-Operate-Maintain”; and review the comments provided by a working group member. The Safety and Security Certification Working Group held a conference call Oct. 5. The working group discussed and reviewed the first four introductory sections and Section 1.3, and addressed comments. The working group’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Commuter, Intercity & HSR (PRESS)

The Electrical Working Group continues to hold bimonthly GoToMeetings, working on documents related to wire, cable, grounding, bonding, power distribution and intratrain communications. The Electrical, Inspection & Maintenance and Passenger Systems working groups continue to meet together every three to four weeks to continue revisions as part of the Emergency Systems TAG. Major progress has been made on the revision to “Emergency Lighting System Design for Passenger Cars,” and working group ballot is expected in early 2021, as are several additional Electrical and Passenger Systems Working Group documents.

One Mechanical Working Group document completed working group ballot in September. “End-of-Car Connections with Tightlock and Interlocking Knuckle-Type Couplers” was the first-ever PRESS publication and has undergone substantial changes as part of the balloted revision. Three new Mechanical Working Group standards completed public comment in September. All three standards are related to brake systems. Three Mechanical Working Group documents were published during September, including revisions to “Inspection & Maintenance of Type H-Tightlock Coupler Systems,” “Purchase & Acceptance of Type H-Tightlock Coupler Systems,” and “Secondhand & Reconditioned Type H-Tightlock Coupler Systems.”

Upcoming ballots within PRESS include revisions to “Truck Design,” “Wheel Flange Angle for Passenger Equipment,” “Installation of Wire & Cable on Passenger Rolling Stock,” and “Ampacities for Wire & Cable Used on Passenger Rolling Stock with Flame, Smoke & Toxicity Considerations.” The ballot of the new standard “Low-Speed Curving Performance” is expected in early November. Some of these documents may be held up due to the current editorial situation.

A virtual two-day meeting of the Mechanical Working Group will be held Nov. 4 and 5. Among the documents being worked on at the meeting will be “Passenger Axle Design” and “Safety Appliances for Rail Passenger Cars.” A kickoff meeting for revisions for four brake documents is also scheduled, as is comment resolution for “Truck Design,” “Low-Speed Curving Performance,” and “End-of-Car Connections with Tightlock and Interlocking Knuckle-Type Couplers.” Comment resolution for “Wheel Flange Angle for Passenger Equipment” is scheduled for Nov. 6.

The PRESS Construction and Structural Working Group recently completed working group ballots of documents that standardize requirements for seating as well as interior fittings on commuter, intercity and high-speed rail cars. The seat standard document has been entered into public comments phase. Additionally subworking groups meet every two weeks on work on “Design and Construction of Passenger Rolling Stock with Crash Energy Management (CEM)”, “Door Systems for New and Rebuilt Passenger Cars”, “Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys for Passenger Equipment Car Body Construction”, among others. Furthermore, the subject matter expert group is working on finishing addressing comments on the Fixed Workstation Tables standards. A virtual one-day meeting of the Construction and Structural Working Group will be held on November 12th.

PRESS has reached 50 percent compliance for over a decade, and the current level of compliance should be raised up to almost 60 percent by the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.


The MaaS Working Group and the Contracts with TNCs Working Group have both been active over the past few months. The “Guidelines for Transit Agencies to Begin Implementing MaaS” document is on schedule for completion of the initial draft by Sept. 30; however, it may experience minor delays in advancing to public comment due to a change in contracted editorial services. Additionally, this working group has developed rough drafts of a new document. The onset of COVID-19 has been a barrier and has lessened the bandwidth of participants; however, the group has maintained its schedule. The Contracts with TNCs Working Group held its most recent meeting on Sept. 14 and refined its document outline. The co-chairs of the Contracts with TNCs Working Group have been in regular communication with APTA staff.

Rail Transit Systems

The Rail Transit Operating Practices Working Group (OPWG) holds at least one leadership call each month to ascertain status of the sub-working groups and to weigh in on any outstanding committee issues. In the past few leadership calls, the OPWG also discussed plans for the fall virtual meeting.

On Sept. 6, the OPWG hosted the Part 2 of the two-part webinar series on defensive operations. The webinar was based on the “Defensive Operations” recommended practice document the group is working on. Leading up to the webinar, the group met several times to prepare and rehearse the webinar.

After the successful completion of the webinar, the leadership team, as well as APTA staff, have been occupied with planning for the fall virtual meeting. The fall virtual meeting is scheduled to be Nov. 12, and it will be three hours long. The agenda will include time to finalize outstanding documents. Currently, standards in progress include the following:

  • Standard for Track Allocation: The document has been prepared for the editor. After editing, the document will be balloted.
  • Defensive Operations RP: The official reading will be held during the week of Oct. 12, led by the key developers of the document and OPWG leadership. After the reading, the document will be put out for balloting.
  • Employee Development RP: The document came back from the full OPWG review and is at the stage of addressing comments.
  • Managing Changes Affecting Rail Operations RP: The document has been sent to the full OPWG for review.

