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21 CHAPTER FOUR CASE EXAMPLES The case examples included in this examination were selected on the basis of their self-identified and self-defined successes in instituting programs that demonstrated improved safety results (including the reduction of transit collisions and other inci- dents) as reported in the responses to the survey questionnaire. Eleven case examples were selected from the survey respon- dents; they include the agencies listed here and in Figure 12. â¢ Charlotte Area Transit (Charlotte, North Carolina) â¢ City of Madison Metro Transit (Madison, Wisconsin) â¢ Greater Bridgeport Transit (Bridgeport, Connecticut) â¢ Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (Cleveland, Ohio) â¢ Jacksonville Transportation Authority (Jacksonville, Florida) â¢ Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (Kansas City, Missouri) â¢ King County Metro (Seattle, Washington) â¢ Lane Transit District (Springfield, Oregon) â¢ Solano County Transit (Vallejo, California) â¢ TriMet (Portland, Oregon) â¢ Utah Transit Authority (Salt Lake City, Utah). FIGURE 12. Case study locations.
22 A guide was developed to formalize the approach to the initial telephone interviews. Additional e-mail and telephone communications ensured the accuracy and thoroughness of the examination narrative. A summary of this engagement with the case example agencies follows, organized alphabetically by agency. The narrative covers successes achieved and lessons learned through various safety-related applications and programs, as well issues identified as constraints, challenges, or bar- riers to program or application implementation and the methods undertaken to overcome them. CHARLOTTE AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM (CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA) Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) (Figure 13) serves a six-county area in North Carolina with bus, light rail, commuter rail, and paratransit services. CATS bus operators and maintenance employees are members of the United Transportation Union (UTU). The 2014 National Transit Database (NTD) agency profile for CATS bus services is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 116,819,878 Annual Revenue Miles 10,912,411 Annual Unlinked Trips 23,887,182 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 268 FIGURE 13. Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) logo. The Setting CATSâ mission is âto improve the quality of life for everyone in the greater Charlotte region by providing outstanding com- munity-wide public transit services while proactively contributing to focused growth and sustainable regional development.â At CATS, safety and security are at the forefront of every aspect of the agency. The current manager of safety and security began his career in safety 15 years ago, moved to the operations department, and returned to the safety department a little over 2 years ago. North Carolina law prohibits negotiations between local governments and unions, prompting the establishment of a union workforce company called Transit Management of Charlotte. CATS hired McDonald Transit managers to oversee Transit Management of Charlotte. The CATS Safety and Security Department has safety oversight for both the union and non-union workforce. Bus operators and maintenance personnel are employees of Transit Management of Charlotte (rail personnel and safety and security personnel are employees of the city of Charlotte). Training Programs and Initiatives Although CATS has always had a training program, it was overhauled 2 years ago to be more consistent and structured. The CATS training program for new bus operators is a 7-week program consisting of 90 hours of platform time. The first week of training consists of classroom training, bus familiarization, pre- and post-trip inspections, and route theory. This is followed by 4 weeks of a combination of classroom and behind-the-wheel training, and the final 2 weeks of on-the-job training with mentor trainers. CATS also provides commercial driverâs license (CDL) training to prepare operators for the CDL examination. The agency uses operator trainers who are certified through the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA). When asked what CATS might have done differently, the representative said it would have been beneficial to have more operators certified to be trainers. All new bus operators are hired as part-time fixed-route operators and are assigned to 40-ft buses. Operator promotions are first to 30-ft community circulator buses and then to full-time fixed-route operations, again on the 40-ft buses. In between
23 each promotion, additional training is required to ensure that the operators are familiar with the vehicles they will be operat- ing. A promotion to full time requires the availability of a full-time position. Eight-hour refresher training is provided to all operators biannually. The topics covered in refresher training are the same ones that were covered in new hire training but in a condensed version. The topics include defensive driving, pedestrian awareness, bicycle safety, distracted driving, vehicle inspection, Operation Life Saver recommended rail-crossing procedures, security, ADA, emergency management, fare policy, injury prevention, fatigue, and fire extinguisher training. Additionally, CATS requires that all new bus operators meet DOT medical certification requirements. CATS also requires post-incident safety training. One key aspect of training at CATS is that the training function is housed within the Safety and Security Department and the training is mission-driven. Mission-driven training creates and maintains a safety and security culture that aligns with the behaviors and values necessary to ensure that all employees are informed, knowledgeable, and safety-conscious in all they do. Technology Solutions CATS does not have a telemetry-based operator monitoring system on its bus fleet; however, it does have onboard video recording with audio. The video technology is considered to be the most effective technology in use by the agency because of its ability to substantiate complaints, identify poorly performing operators, and address issues before an incident occurs. The videos are also used for training purposes, so that operators can observe and recognize practices performed correctly and those performed incorrectly. Other safety technologies used by CATS include stop announcements, electronic data recorders, a vehicle tracking system for the bus fleet, and an operator-activated panic button. CATS is investigating a pedestrian-avoidance system for the bus fleet to add an extra layer of safety for pedestrians. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards CATS provides operators with safety bulletins in several ways, including placing them in operatorsâ mailboxes, rotating mes- sages on a monitor in the dispatch area, andâif immediate attention is requiredâtaping safety bulletins to each operatorâs bus seat. CATS promoted International Bus Operator Appreciation Day in March, encouraging the passengers and the general pub- lic to thank operators for all they do. The agency took the opportunity to recognize an exceptionally safe operator who has been with CATS for 25 years. CATS launched a new personal responsibility safety campaign in January 2016, asking the public to pledge to stay alert and avoid distractions. The CATS general manager of safety, Levern McElveen, said, âPartnering with the public and educating them that safety is everyoneâs responsibility is crucial to keeping our community safe and accident rates low.â CATS launched the âCATS See Sayâ app to enable riders to alert transit police if they notice something that seems concern- ing. This app was launched for the system because, as CATS CEO John Lewis said, âSafety is and always will be a primary concern of CATS. Through the use of this mobile app, riders can have a bigger hand in helping our public transit system oper- ate as safely as possible.â Other Policies and Practices Employee health is recognized by CATS as an important factor that can affect the safety culture of an organization. CATS offers many health services through Carolinaâs Healthcare Employee Assistance Program, including mental health services for CATS employees. CATSâ distracted driving policy gives an operator one warning if he or she is caught using a personal electronic device (PED), as long as the use did not contribute to a collision. If the operator is involved in a second violation of the policy or if the first violation results in or contributes to a collision, CATS can immediately terminate the operator.
