The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials sent a two-page comment letter to the Federal Transit Administration on July 26 to express its support, in the main, regarding the agency’s effort to update its National Public Transportation Safety Plan.
[Above photo by FTA]
“AASHTO concurs with FTA that public transit is one of the safest modes of transportation available to many Americans and emphasizes the continual commitment state departments of transportation make to maintaining and improving the safety of transit systems,” the letter said.
“Though state DOTs have diverse roles in transit operations within their states, state DOTs operate predominantly through FTA Section 5310 and 5311 to support public transportation in rural and small urban communities and for older Americans and people with disabilities through cooperation with transit agencies and operators,” the organization added. “State DOTs work closely with sub-recipients to ensure [they] have the technical resources to manage the safety of transit services, focusing on safety programs such as driver training, drug and alcohol compliance, vehicle maintenance and specification standards, and National Transit Database safety data reporting.”
However, AASHTO reiterated in its letter that it is critically important for FTA to align its proposed National Safety Plan updates with its proposed Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan or PTASP revisions by “maintaining the deferral of regulatory action” on operators of a public transportation system that only receives federal financial assistance under 49 U.S.C. 5310, 49 U.S.C. 5311, or both 49 U.S.C. 5310 and 49 U.S.C. 5311.
[Editor’s note: AASHTO is hosting a Safety Summit October 17-19 in Kansas City in conjunction with a joint meeting of its Committee on Safety, Council on Active Transportation, and Committee on Planning to craft a broad “safety action plan” designed to advance safety consistently throughout the transportation project development lifecycle and across the functions and services of state DOTs.]
“AASHTO appreciates the consistency of this exclusion across documents as presented by FTA [and] encourages FTA to strongly consider the comments and perspectives of state DOTs on the critical importance of this exclusion,” the organization said.
“AASHTO commends FTA on the updated list of voluntary minimum safety standards and recommended practices including new categories such as transit worker safety, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and rail grade crossing safety,” the group noted.