The OPWG generally splits into smaller working groups assigning themselves to various recommended practices/standards. When the subgroup feels the document is well-drafted, that document will then be presented to the OWPG at large, for comments. The document undergoes the most strenuous review and feedback when the OPWG meets in person, twice annually. The OPWG had planned to meet in April 2020 and October 2020 to finalize outstanding documents before sending to ballot, and to prioritize the next piece(s) of work. These in-person meetings have been canceled due to COVID-19. The group has committed to additional work/review via virtual meetings and calls; however, due to agencies’ preoccupation with virus preparedness, and the lack of a formal, dedicated, three-day, in-person review process, progress is markedly slower.

The Rail Transit Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Working Group (VIM WG) hosted the first virtual meeting of the year on Tuesday, Oct. 13. In advance of the meeting, APTA staff put out a survey to the working group to gauge standard and recommended practices documents priorities. Among 26 working group members, 11 completed the survey. Survey results were shared during the meeting, and members have started to express interest in which documents they would like to work on. The VIM WG also plans to hold regular monthly leadership call.

Security & Emergency Management

The Security and Emergency Management working group had its last conference call Aug. 31, 2020. It has reviewed and edited the “Developing a Pandemic Virus Service Restoration and Recovery Checklist” white paper and the recommended practice regarding a Public Health Emergency, which will be readied for balloting. The working group now has contract support from Eagle Hill Consulting, LLC. Neil Crosier, King County Metro, will remain the group’s chair. The following documents had been published:

  • “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”
  • “Shelter of Transit Vehicles and Nonrevenue Equipment During Emergencies”
  • “Emergency Management Program”
  • “Safe Mail Handling”
  • “Security and Emergency Management Aspects of Special Event Service”
  • “Continuity of Operations Plan for Transit Agencies”
  • “Emergency Communication Strategies for Transit Agencies”

The Infrastructure and Systems Security working group had a conference call on Sept. 25 to discuss the status of recommended practices on track to be published and the development of new ones. The following documents were reviewed by the Security Standards Policy and Planning Committee and were published in September:

  • “Anti-Vehicle Barriers for Public Transit”
  • “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design”
  • “Security Lighting for Transit Passenger Facilities”
  • “Security & Emergency Preparedness Plan Development and Implementation Guide and Template”
  • “Identifying Suspicious Behaviors in Mass Transit”

The following document has been approved by the working group and was submitted for September’s public comment period:

  • “Security Risk Assessment Methodology for Public Transit”

Balloting continues on the “Trash and Recycling Receptacle” recommended practice. The working group continues to work on the Infrastructure Security Series: “Passenger Stations/Stops” recommended practice and “Security Considerations for Public Restroom Design” recommended practice.

The Enterprise Cybersecurity working group held a call Sept. 15 to discuss aligning its efforts with the CCSWG. It was discussed that both groups will meet jointly every other month. This will give both IT and OT professionals the ability to review the various standards or recommended practices being developed. The recommended practices “Supply Chain” and “Developing a Cybersecurity Program That Meets an Agency’s Needs” will be shared with the CCSWG for review. The SSI recommended practice has been revised based on recommendations from the public comment period. The contract for this working group contractor expired Sept. 18, and the group will be managed by APTA staff. The “Managing Cloud Vendor Risk” and “Password Alternatives” recommended practices have been balloted by the working group, and revisions will be made. The first joint CCSWG and ECSWG meeting is scheduled for Oct. 22.

The Control and Communications Security working group held a conference call Sept. 29 to discuss the progress of “The Use of SIEMs for Rail Wayside and Railcars” recommended practice. The “Securing Control and Communication System in the Rail Transit Environment” recommended practice is back from the APTA editor. The working group roster is being updated so both documents can be balloted. During the monthly call, an update was given on the security maturity model the group is working on. The working group continues to produce the SKIM. The goal of the SKIM is to ensure that members are seeing articles and receiving information related to the security of transit communications and control systems. The working group continues to discuss developing a document (guidance or recommended practice) that outlines the process to develop, maintain and execute a written plan for identifying and reducing cybersecurity risks and how to utilize the approach described by the voluntary standards and best practices developed under section 2(c)(15) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 272(c)(15)), as applicable.

Sustainability and Urban Design

The Urban Design Working Group chair held a conference call with the staff advisor to reexamine the updating of seven Urban Design standards documents:

  1. “Defining Transit Areas of Influence”
  2. “Forming Partnerships to Promote TOD and Joint Development”
  3. “Why Design Matters for Transit”
  4. “Design of On-Street Transit Stops and Access from Surrounding Areas”
  5. “Transit Agency Partnerships to Improve Urban Design and Enhance Service Effectiveness”
  6. “Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects”
  7. “Transit Parking 101”

Five of these documents will be ready for the standards review process by the end of October 2020.

