/April 2017, Issue 7

April 2017, Issue 7

April 2017, Issue 72018-12-07T13:10:49-04:00


Standards provide a powerful set of business-related tools for transit agencies of all sizes. They promote a culture of continual performance improvement and help mitigate risk. APTA’s Standards Development Program continues to strengthen its standards development activities with a focus on relevancy, safety and security.

By participating in the program, transit agencies and other key stakeholders are helping to establish a framework of shared rules and responsibility, best practices, and encouraging innovation. Standards help public transit professionals plan and deliver safer, more secure and reliable transportation systems. This solidarity is expressed by the hundreds of volunteers and subject matter experts who work tirelessly throughout the year to develop, deliver and approve documents for publication. Balloting of documents is critical to ensure a fair, open, balanced and consensus-based standards development process. APTA is actively working to improve individual participation and accountability at every level. This top-down approach ensures that we continually provide the highest level of value to the industry.


The Standards Development Oversight Council (SDOC) met in Washington, DC at the Legislative Conference to establish strategic priorities for APTA’s Standards Development Program and approve the 2018 fiscal year work plan and operating budget.

The SDOC also discussed strengthening ongoing relationships with allied organizations and federal agencies. In the upcoming weeks, members of the SDOC and APTA staff will actively engage in new standards development activities with IEEE, AREMA and AAR to reinforce the development and implementation of safety and security standards. The SDOC expressed an interest in continuing the participation in FTA’s latest Transit Safety Standards Project. The SDOC supports this initiative through participation on the newly formed Transit Safety Standards Working Group. The goal of the working group is to assist the FTA in identifying gaps in standards development activities using survey data, to prioritize issues based on industry needs, and to create a forum in which the industry can accelerate the development of standards documents.

The APTA Standards Development Program uses a wide variety of business tools to facilitate standards development. Principally, this is done through a combination of face-to-face meetings, audio and web conferences, and collaboration websites. Over the upcoming weeks, APTA staff will redesign the web pages related to the published standards library, public commenting, CEO review and collaboration pages for committees and working groups. The latest upgrades to the standards library website can be viewed at www.apta.com/resources/standards/Pages/default.aspx. These upgrades include (1) new “My Committees and Working Groups” link added to “For Members” navigation menu, (2) “Quick Link(s)” section added featuring new “Most Recently Published” link, (3) monthly publication schedule added detailing document review and commenting deadlines, (4) “Quarterly Report” navigation menu item added to view previous e-newsletters, and (5) “APTA Standards Quarterly Webinar Series” navigation menu added to view latest details about upcoming standards-related webinars.

If you have any suggestions for improvements in functionality or even different technologies that facilitate collaboration, please share them at standards@apta.com. Our team is determined to make the Standards Program’s published documents easily available for industry use as well as ensure APTA’s standards development process is as transparent and user-friendly as possible for both participants and stakeholders.

Brian Alberts is the new director of safety. He has over 10 years of work experience in the fields of safety and security, transportation policy, legislative affairs, asset management, and community planning. Brian comes to APTA from FTA as a senior program analyst/policy lead in the Office of Safety and Oversight, where he managed FTA’s Safety Standards Program (including reports to Congress and industry working groups); managed NTSB reports and recommendations; communicated with outside stakeholders including APTA, CTAA and others; authored safety-related rulemaking and guidance; and spoke on panels at major conferences and meetings. Brian is the lead for APTA’s Safety Audit Programs. He works closely with FTA/FRA on safety topics, leads peer reviews, and staffs the various safety committees.


The Bus Standards Policy and Planning Committee (Bus SPPC) has recently completed a restructuring exercise to make the group more effective by updating and streamlining many of its bylaws, policies and procedures, as well as its membership. The newly reformed committee is scheduled to meet prior to the Bus & Paratransit Conference to finalize priorities for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year. The Bus SPPC is responsible for facilitating the bus transit industry’s process for standards development activities through an open, transparent and consensus-based process. Restructuring of the Bus SPPC is very timely and in conjunction with the implementation of the new monthly publication schedule recently introduced. This new, aggressive schedule will allow the Bus SPPC to address the document review backlog and develop new bus standards at an accelerated rate. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Eugene Reed (ereed@apta.com or 202-496-4827).

The PRESS working groups are fully operational. A consultant has been hired to prepare strawman versions of six standards, three for Construction & Structural and three for Passenger Systems. Progress is in high gear on reducing the backlog of documents, and preparing several documents for public comment. In the third quarter of fiscal 2017, four documents have progressed to the RSPCC, and an additional seven are ready for CEO review. Three of the latter are new documents. Expect activity within PRESS to increase dramatically in the closing quarter of fiscal 2017 and the opening quarters of fiscal 2018. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Nathan Leventon (nleventon@apta.com or 202-496-4868).

On March 9, members of the APTA Urban Design Working Group, developing best practices for transit agencies interested in addressing the growing demand for bicycle mobility and connectivity to stations, met at APTA headquarters for an in-person meeting. “Bicycle Accessibility to Transit Facilities” will focus on bike parking and onboarding policies near facilities, with an expected publication date of September 2017. Future Recommended Practices on bicycles and transit will explore other issues to enhance connectivity. The next working group conference call will be Tuesday, April 25, at 1 p.m. EST. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Zach Smith (zsmith@apta.com or 202-496-4807).

On February 13-14, members of the APTA Sustainability Working Group met at APTA headquarters for an in-person meeting. They met to continue updates to the Recommended Practice “Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transit” and to continue developing the Recommended Practice “Social and Economic Sustainability Guidelines for Transit Agencies.” Both documents will enter public comment by June 1. For more information about these products, please contact Mark Teschauer at APTA (mteschauer@apta.com).

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