In the News
The Impact of Rules and Standards on Public Transit
Development of APTA standards is an important element of the services APTA provides. Many of our standards are written so that they can be referenced in federal regulations, such as those associated with the Federal Railroad Administration. There are benefits to writing rules using APTA standards; the industry can best apply its expertise to promulgate standards that are achievable and improve safety, and the industry can complete a standard in less time than writing a federal rule from the start. The industry is expected to follow and abide by the standards that APTA writes, which is especially important when they are referenced in federal law. New standards are under development to address critical safety issues related to railcar derailment, wheel assembly and new product design, such as electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brake systems. These new standards are expected to appear and contribute to development of federal regulations.
Standards Development Program Highlights
Opt In to Collaboration Websites Alerts
The new collaboration websites are already allowing work groups to work more efficiently throughout the year and not just at meetings. Members are able to share files and hyperlinks, collaboratively review and edit documents in real time, vote and comment, or conduct lengthy discussions online. Alerts are one of several key features that expand the functionality of the collaboration sites. Work group participants can set up a series of alerts to notify them of content changes found on their collaboration site. Once an alert has been set up, the collaboration website will send notifications via email or text message to participants. Individual participants must opt into the alert system. Participants can customize the frequency and specify the content they would like to be notified about.
Leading from the Top
Senior management support of the Standards program demonstrates their commitment to having a safe and efficient transit agency. When senior management endorses the Standards program and published Recommended Practices, they are holding their agency up to industry standards and benchmarks. Is your agency using APTA Standards? Are your managers educated on the program and encouraging their use? Ensure that your agency is up to date with the Standards program and following industry leading best practices.
About the Program
2016 Is Our Year!
The 2015-2019 APTA Strategic Plan aims to bring APTA and its membership a step closer to realizing APTA’s TransitVision 2050; an energy-efficient, multimodal, environmentally sustainable transportation system to drive America forward. APTA has identified five strategic goals to address key challenges and opportunities over the next four years: Safety and Security, Resource Advocacy, Workforce Development, Demographic Shifts and Technological Innovation in Public Transportation.
The work of APTA’s standards development program is an essential element of the core strategy that will be used to achieve the organization’s goals. The following excerpt from the 2015-2019 APTA Strategic Plan details goals and strategies that directly impact the standards development program:
Goal #1- Safety and Security First: Promote, develop and support continuous improvement of safe and secure public transportation systems.
Goal #5- Technological Innovation: Lead and serve member efforts to evaluate, develop and adapt to emerging technologies.
In short, the next four years will be an ambitious undertaking to review existing standards and ensure the continued development of new standards.
For more information about APTA’s standards development program, visit: www.apta.com/resources/standards or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rail Transit Systems
The Operating Practices Working Group (OPWG) and Vehicle Inspection & Maintenance Working Groups (VIM) are very active with the development of standards.
The OPWG published a standard for “On-Track Equipment Safety Requirements” in October 2105. The development of this document was primarily driven in response to an NTSB recommendation to APTA to develop a standard following two track workers who were fatally injured on the WMATA Red Line.
The OPWG is working on two new documents related to fatigue management program requirements. This topic is of great concern to the FTA.
The VIM Working Group met in November 2015 in Pittsburgh. They have several documents that are more than 5 years old and are in the process of reviewing them. Of these, the working group found that three of them can be reissued as Re-Affirmed documents. These related to inspection and maintenance of a) solid state auxiliary power units; b) calibration of measuring equipment; and c) propulsion controls. This task was completed in the fourth quarter of 2015, and the documents will be published in January 2016.
The Streetcar Subcommittee is working on updating standards related to vintage/heritage trolley equipment. The expediency for revising this document was due to an APTA peer review at a streetcar property, where it was found that the current standard needed updating.
In the past few decades, many transit agencies have shifted to emphasizing alternative modes of access to transit. However, parking remains a transit access mechanism to be considered. Transit agencies can use this Recommended Practice in initial transitway planning, identifying stakeholders, determining where parking should be provided, analyzing benefits and costs of proposed parking facilities, and how best to implement parking policies within a broader long-term framework.
According to Lucy Galbraith, director of TOD, Metro Transit, and a member of the Urban Design Working Group, “Metro Transit BRT project staff are using the ‘Transit Parking 101’ paper to ensure that they are including all the relevant considerations in decisions about parking facilities to be included in the project. They have expressed appreciation for the overall approach of stating considerations, brief pros and cons, and outlines of where these considerations might apply.”