24 The CATS hours-of-service regulation is based on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and on-duty time is closely monitored to reduce incidents involving operator fatigue. If an operator is involved in an incident, the managers and super- visors who interview the operator check for signs of fatigue and discuss the events of the day to see what the operator was doing beforehand. The operatorâs work record is also checked to ensure that he or she was given plenty of time off between shifts, and operators are questioned on what activities they participated in during their time off. Bus operators are required to report any outside employment and the hours associated with it. CATS uses the National Safety Council (NSC) definitions of preventability in making post-accident determinations. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer The CATS CEO and the general manager (GM) of safety and security play significant roles in the safety culture at the agency. The GM, Levern McElveen, initiates and distributes invitations to all safety meetings, including Charlotte Critical Incident Review Board meetings. McElveen is extremely supportive of the training program; he reviewed the entire overhaul of the training curriculum and provided feedback throughout. He is also is supportive of all discipline related to safety-related infractions, even if the union pushes back. The presence of an accountable executive who puts safety at the forefront shapes the safety culture for the entire agency. Respondents indicated that this top-down approach makes the entire agency more safety-conscious in all aspects of its duties. Summary Although CATS has had varying rates of collisions (at least partly attributable to an increased population and economic growth), the number of preventable incidents has been declining. This trend is especially significant when ridership, popula- tion, and construction are increasing, meaning the chance of collisions is increasing. Much of CATSâ success in this area is the result of its commitment to safety throughout the organization. Operations, maintenance, management, and supervisors are all completely committed to safety and keep the safety culture at the forefront. Figure 14 shows that whereas the rate of preventable incidents has varied over the past 2 years, the overall monthly trend is showing a reduction. FIGURE 14 CATS preventable bus incident rate. CITY OF MADISON METRO TRANSIT (MADISON, WISCONSIN) The City of Madison Metro Transit (Metro) (Figure 15) is owned by the city of Madison; it serves residential neighborhoods, the Isthmus, and schools and universities in Madison, Middleton, Fitchburg, and Verona. Metro services include fixed-route bus and paratransit service. Bus operators are members of the local Teamsters Union. The 2014 NTD agency profile for Metroâs bus service is as follows:
25 Annual Passenger Miles 53,152,398 Annual Revenue Miles 5,040,007 Annual Unlinked Trips 15,223,961 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 179 FIGURE 15. City of Madison Metro Transit (Metro) logo. The Setting Metroâs mission is to provide safe, reliable, convenient, and efficient public transit to the citizens and visitors of the Metro service area through the efforts of dedicated, well-trained employees. Metro initiated a multifaceted approach to improve the safety of the transit system, using enhanced training, technology applications, safety awards and campaigns, bulletins, and several other improvements to adhere to its mission. In 2014, Metro officials began a bus stop consolidation project to address schedule issues resulting from increased rider- ship. An analysis of the bus stop spacing along Madisonâs central transit corridors revealed that several stops were too close together. Data from the analysis were used to strategically reduce the number of stops along the corridor and improve on-time performance. Metro representatives said the ability to stay on schedule has increased the safety of the system: Bus operators are less likely to feel rushed, resulting in safer driving behavior, and customer satisfaction has increased. Metro is continuing to improve its system by establishing a safety culture within the organization that touches every aspect of every department in the agency. Metro has adopted an SMS framework and initiatives such as increased data collection, risk identification and management, and an accountable executive in the safety department who reports directly to the GM or CEO. Training Programs and Initiatives For new bus operators, Metro has a 4-week training program that includes instructions, policies, procedures, and rules, so new operators can familiarize themselves with the system and properly perform their duties as professional bus operators. The training includes commercial driver training and the CDL examination. It also focuses on several key topics, including defensive driving strategies, actions, and principles; operator fatigue; substance abuse; and customer service. Metro uses footage from its own bus cameras for training purposes; managers believe that onboard video recordings demonstrating actual incidents that have occurred on Metro make the content more relatable to the trainees. Metro emphasizes what the operators did right in the videos in addition to what could have been done differently. The agency also uses several videos created by its insurance company, Transit Mutual Insurance Corporation of Wisconsin. Madison Metro uses operators as trainers, and while only lead trainers are required to be certified by the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI), the certification is preferred for all trainers. Metro has used TSIâs Bus Operator Training Program for many years. In 2008, in response to an increase in collisions recorded in 2007, Metro began the process of revamping its training curriculum. The agency reviewed all content used in its training programs and modernized the curriculum, focusing more on local needs specific to Madison. The training cur- riculum for new operators focuses more on actual driving; it transitions to customer service only after the new operators successfully complete the driving component. Metro has seen the benefit of having as few as two trainees per instructor per bus, which allows each trainee to have more drive time. More resources have been allocated to training and used to hire more
26 trainers, reducing the size of training classes. Metro has also allocated an additional bus to the training program to ensure that each trainee gets 4 to 5 hours of behind-the-wheel time per day of training. These training improvements have resulted in noticeable positive feedback from the operators. Per the collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters Union, new operators are hired as part-time operators, can work no more than 20 hours per week, and drive only as part of the supplementary school service for the Madison School District. If a full-time position becomes available, an operator is required to complete an additional 6 weeks of training to transition from part time to full time. This supplemental training includes topics such as safety policies and procedures, defensive driving, distracted driving, wheelchair securement, blind spot awareness, customer service, time-off requests, and route familiarization. Madison Metro requires that all bus operators meet FMCSA medical examination certification requirements for their first 2 years of employment, after which they are not required to main- tain medical certification. Metro implemented a refresher training curriculum in 2009 and now requires it annually for every operator. Knowing that FTA plans to require agencies to adopt SMS and focus on better organizational structures and better hazard identifica- tion, the 2015 refresher training at Metro followed a roundtable discussion structure and was titled the Madison Metro Safety