November 18, 2021

Federal Transit Administration Requests Information on Transit Worker Safety

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a request for information via the Federal Register to seek public comment on issues affecting the safety of U.S. transit workers. The agency specifically hopes to gather information on topics such as rail transit Roadway Worker Protection (RWP) programs, which are designed to protect worker safety during tasks conducted on or near transit roadways, and actions for addressing transit worker assault. The comment period is open until Nov. 23, 2021, and representatives of labor unions, transit industry workers, researchers, contractors, government entities, safety advocates, transit users, railway operators, and other interested parties are invited to respond.

FTA’s request for information explains that RWP programs for rail transit workers are intended to protect them from being struck by trains and from hazards on or near the tracks, such as the electrified third rail, during track inspections and other tasks. The National Transportation Safety Board and Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) have expressed concerns with FTA’s lack of RWP regulations and recommended that the agency improve its RWP programs. TRACS has also urged FTA to address the issue of transit worker assault. From 2010 to 2020, FTA noted an average annual increase of 17 percent in the rate of transit security events as well as an increase in the rate of assaults on transit operators, who work aboard vehicles. Other public-facing transit workers are also at risk for assault.

For more information, as well as a list of specific questions that respondents can use to guide their comments, view the notice in the Federal Register.