Tampa, FL – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced today the winners of the 2018 Bus Safety & Security Excellence Awards at the annual APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference in Tampa, FL.

“These award-winning teams are truly the best of the best at improving safety and security for their employees, passengers, and the public,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.  “They represent the thousands of public transit professionals nationwide whose daily work results in preventing injuries and making daily commutes safer and more reliable.”

The APTA Bus Safety & Security Excellence Awards recognize public transportation organizations for their innovative and proactive safety and security programs.  It also provides value to the industry by benchmarking successful programs so other public transit systems can adopt them and derive similar benefits.

Nominations are evaluated on four criteria: effectiveness, benefit level, innovation, and transferability.  The top honor is the GOLD Award, which is given to organizations with the best overall bus safety or bus security program.  A Certificate of Merit is given to organizations in recognition of exceptional achievement in safety or security.

The 2018 Bus Safety & Security Excellence Award winners are awarded in three categories based on annual ridership.

Bus systems with 20 million or more passenger trips annually

Safety Excellence Awards:

• GOLD Award for Safety – Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), Cleveland, OH – GCRTA over the last year fully embraced Safety Management Systems (SMS) and used data to determine courses of action about public transit safety. GCRTA’s SMS manages safety using leading indicators to set the baseline for a proactive approach to understanding emerging risk.  Using this data, GCRTA and its districts had amazing success using data to make operators safer on the road and reducing the number of claims by approximately 49% since 2014.  The implementation of SMS in Bus/Paratransit has had a spillover effect on Rail and allowed each to learn from one another.

• Certificate of Merit for Safety – Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN – Metro Transit incorporated a Safety Management Systems (SMS) in their agency and believes deeply that how they operate their service is essential to safe passenger operations.  They did so through safety training and testing, increased operator safety conferences, and new modules for instruction and discussion.  Metro Transit also implemented many new SMS Hazard Management devices such as monitors in the driver’s area and speed monitoring along transit malls and freeway shoulder lanes.

Security Excellence Awards:

• GOLD Award for Security – Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), Houston, TX – In late August, Hurricane Harvey, the strongest hurricane to hit the United States in more than a decade, hit the Houston region.  As Hurricane Harvey strengthened, METRO, through its exemplary preparedness and adherence to their Emergency Management Plan, provided regular updates, pre-positioned buses, and prepped facilities for overnight stays for shelter and with supplies.  METRO restored limited transit service on major routes just four days after Harvey passed. Only 20 of the agency’s 1,238 buses sustained damage and by September 5, 2017, 109 of the 114 METRO bus routes were back in operation.

• Certificate of Merit for Security – King County Metro Transit Division/Department of Transportation, Seattle, WA – King County Metro Transit Division implemented the “King County Transit Operator Assault Program” to reduce operator assaults.  Over the last 14 years, 20% of operator assaults resulted in expensive industrial claims.  Total cost of industrial claims in 2004 totaled $1.537 million.  Following the implementation of this program, the annual total dropped by 93% to $105,000, in 2009 and remained stable since.  From the beginning of the program in 2008, operator assaults have been reduced by 53% despite a 17% growth in ridership.

Bus Systems with more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million passenger trips annually 

Safety Excellence Awards

• GOLD Award for Safety – Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB), Santa Monica, CA – BBB has a new “Vision Zero” goal of eliminating pedestrian fatalities and the reduction of severity of collisions.  BBB has taken a proactive approach to safety through safety campaigns such as their “Rail Safety” campaign, Hazard/Near Miss Programs, quarterly Safety Meetings, and accident review and retraining. The commitment extends to expanding safety personnel, training staff on SMS concepts and collaborating with stakeholders to mitigate risk and promote safety.

• Certificate of Merit for Safety – Palm Tran, West Palm Beach, FL – Palm Tran has retrofitted their buses with “flashing lights” on the tails.  These flashing lights have led to a reduction of rear-end collisions while also reducing the cost and litigation from collisions with other cars, pedestrians, and workers.  This project was developed and installed entirely within Palm Tran and is adaptable as new technological changes come along.

Security Excellence Awards

• GOLD Award for Security – Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (Metro), Cincinnati, OH – Metro created a “go Metro WiFi” program which includes video monitoring software to provide a tool for law enforcement, improve internal security, and enhance the customer experience.  With a one-time investment of $7,000 Metro is conducting a pilot program with 59 total wi-fi capable buses (17% of the fleet).  Depending on the success of this program, it can be expanded to the entire fleet and offer one of the most requested services to its customers.

• Certificate of Merit for Security – Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY – The Transit Authority of River City has focused on increasing the amount of time their two-person coach security teams spend accompanying operators on their routes.  The total number of on-board hours have increased significantly over last year.  These officers serve to protect and respond to incidents as well as act as a deterrence.

Bus Systems with fewer than 4 million passenger trips annually

Safety Excellence Award:

• GOLD Award for Safety – Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), Knoxville, TN – KAT tackled a variety of costly safety issues with inexpensive solutions to create positive results.  Policy changes such as new speed limits and requiring operators to wait for all passengers to be sitting or holding onto railings or handlebars before the vehicle moves has resulted in dramatic improvements in passenger and employee safety.  The intense focus on improved communication and training for operators as well as partnerships with the City of Knoxville Risk Management Department, have helped identify and correct key issues in passenger and worker safety.

• Certificate of Merit for Security – Lee County Transit (Lee Tran), Lee County, FL – Lee Tran has created a Digital Safety and Information Board (DSI Board) which positively changes operator behavior, promotes good customer and operator relationships, and instills a collaborative effort that all employees can take pride in.  The DSI Board collects information from training manuals, best practices, questions, comments, and/or concerns from other bus operators.  This board has been received positively by bus operators and is provided at a low cost.

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organization which represent a $68 billion industry that directly employs 420,000 people and supports millions of private sector jobs. APTA members are engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.​​​​
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