Roundabout. The roundtable was designed to gather information and data on safety concerns and problem areas directly from bus operators. The purpose of this approach to refresher training is to develop a safety culture within the agency, to improve both accident prevention and company morale. The safety roundabout is a timed session designed to allow opera- tors to raise concerns related to given topics. The topics provided in the 2015 safety roundabout were road hazards, vehicle design, personal safety, and other types of hazards. Providing the topics is a way to keep the session focused, allowing for the most effective gathering of information on hazards in the system. Metro compiled the results of the discussion and initially focused on those areas most frequently cited by operators. As a result of the first safety roundabout, routes with bad turns are being changed, bus stop signs that are too close to the ADA pads are being moved, and the problem of intercity buses staging in bus lanes is being addressed. Other hazards were addressed through safety bulletins that emphasize operator awareness. Metro staff said the safety roundabout concept was regarded so highly that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation sent representatives to witness the entire session and has since suggested that the program be implemented at some of the smaller agencies in the state. Remedial training is used at Madison Metro to address specific issues or incidents. Video footage from bus cameras is used for remedial training purposes. Post-accident training is provided to bus operators and is documented. Technology Solutions Madison Metro buses are equipped with video and audio surveillance equipment. The video system records speed, braking, and turn signal use. The use of this equipment was reported as beneficial, allowing for event-specific one-on-one coaching and counseling of bus operators. The surveillance equipment is also effectively used to investigate customer service complaints. Metro uses an automatic information management system with embedded automated vehicle location (AVL) capabilities. When an incident occurs, the dispatcher creates an accident report in the system that automatically documents the location of the bus. A crystal report (spreadsheet) can then be generated through the system that will show all the incidents that occurred within a specified time frame and at specific locations. The system allows for identification of areas of risk that should be addressed. In 2014, Metro installed audible turn signals on all fixed-route buses that make a chirping noise when the driver is signal- ing a turn in traffic or pulling into a bus stop. In response to negative public feedback and questionable effectiveness, Metro turned the audible turn signals off in 2015. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards Metro holds an annual safety banquet honoring operatorsâ safe driving records, where awards are presented by the general manager to operators with no preventable or chargeable accidents. The operators receive gifts for years of safe service (1, 5, 10, etc.). The mayor of Madison and the Transit and Parking Commission chairperson are typically in attendance to join in congratulating Metroâs bus operators for a job well done. Metro also awards safe, incident-free operators with a jacket embroidered with the Metro logo and years of safe service. This awards banquet has been very well received by the operators.
27 Metro launched the Safe Streets Campaign in November 2014, when Mayor Paul Soglin and Metro Transit GM Chuck Kamp held a press conference to release a compilation of safety-related close-call incidents that had been captured by bus surveillance cameras. The goal of the campaign was to increase safety for everyone and prevent accidents by increasing community education and awareness. Metro staff believe that accidents can be minimized or eliminated through this kind of community outreach, which encourages all members of the community to be aware and share the streets safely. In partnership with a national branded brewing company, Metro offers free rides on the University of Wisconsinâs home- coming day and New Yearâs Eve, providing a safe transportation alternative. Metro also provides late night service on UW campus circulator buses; the service is free to everyone and operates until 3:00 a.m. when classes are in session. Other Policies and Practices Metroâs safety bulletins are provided at no cost by the agencyâs insurance carrier. They are posted monthly on boards in common areas and focus on topics such as right turns and blind spots. Metro has found that posting monthly accident numbers is very effective for raising awareness about current challenges; these numbers tend to be more effective than the posted safety bulletins. Although Wisconsin does not have hours-of-service restrictions, Metro operators have the right, through union restric- tions, to turn down any work over 10 hours behind the wheel, 12 hours scheduled, or 13.5 hours of spread time. Operators may be allowed to drive or be on duty for periods that exceed these thresholds by request. Metro has an electronics policy that was recently updated to include associated disciplinary actions. If an operator is caught using a PED, he or she will receive a 3-day suspension. If the operator is caught breaking the law a second time, no matter the length of time between violations, that individual is subject to automatic termination. In addition to the City of Madison Employee Assistance Program, Madison Metro uses the City of Madison Employee Development and Organizational Effectiveness Division to provide occupational health services to employees. The division offers an exceptional variety of training that can help employees across the board. These trainings are optional and compen- sated if they fall within the operatorâs work schedule. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer Metroâs GM has been extremely supportive of the development of modernized training manuals and of agencywide commu- nication and collaboration on safety-related issues and mitigation strategies. Metro holds biweekly Customer Service, Safety, and Security (CUSS) meetings at which the GM, deputy GM, marketing manager, customer service manager, and operations and safety manager discuss issues and trends. At the meetings, Metroâs general operations supervisor of safety and security reports monthly incidents directly to the GM and deputy GM. When trends evolve, refresher training is initiated. The CUSS meetings are beneficial to every department by keeping everyone on the same page. Metro also has a Service Development Committee (SDC) that consists of the GM, deputy GM, planning manager, planning staff, and operations personnel. The SDC meets to discuss scheduling issues and detours, allowing concerns to be effectively addressed across offices. Metro reports that the SDC is at the table when the agency is addressing safety risk management and safety assurance, in accordance with the SMS framework. Summary Although Metro has taken a multifaceted approach to improve the safety record of the agency, the interview with the general operations supervisor of safety and security suggested that open communication throughout the agency has been the most successful approach. Metro has had great results from showing incident trends not only to the accountable executives but also to the frontline employees, which gives them the opportunity to improve where they can. The agency addressed the peak number of preventable/chargeable collisions in 2007 by revamping the entire training curriculum in 2008, making it more modern and Metro-specific. The revamped curriculumâalong with several other cam- paigns, promotions, and technology applications described in this summaryâhas resulted in a 24% reduction in preventable/ chargeable collisions from 2008 to 2015, as shown in Figure 16.
