/October 2016, Issue 5

October 2016, Issue 5

October 2016, Issue 52018-12-07T13:10:58-04:00


The APTA contingent met recently with the FRA Engineering task force to address the standards development needs of the High Speed Rail initiatives. A number of standards and Recommended Practices are in preparation to support this effort, covering such subjects as noise in the operating cabs, moving of defective equipment, emergency practices and other topics. A series of coordination meetings is scheduled in advance of the next Engineering Task Force meeting in December. Drafts of Recommended Practices and standards are in the works.



Over the next few issues, we will outline key processes for document development. These topics will include processes related to developing a new standard or updating an existing standard, the appeals process, the life cycle of APTA standards documents, voting and balloting requirements, publication notification requirements, document numbering nomenclature and format, etc. Our goal is to continue to maintain an open, non-biased, consensus-based document development process to ensure that APTA documents represent the best practices in the industry.

  • Any party may propose a new standard.
  • The proposal should contain as a minimum the following elements:
    • Author’s information
    • Description of proposed standard
    • Justification/rationale (why this is important for the industry)
    • Research needed (if any)
    • Related standards/work (if any)
    • Stakeholders
  • APTA will review the proposal.
  • If APTA determines that there is merit in developing a standard (Recommended Practice, guideline, standard, white paper, technical specification and/or education/training materials), APTA will advise one of its nine Policy and Planning Committees (PPCs) and seek approval.
  • As directed by the PPC, APTA will assign a Working Group (WG) to develop a draft document.
  • A copy of the proposal should be submitted to APTA at: standards@apta.com


The SDOC met at the 2016 APTA Annual Meeting on Sept. 11. The agenda addressed strategic priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, efforts for reestablishing federal funding, development of new documents, and review and update of existing documents. The SDOC also discussed strengthening its relationships with allied organizations like AREMA and IEEE and within the international standards development community.

As outlined in the 2015-2019 APTA Strategic Plan, the SDOC is focused on updating or developing all documents related to safety and security. All outreach activities will be carefully orchestrated with the goal of creating new opportunities around workforce development, fare card security, and safety critical activities in transit agencies. The next meeting of the SDOC will be in March 2017 at the Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

We are pleased to announce that Carolyn Hayward Williams is APTA’s new director of engineering and transit technology. Carolyn joined APTA on Sept. 6. She has 25 years of U.S. and international experience in engineering, safety, control systems, and the management and delivery of transportation infrastructure projects. She was formerly employed at Bombardier Transportation and served as a principal at Delcan Corp. and Booz Allen Hamilton. Carolyn will be a fantastic addition to our APTA team as we address critical industry areas such as safety, state of good repair, passenger rail equipment safety standards (PRESS), technical assistance, and construction/capital program management.

The committee recently convened at the 2016 APTA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles to discuss priorities for 2017. The central focus of the meeting was devoted to addressing the backlog of rail documents that are in need of review and republishing, acknowledging that the Rail Standards Program is the largest program and has produced well over 100 published documents. The committee recognized the need to engage additional volunteers to refresh and/or create new working groups to undertake the document maintenance process. The committee was provided a briefing on universal transit fare system trends and challenges related to implementing chip card security, noting that there is some pushback in the industry with regard to the development of an open/universal standard. Lurae Stuart, chair of APTA’s Standards Development Oversight Council, provided an in-depth overview of challenges regarding FTA requirements related to SMS regulations. The committee reaffirmed the importance of self-governance through standards development, continued support from transit CEOs and the industry in general, and the development of new standards.


Control & Communications Security
Cybersecurity was addressed at a high level at the Annual Meeting in LA, with inputs from the Safety Coordinating Council (SCC) and the Standards Development Oversight Council (SDOC). Priority has been placed on cybersecurity as part of APTA’s Safety & Security Strategic Priority. Three new members joined the group, including New Flyer, Prevost and Bombardier. The recruitment of rail car manufacturers has been especially difficult, since many are headquartered overseas. The manufacturers confirmed during a brief set of presentations outlining upcoming transit projects that they are indeed using APTA’s Recommended Practices as part of the RFP development process. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact David Hahn at dhahn@apta.com or 202-496-4813.
Biking Accessibility
The APTA Urban Design Working group is developing a series of best practices for transit agencies interested in addressing the growing demand for bicycle mobility and connectivity to stations. The Recommended Practices will cover a broad range of subject matter related to bicycles and transit. “Bicycle Integration and Accessibility: Transit Facilities” will be the initial document and focus on bike parking near facilities. Future Recommended Practices will explore onboarding policies and procedures and other issues to enhance connectivity. APTA members willing to lend their expertise and advance this document are encouraged to join. The next conference call will be at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Oct. 25. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Zach Smith at zsmith@apta.com or 202-496-4807.
  • APTA PR-M-S-006 -98 Rev. 3, “Parking Brakes for New Passenger Locomotives and Cars”
  • APTA PR-M-S-007-098 Rev. 1, “Conductors Valve-in New Passenger Cards MU Locomotives”
  • APTA PR-M-S-011-99 Rev. 1, “Compressed Air Quality for Passenger Locomotive and Car Equipment”
  • APTA PR-M-S-020-16, “Electronically Controlled Pneumatic 26 C Emulation Braking System Performance Requirements for Passenger Applications”
  • APTA PR-M-S-021-16, “Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Cable-Based Braking System Performance Requirements for Passenger Applications”
  • APTA SUDS-UD-RP-002-09, “Forming Partnerships to Promote Transit-Oriented Development and Implement Joint Development”
The preceding documents are available for public review. Please review and submit any comments to: http://www.apta.com/resources/standards/public-comment/Pages/default.aspx


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