The recommended practice “Defining Transit Areas of Influence” and the “Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects” documents do not currently have designated working group members updating them. However, both require minimal changes. The chair plans to update these documents in coordination with the staff advisor and others if needed.

The latest conference call was July 21. Working group members reviewed the rough drafts of their updated documents. Next steps include a final review by the staff advisor before submitting for review.

Another conference call is planned for late October (date TBD). This meeting will begin to wrap up the yearlong effort to update these documents. COVID-19 has somewhat delayed this work, and there have been issues with expanding the scope of work for some documents. Also, we are delayed with editing the documents before they are submitted to the review process.

Technology for Transit Systems

The technology standards program has been reactivated and is seeking to reconstitute its Standards Policy and Planning Committee (SPPC). The SPPC manages the standards development process for all technology-related standards working groups. Members of the Technology SPPC must be employed at APTA member organizations and willing to lead specific working groups that will be responsible for developing new and updating existing standards and best practices. Membership on the Technology SPPC is by appointment only. If you’re interested in participating on the Technology SPPC and/or corresponding working groups, please contact Nicole DuPuis at

Interested people should have backgrounds related to transit information technology, cybersecurity, signals, communications, data management and analytics, network administration, cloud services, technology procurements, electronics, transit operations and maintenance, application and/or software, enterprise supply chain, and risk management, electronic fare collection, mobile app development, zero-emissions bus technologies, or drones (unmanned aerial vehicles).


Top 3 Tips for Using Your Community’s Workspace

During these uncertain times, many of us are facing challenges with COVID-19, low ridership, travel bans, workforce reductions, and teleworking fatigue. These are all disruptive elements impacting our daily lives; however, using APTAconnect can help break through these barriers. Use these tips to help push through “physical distancing fatigue” and level up your networking and workflow:

  1. Revisit your email notification settings often. You may want to change notifications to real-time for any community or discussion list that addresses hot topics important to you. Be sure to use the consolidated Daily Digest to ensure you are made aware of all updates at the end of the day, including file uploads, discussion threads, and event registrations. This will help reduce the number of emails from APTAconnect to a single notification delivered once a day.
  2. Use the discussion posts. Use the discussion posts to ask questions and collect responses from transit professionals. You can gain thoughtful insights and/or network with other transit professionals. Share files, hyperlinks, and photos to add supporting materials and resources to your discussion posts.
  3. Be engaged. Most of us are either teleworking or practicing social distancing in the office. Either way, most of us are “in the office,” so you might as well participate. When you receive notifications for commenting on documents or to ballot a document, please respond. We have been able to accelerate work due to higher participation and contributions.


Starting this fall, APTA will begin collecting adoption and usage data related to its Standards Program. The goal of the initiative is to assess the industry’s compliance with consensus-based standards and best practices. The data will be used to illustrate which segments of the transit industry are using standards and the impact on overall safety and security. The data will also identify which standards are most used and which are not. This effort will allow APTA to determine the value of its standards and the impact they have on reducing risk and improving safety and security. On Oct. 15, visitors to the standards website will be asked to complete a pop-up survey to identify their intended use/purpose for using a standard-related document. This data will be aggregated with document downloads and unique web page visits to kick off this initiative.


  • APTA PR-M-RP-002-98, Rev. 2, “Inspection and Maintenance of Type H Tightlock Coupler Systems”
  • APTA PR-M-RP-003-98, Rev. 2, “Purchase and Acceptance of Type H Tightlock Coupler Systems”
  • APTA PR-M-RP-004-98, Rev. 2, “Secondhand and Reconditioned Type H Tightlock Coupler Systems”
  • APTA SS SIS-RP-001-10, Rev. 1, “Security Lighting for Transit Passenger Facilities”
  • APTA SS-SIS-RP-007-10, Rev. 1, “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) for Transit Facilities”
  • APTA SS-SIS-RP-009-10, Rev. 1, “Anti-Vehicle Barriers for Public Transit”
  • APTA SS-SRM-RP-001-09, Rev. 2, “Development and Implementation of a Security and Emergency Preparedness Plan (SEPP)”
  • APTA SS-SRM-RP-009-09, Rev. 1, “Identifying Suspicious Behavior in Mass Transit”
  • APTA SUDS-UD-GL-010-20, “Transit Universal Design Guidelines”
  • APTA PR-CS-S-034-99, Rev. 3 “Design and Construction of Passenger Railroad Rolling Stock”
Back to the top
Print Friendly, PDF & Email