28 FIGURE 16 Metro preventable/chargeable collisions. GREATER BRIDGEPORT TRANSIT (BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT) Greater Bridgeport Transit (GBT) (Figure 17) was organized in 1998 for the purpose of operating public transit services in the geographical area encompassed by the municipalities of Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stratford, and Trumbull, Connecticut. The 2014 NTD agency profile for GBTâs bus services is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 20,498,911 Annual Revenue Miles 2,111,594 Annual Unlinked Trips 6,082,763 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 43 FIGURE 17. Greater Bridgeport Transit (GBT) logo. The Setting GBT is committed to providing safe, convenient, and reliable bus service and ensuring that available services meet the travel needs of visitors and residents. In late 2012, GBT began a restructuring of the agency, including marked changes in the safety and training areas. The restructuring led to the introduction of two new positions related to safety training: manager of safety training and manager of transportation operations. In the previous organizational structure, elements related to safety and training were not central- ized in operations. Some, such as the drug and alcohol detection program, were overseen by the Human Resource Depart- ment, whereas training fell under the Administrative Office. This structure was not conducive to any particular individual or even department having bottom-line responsibility, which made accountability impossible.
29 Before the restructuring, safety training focused predominately on remedial areas such as post-accident training or safety training for repetitive problems or repeat offences. The two trainers were bus operators who trained part time. Since the restructuring, resources dedicated to training have increased; in addition to new hire training and remedial training, all GBT operators attend quarterly training sessions. One of the first efforts undertaken by the new safety training staff was to focus more closely on the determination of pre- ventability in accidents. Historically, preventability was determined by the agencyâs Accident Investigation Committee, and the determination could take several weeks. To correct this, GBT staff updated the definition of a preventable accident using the National Safety Council model and began to make determinations within 24 hours of an event. Today the determination is made exclusively by the safety training manager and is subject to review by GBTâs Accident Investigation Committee. Another important element of GBTâs updated training program was the introduction of weekly safety alerts. Operators receive alerts covering a wide range of topics, including distracted driving, safe headways, and driving in winter conditions. These alerts provide a weekly reminder of the importance of safety in operations. GBTâs safety outreach to all staff includes electronic messag- ing boards throughout its maintenance and administration facilities, with a constantly changing series of safety topics. Training Programs and Initiatives GBT uses the TSI curriculum and TSI-certified instructors in its training program. The new-hire training program lasts from 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the size of the class. One week is classroom training and the rest of the time is spent on the road. Much of the material that would normally be covered in the classroom is covered while the trainees are on the bus. GBT has found it to be effective to include safety training along with route training; for example, to teach wheelchair securement while the operators are receiving behind-the-wheel training. During the last 2 weeks of training for new bus operators, the trainees are sent out with various operators (not trainers), performing what GBT calls âqualifying training,â in which they run revenue service on every route to ensure that they are familiar with the routes. If the regular operator feels confident that the trainee is competent, he or she signs off on the trainee, and that process is continued until the trainee has passed all routes. On the final day of new hire training, the trainee is quizzed on every run, every turn, every street, and every stop. When the trainees have answered all questions correctly, they graduate from the training program. All new operators at GBT are hired on a part-time basis; they may transition to full time only when a position becomes available. New operators must have a CDL and a valid medical examination certificate before applying for a position. The defensive driving course for new operators is 4 hours long; it is also open to any current operators who want a refresher on the material. All trainers are required to take the defensive driving course (which they welcome, because of the discount they receive on their personal vehicle insurance). In addition to annual operator evaluations, quarterly refresher training using TSI material is mandatory. The TSI course is preferred because it ensures that all trainees receive consistent messages across all training classes. Several topics are covered in the refresher training every year, such as drug and alcohol testing requirements and accident reporting. The remainder of the refresher training addresses prevalent incidents and areas of concern, either at GBT or nationally. For instance, when the national Ebola scare occurred, GBT trained on the proper handling of waste. Other recently covered topics include distracted driving, accidents close to GBTâs bus terminal, pedestrian awareness, dealing with unruly passengers, and operations in the safety zone (the area that encompasses several blocks around the bus terminals). Other training topics covered for all employ- ees include Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training and Title VI. GBT has invested in training staff development. Trainers at GBT receive ongoing training to increase their effectiveness at training not only operators but supervisors as well. Remedial training at GBT is typically limited to one-on-one coaching sessions with operators. In the event coaching becomes a regular occurrence (or depending on the seriousness of a specific collision), the safety supervisor may recommend additional remedial training. Technology Solutions Two technology solutions have proved especially helpful to the GBT staff: (1) an onboard surveillance system, which allows for visual monitoring of activities in and around the bus, and (2) an AVL system installed in 2009, which provides real-time
30 information for dispatchers, road supervisors, and administrative staff. The combination of these tools allows GBT managers to have a full understanding of safety events and to address them properly. GBT does not currently use audio surveillance, although the capabilities exist in the system. A telemetry-based DMS has been installed on GBTâs demand-response minibuses, and the GBT interviewees report that it has increased compliance with seatbelt use. Additionally, the video and AVL data have proved helpful in determining the actual events when a dispute arises or when an operator says an incident occurred because schedules are too tight. An additional benefit of the surveillance system is the ability to help law enforcement agencies when an incident occurs in the vicinity of the bus. For example, a robbery took place in the vicinity of a bus station, and the agency was able to provide local law enforcement with videos from the buses. The incorporation of safety features in GBT buses was an important element of improving safety. In an attempt to increase the visibility of buses and reduce rear-end collisions, new buses have a rectangular LED âSTOPâ light in the center of the rear of the bus. Additionally, GBT purchased 15 new buses in 2013 that will carry no advertising on their exteriors. Data are not yet available to establish the effectiveness of these strategies to reduce or prevent rear-end collisions; however, the agency is monitoring these measures. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards Safety bulletins are distributed to operators with their paychecks to ensure that every operator receives a copy. The topics covered in the safety bulletins vary according to prevalent incidents and time of year. For example, one safety bulletin high- lighted the need to reduce speed with the wet road conditions that are frequent in the fall. Some other topics are steps to prevent sideswipes or being rear-ended; following distances; slips, trips, and falls; lane courtesy; accident reporting procedures; and safe passenger boarding and alighting procedures. Operators who are incident-free are recognized at GBT with certificates for safety excellence, and extraordinary operators who have gone 20 years without a preventable incident receive gifts. Other Policies and Practices Connecticut has a primary enforced law that prohibits the use of handheld cell phones or hands-free devices by all vehicle operators (meaning they can be stopped simply for using the cell phone; no other violation needs to occur). GBTâs policy on cell phone use is consistent with the state law. Bus operators at GBT are required to report outside driving employment, to ensure that it does not interfere with their primary work at the agency. The FMCSA hours-of-service regulations prohibit operators from driving more than 10 hours in a row or more than 16 hours a day. After 16 hours of work they are required to have a minimum of 8 hours off duty before being allowed to resume service. During the quarterly safety meetings held at GBT, operators are given the opportunity to bring up any route or schedule safety concerns they may have. They have the option of reporting those concerns directly to any supervisor or to their union president, who would then raise the concern confidentially for that operator. GBT performs ongoing service evaluations. GBT offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) managed by a third-party contractor. The program covers marital and family difficulties, emotional distress, addictive disorders, problems at work, elder care, and financial/legal concerns. The EAP is available to all full-time employees and their immediate family members; it is voluntary, confidential, and free. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer GBTâs CEO and chief operating officer are heavily involved in the agencyâs safety program, from policy development to day-to-day training. Their involvement is welcomed throughout the agency. GBT has spent a great deal of time and resources creating new safety-related positions, training new safety staff, and developing a new safety program. The investment in the training of these new staff members has led to a safety training department with a âdeep benchâ and strong leadership quali- ties. GBT credits the entire leadership team with the safety success of the agency.
