How We Develop Standards

APTA develops standards through consensus on a proposed document drafted by its working groups, a consensus body that includes representation from all public transportation  industry stakeholders, affected and interested parties. Draft documents are then made available at least 30 days for public review and commenting via APTA’s website. APTA responses to any and all comments submitted through the public review and comment process by incorporating approved changes into the draft document. APTA then gives consideration to and responses to comments submitted by voting member transit agencies. Approved changes are then incorporated into the final draft before completing a final evaluation of the development process by a standards policy and planning committee. The standards policy and planning committee provides the final approval of the document for publishing.

Process for Developing a New Document

Appeals Process

Anyone can file a request to change a published document (i.e. standards, recommended practices, guidelines, white papers, technical specifications and training or educational materials.) The request must be completed using the online form or submitted in writing to:

American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
Director, Standards Program
1300-I Street NW, Suite 1200 East
Washington, DC 20005

A written appeal must contain as a minimum the following details:

  • Appellant’s full contact information (i.e. full name, title, company, street address, city, state and postal code; phone number and email)
  • Description of the appeal
  • Justification/rationale
  • Who or what is impacted?

Primer on APTA Standards Documents

The Standards Program publishes six types of documents: (1) Standards, (2) Recommended Practices, (3) Guidelines, (4) White Papers, (5) Technical specifications and (6) Training/Educational materials. Each document is assigned an identification number. As an example, the typical numbering nomenclature is, APTA RT-OP-S-001-02. Rev. 2:

  • APTA shall be used at the beginning of the numbering system indicating that the document was developed through an APTA Working Group,
  • RT indicates the transit mode or type. In this example RT stands for Rail Transit,
  • OP signifies the Working Group that developed the document. OP in this case refers to the Rail Transit Operating Practices Working Group,
  • S stands for Standard. If it is a Recommended Practice then RP, GL for Guideline, or WP for White Paper etc.,
  • 004 is a three-digit number assigned to a document within a specific program,
  • 02 a two-digit number indicating the year the document was originally published which is retained regardless of how many times the document is revised.
  • Rev. # indicates the number of revision made to the document over its entire life cycle.

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