31 Summary Although GBTâs preventable accident rate varies from month to month, the overall trend has seen a decrease in both number and severity since the restructuring and the implementation of the new safety measures. GBT uses the NSC definition of pre- ventability as a collision in which the operator failed to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the collision. Figure 18 shows the monthly preventable incidents per 100,000 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from October 2012 through February 2016; for 3 months in 2014, the number of preventable incidents was zero. When asked to name the measure most responsible for the improved safety culture at GBT, the interviewees cited teamwork. They said that working together to solve common issues has proved to be highly beneficial. FIGURE 18 GBT preventable incident rate. The CEO believes that the improvements in operational safety at the agency cannot be attributed to any one change, pro- cedure, or program. They have been the result of a combination of many factors that fall into the broad categories of staffing and leadership, education and training, equipment and technology, and the assignment of accountability. GREATER CLEVELAND REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY (CLEVELAND, OHIO) The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) (Figure 19) provides public transit services to Cleveland, Ohio, and the surrounding suburbs of Cuyahoga County. It is the largest transit agency in Ohio. RTA is a political subdivision of the state of Ohio and is governed by a 10-member board of trustees charged with managing and conducting its affairs. Although RTA operates one heavy rail line and three interurban light rail lines, the bulk of the agencyâs service consists of buses, including regular fixed-route buses, bus rapid transit (BRT), and paratransit buses for customers with disabilities. Bus operators are members of the ATU. In 2007, APTA named RTA the best public transit system in North America. The 2014 NTD agency profile for RTAâs bus service is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 158,154,586 Annual Revenue Miles 13,877,344 Annual Unlinked Trips 39,511,360 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 366
32 FIGURE 19 Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) logo. The Setting RTAâs ongoing mission is âto provide safe, reliable, clean and courteous public transportationâ; protecting the safety of employees, riders, and the general public is the agencyâs top priority. Case example interviewees noted that over a third of all bus operators have been employed with RTA for 4 or fewer years, which can mean a high rate of preventable collisions if safe operating behaviors are not constantly stressed. To maintain an overall high standard of safety, RTA has taken a multidimen- sional approach that includes weekly re-instruction in the field, technology applications, open dialogue with operators, safety awards and campaigns, and several other improvements. RTAâs safety program is guided by a culture of teamwork among departments and accountability throughout the entire chain of command, from the CEO on down. Several of RTAâs successful safety policies and initiatives are described here. Training Programs and Initiatives RTA has a 13-week training program for new bus operators. The program includes 2 weeks of classroom training, 3 weeks of route familiarization training, 3 weeks of driving routes with instructors, 1 week of training that focuses on night driving, 1 week of accident prevention training, 2 weeks of CDL training and testing, 3 days of special training for the HealthLine BRT route, and 2 days for final tests. RTA requires that all new operators meet FMCSA medical examination certification requirements. RTA makes use of feedback from its telemetry-based DMS, which records events and behaviors such as hard braking or following too closely, to determine when refresher or remedial training is needed for specific operators. Footage is shown to the operator in the video and sometimes to other operators for training purposes. The Executive Safety Committee meets each month. During these meetings, the CEO, deputy GM of legal affairs, deputy GM of operations, head of training, opera- tions personnel, the entire safety team, and any other relevant departments review field observations, video footage, and the results of all the trends related to operator safety. Safety rounds are a part of the Executive Safety Committee meeting in which near misses and other incidents are discussed to identify causal factors and ensure that employees are made aware of specific behaviors and actions to avoid. The majority of topics discussed during the safety rounds originate from video footage. To further champion safety, RTA is developing a mentorship program that will pair the poorest performing operators with operators who have exemplary safety records. Additionally, the Safety Department is working with Human Resources to add safety-centric questions to the pre-hire interview questionnaire, so that safety will be emphasized even before the point of hire. Technology Solutions RTA installed telemetry-based DMS equipment fleetwide in 2014 to help protect its operators, reduce costs associated with risky driving behaviors, and create a safer experience for riders. The DMS is a video-based data capture and analytics tech- nology that identifies behaviors that have the highest probability of causing a collision. The DMS provider issues a âreport cardâ every quarter, which enables RTA to examine and discuss trends. Interviewees said that incident reports increased immediately after the technology was installed, because the cameras were picking up behaviors that had previously gone unrecognized. After this initial period of adjustment, however, the agency saw significant reductions in unsafe behaviors. Operator acceptance was critical for achieving these resultsâRTA maintained constant communication with the local ATU chapter and associated operators before, during, and after the implementation.
33 In addition to the cameras that are part of the DMS, RTAâs buses are equipped with audiovisual surveillance system equip- ment consisting of four external and four internal cameras. The use of this equipment has been beneficial for one-on-one bus operator coaching as well as for refresher training in group settings. As noted above, these videos generate most of the topics that come up for discussion during safety rounds. As part of a 2-year Ohio Department of Transportation connected vehicle pilot program, RTA is working with Battelle on bus side detection systems and pedestrian warnings for crosswalks and transit stops. The technology is slated to be installed on 80 to 100 buses. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards Because of the large proportion of bus operators with fewer than 4 years of experience, RTAâs Service Quality and Safety Departments partnered to initiate the âOne Stop at a Timeâ campaign. During pullouts, safety personnel coach operators on trends relevant to that particular garage, with an emphasis on actions that need adjustment. The goal is to ensure that operators with shifts in the early morning hours are alert and ready. Safety bulletins are distributed directly from the Safety Department and generally cover topics that require immediate atten- tion (such as issues that could threaten life, limb, or eyesight) along with operational safety concerns. These bulletins, as well as posters and other types of reminders, are displayed at dispatch, in the control center, in office buildings, and at various locations in the field. The topics might also come up in pre-shift meetings and are sometimes included with an operatorâs paddles along with shift assignments; in the latter case the operatorâs signature is required to acknowledge that the information was received. RTA uses several types of awards to recognize exemplary safety performance. Exceptionally safe employees are nomi- nated each month for the Champions of Safety award. Awardees are photographed at the Executive Committeeâs monthly meeting and receive a clock as a reminder that safety should be the top priority around the clock. The following year, a calen- dar is distributed throughout RTA, featuring the 12 photos of the previous yearâs Champions of Safety. In addition, RTA holds a quarterly management meeting at which trophies are awarded to districts for accomplishments such as most improved driving or most improved collision rate. The trophies are ârollingâ awards described by the interviewee as âsimilar to the Stanley Cup.â RTA also has an annual awards night, which is usually celebrated in April. All those who have won a safety award or accomplished milestones in safe driving are invited, along with a guest, and executive leadership is in attendance to recognize the safety accomplishments of these employees. Other Policies and Practices RTA reports a close working relationship between the Safety and Service Management Departments. Route information and bus stop placement are reviewed on an ongoing basis by the latter, and a representative from the department provides updates regarding routes and stops at the Executive Safety Committeeâs monthly meeting. Bus operators can report concerns or suggestions regarding safety through RTAâs Safety Hotline, either with their names and numbers or anonymously. Cards with instructions on how to use the Safety Hotline are handed out at new employee orientations, which occur approximately every 2 weeks. Additionally, RTA has a nonpunitive hazard reporting policy; it will not take disciplinary action against any employee who discloses a hazard incident. Open dialogue regarding safety is also encouraged at Ask the Director lunchesâthe director of safety takes lunch at the district on Friday and operators are invited to discuss any safety concerns. RTA has a zero tolerance policy regarding the use of PEDs, including hands-free devices, while operating a bus. If an operator is in possession of a PED, it must be stored off the person while he or she is driving. With regard to hours of service, RTA follows the 10-hour rest rule, with shifts no longer than 14 hours. Although the 10-hour rule is not currently law, it follows FTAâs best practices and is highly recommended by APTA. RTA requires operators to report all outside employment; the agency decides whether the other job(s) would affect employ- ment as an operator. Employee health is important to RTA; the agency offers occupational health services beyond OSHA requirements, such as hearing tests and respirator tests.
34 RTA has a four-member Accident Review Committee, composed of a representative from the Safety Department, two from the Service Quality Department, and one rotating representative from a bus district. The committee meets every Wednesday to review all supervisor incident reports, watch video footage, and read written statements to determine the preventability of incidents. At the next Executive Safety Committee meeting, the preventable accident rate for the month is compared with the agencyâs goal of no more than 1.4 per 100,000 vehicle miles. A preventable accident is defined at RTA as âany accident involving an organizational vehicle which results in property damage and/or personal injury, regardless of who was injured, what property was damaged, to what extent, or where it occurred, in which the driver in question failed to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the accident.â Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer RTAâs safety culture is based on a system of accountability that begins at the top of the agencyâs chain of command. When asked about the role of the CEO with regard to safety at RTA, the case example interviewee said that during the entire 16 years the CEO has been with the agency, safety has been his priorityâhe participates directly in the Executive Safety Committee, safety rounds meetings, and employee safety recognition programs. Summary When asked to comment on the keys to the success of RTAâs safety program, staff cited the telemetry-based DMS, open and honest dialogue with employees, a relentless pursuit of improvement, recognizing and rewarding employees for exceptional safety performance, and teamwork between the Safety and Operations Departments that creates a true atmosphere of safety. Staff also strongly emphasized the importance of having a consistent, agencywide definition of safety. One person com- mented that an agency can adjust service but not an injuryâwhen safety is compromised, the consequences can be perma- nent. With this in mind, the Safety and Operations Departments plan to develop a safety leadership program that will focus on the meaning of safety and the consequences of actions. The safety efforts at RTA have helped improve the preventable collision rate at the Trickett District, while the Hayden Districtâs rate has remained relatively stable since 2014, as shown in Figure 20. The 2016 values are through April. FIGURE 20 RTA preventable collision rate. JACKSONVILLE TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA) The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) (Figure 21) is an independent state agency in Florida serving Duval County and the city of Jacksonville. Its responsibilities include highways, bridges, and multimodal options, including public transit. JTA public transit services include regular and express bus services, trolley-replica bus services, paratransit, community shuttles, and the Skyway automated people-mover system. JTA will be offering ferry services beginning in 2016. Bus opera- tors are members of the ATU. The 2014 NTD agency profile for JTAâs bus service is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 75,053,198 Annual Revenue Miles 8,736,870
35 Annual Unlinked Trips 11,037,817 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 158 FIGURE 21 Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) logo. The Setting Upon the arrival of JTAâs new CEO in 2014, the agency undertook an aggressive restructuring and design initiative: Blueprint 2020 has been a catalyst for the evolution of the agency. One initiative (of many) implemented to support Blueprint 2020 was the Route Optimization Initiative (ROI). The ROI was described by JTA as a âmassive overhaulâ of its system, the first time in 30 years a comprehensive analysis and restructuring had been performed. Central to the ROI was a concerted effort to evaluate and modify JTAâs legacy fixed-route system not only from operational and planning perspectives but also to mitigate safety risks inherent in the system. The agencyâs method focused on the root causes of all system events, not only collisions and other events meeting NTD reporting thresholds. These analyses identified the safety-related trends at the agency with corresponding areas of risk, such as fatigue and distraction, and weaknesses that could be corrected through methods such as bus operator situational awareness training and development of defensive driv- ing skills. JTA established performance management metrics, which included targeted reductions in preventable and non-preventable collisions and other incidents of 5% per 100,000 VMT each year. The agency targeted improvements in the following areas: communication and collaboration, bus stop position and safety, and passenger safety and security. A few of the effective pro- grams implemented by JTA to meet these goals and increase the overall safety of the agency are described here. Training Programs and Initiatives JTAâs training program for new bus operators includes a minimum of 6 weeks of classroom training, with an additional 2 weeks of behind-the-wheel training. New bus operators are required to have their DOT medical certifications upon hire. Bus operators also receive 6 to 7 hours of OSHA training on fire prevention and evacuation; electrical safety; slips, trips, and falls; blood-borne pathogens; and OSHA reporting requirements. JTA has used TSIâs Bus Operator Training Program for many years, but in 2014 the agency introduced a proprietary opera- tor training program as a complement to the TSI program. An examination of JTA incidents indicated that distracted driving was a contributing factor in many of them. The complementary training system was added to target and correct distracted driving, along with âCurbing Transit Operator Distracted Driving,â a training product developed by the Florida Department of Transportation. In 2013, JTA instituted mandatory quarterly safety training meetings at which refresher training is conducted. During these meetings, representatives from JTAâs safety, operations, and training departments provide focused training on various topics, including those related to current areas of concern for the agency. Many of these topics are drawn from registering events from the telemetry-based DMS and from video footage. The agency reported during the case example interview that these meetings have been successful both in the way in which content is delivered and in the opportunity they provide for face time between bus operators and safety, operations, and training staff and management. The cooperative effort was described as a âtree of trustâ
36 for bus operators, where they can provide feedback to management. When asked to identify the one safety program that has been most beneficial, the mandatory quarterly safety meetings were unequivocally identified as that program. JTA conducts remedial training for accidents, and employees who require remedial training are provided with a corrective action plan. Post-accident training is provided to bus operators and is documented. JTA is conducting a focused evaluation of first-year operators. The agency had experienced safety-related issues with these operators, but it did not have a full year of data to measure the effectiveness of the training methods on new hires. In addition, there are concerns related to the high turnover among bus operators. At JTA, a new operator starts as a part-time employee who may not work more than 28 hours per week. In an effort to ensure safe operations and manage fatigue, JTA prohibits these operators from having other employment. Full-time positions are limited and are often based on existing positions that are vacated through retirement or attrition. As a result of these restrictions and the assignments they get as new hires, high turnover is prevalent. JTA is looking at these issues from both the operational and safety perspectives. Technology Solutions In 2015 JTA installed DMSs in 50 fixed-route buses; the agency is in the process of fitting all buses with the technology. The system monitors seatbelt use and other onboard behavior, incorporates telemetry technology, and identifies multiple catego- ries of events; for example, following too closely, hard braking, and erratic maneuvering. Reports can be exported to Excel and incidents tracked by employee badge number. JTA indicated that the system has been a valuable tool for individual coaching with bus operators. It also includes locational tracking and can be used to make a case for termination on the basis of observed unsafe driving behavior rather than as a result of a collision. JTA reported that the DMSs yielded a 40% reduction in unsafe driving decisions over the course of a year. The agency also reported a decrease in liability claims and insurance premiums, but the interviewee noted that the DMS is expensive and may not be an option for smaller agencies. All JTA buses are equipped with video and audio surveillance equipment. The use of this equipment is considered to be beneficial, allowing for event-specific one-on-one coaching and counseling of bus operators. The videos are modified to allow their use in refresher training provided in larger settings, such as the quarterly safety meetings. JTA has a training simulator (Figure 22) that is used primarily for new bus operator training. It is also used to a limited extent for post-accident and remedial training, and the agency said it would be expanding its use for those purposes. The sys- tem immerses the driver in simulated settings based on real-life situations. When the system is used in a guided and imagina- tive way by an instructor, hazardous situations that occur infrequently, as well as proper driving techniques, can be taught in a clear, mindful manner. Drivers have the opportunity to associate muscle memory, reaction time, problem solving, decision making, and judgment at the same time. They can repeat the situation until the proper actions and reactions are automatic (FAAC Incorporated 2016). FIGURE 22 JTA bus simulator. (Source: JTA.) Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards In November 2015, JTA kicked off the communitywide âKeep It in Your Pocketâ distracted driving campaign. One element of the program was a strong emphasis on social mediaâtracking individualsâ âclout scoresâ (a measurement of their influence
37 on social media, based on retweets and reposts). JTA hired a social media specialist who identified the top 50 âsocial influ- encersâ in the Jacksonville area and brought them together for a well-received breakout session on distracted driving. They described the campaign and brought in distracted driving experts, attorneys who had represented the victims of distracted driving events, and local advocates. JTA also used the theme on a bus wrap, and the agencyâs external affairs professionals partnered with a local Toyota dealership that agreed to place hanging placards on each of the vehicles in its inventory with the slogan âKeep It in Your Pocket.â Although JTA was the lead, the agency attributed the success of the program to the com- munity support and partnerships developed, including cooperation and coordination with the Jacksonville Sheriffâs Office, Jacksonville Fire Department, and Northeast Florida Safety Council. Other campaigns have included a fixed-object campaign and dialogue with operators on how to define âdistractedâ and reduce incidents resulting from those distractions. JTA placed monitors in the operatorsâ lounge for messages and safety bulletins. The agency has a number of safety awards, including Operator of the Month and Operator of the Year recognition programs that include pins and certificates. Each year JTA recognizes bus operators who have had no preventable collisions during that year. The special Chapman Awardânamed after a long-tenured JTA safety managerârecognizes employees with distinguished, demonstrated safety-centric careers. Other Policies and Practices JTA offers employees the opportunity to attend various regional and national trainings. Requests are submitted by the indi- vidual employee and approved by his or her manager. JTA also offers an EAP and other occupational health services through the Human Resources Department. Operators do not get lunch or bathroom breaks; however, JTA has a goal of 10 minutes of recovery time at the end of each run for operator relief. Operators can use the bathrooms at designated locations along the run. JTAâs planning office checks route timing, and safety and road supervisors routinely check bus routes and individual bus stops, and address any issues that arise. If bus operators observe unsafe conditions, they can report these conditions through dispatch. JTA operators may carry personal wireless devices but may not use them while the vehicle is in motion or while they are sitting in the operatorâs seat. Operators are terminated for violating the wireless device policy. JTA maintains a comprehensive database on all incidents. Preventability determinations are made by JTAâs safety department and provided to the operations department and service delivery managers. Per its labor agreement, JTA defines a preventable accident as one in which the operator did not do everything reasonable to avoid the incident, committed an error, or failed to react reasonably to the error of others, as defined in the TSI guidelines. The operations department handles discipline. If the determina- tion of preventability or the resulting disciplinary action is questioned, JTAâs Accident Review Board serves as an arbitration body. Disciplinary practices have been modified since 2012 in accordance with JTAâs policies and its collective bargaining agreement with the ATU. JTA observes a progressive discipline philosophy that begins with counseling and proceeds through 1- and 3-day suspensions to termination. Operators are terminated if they are involved in four preventable incidents within a 2-year period. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer When asked about the support of the GM/CEO in JTAâs safety culture, the interviewee said, Mr. [Nathan] Ford challenged the agency to look at ways to do things differently, so he was definitely the driving force. He believes in consultation from frontline employee up to senior/executive manager. One of the things when he first came in to bring about that communication is he started quarterly town hall meetings. These meetings occur every quarter and every employee participates in this informative session where Mr. Ford provides the status of the Authority. I think more importantly it is an opportunity for individuals to talk about concerns they have about the agency and it is really an open forumâ¦. I would say he has been the driving force in our safety program, but he also tries to get buy-in from all aspects of the Authority. Summary JTA describes its evolving SMS approach to improving bus safety as effective and successful. The agency has targeted reductions in preventable and non-preventable collisions and other incidents; Figures 23 and 24 illustrate the trends in these measures from 2012 through 2015.
38 The agency also reported significant reductions in bodily injury liabilities and property damage payouts, from $1,010,283 in 2013 to $696,859 in 2014. Other significant results include a 40% reduction in judgment errors and traffic violations and a 50% reduction in unsafe decision making from 2012 through 2014, tracked by the telemetry-based DMS. FIGURE 23 JTA preventable versus non-preventable incident rate. FIGURE 24 JTA preventable versus non-preventable collision rate. KANSAS CITY AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI) The Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) (Figure 25) is a bi-state agency created by a compact between the states of Missouri and Kansas and approved by the U.S. Congress. The authorizing legislation from each state was approved in 1965. The agreement defines the roles of the agency and the seven-county jurisdiction within which KCATA operates. KCATA is governed by a 10-member board of commissioners, with equal representation from each state. KCATA operates the Metro bus service, composed of 65 bus routes; two BRT Metro Area Express routes, the Main Street MAX and Troost MAX; MetroFlex, providing demand-response service; Share-a-Fare paratransit service for persons with disabilities and the elderly; adVANtage vanpool service; and the new downtown streetcar. KCATA is also a transit provider under the regional transit brand RideKC. KCATA bus operators are members of the ATU. The 2014 NTD agency profile for KCATAâs bus service is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 52,636,459 Annual Revenue Miles 7,521,462 Annual Unlinked Trips 14,306,016 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 168
39 FIGURE 25 Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) logo. The Setting In 2013, KCATA observed significant increases in bus collisions with passengers as well as passenger incidents. The agency tracked auto liability claims, accident claim payouts, and pedestrian incidents and associated claims. From 2004 through 2010, auto liability claims had been reduced by 50%, yet they rose over the next 3 years, and payments rose from $442,660 in 2011 to approximately $1.9 million in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, five claims were filed by pedestrians; in 2013, nine claims were filed, one of which was a pedestrian fatality. The payouts for these claims rose from $47,576 in 2011 to more than $623,000 in 2013. These trends were of considerable concern for KCATA. In response, KCATA developed a comprehensive corrective action plan to reduce bus accidents. The five-point plan, implemented in 2013, focused on five Eâs: engineering, education, enforce- ment, encouragement, and evaluation. In the area of engineering, KCATA spent $350,000 retrofitting its bus fleet with accelerometers to monitor operator driving behaviors. In the area of education, refresher and remedial training focused on pedestrian awareness, along with understanding and recognizing blind spots and how to mitigate them while driving. The agencyâs accident discipline policies and associated enforcement were strengthened, as were the penalties for noncompliance with those policies. Recognizing the importance of encouragement, the agency created a safety suggestion program with recognition and rewards for employees who promote safe driving behavior. Finally, KCATA established an evaluation program with metrics that are monitored and tracked. The following are the objectives of the program: â¢ Elimination of pedestrian collisions â¢ Reduction of auto liability costs by 10% â¢ Reduction of onboard passenger incidents by 15% â¢ Reduction of bus collisions by 10%. Training Programs and Initiatives KCATAâs training program for new bus operators includes a minimum of 6 weeks of training. Preparing potential bus opera- tors for CDL testing is a training focus area for 1 week. The agency has also implemented training modules for active shooter, bomb threats, the ADA, distracted driving, and customer service (to which it dedicates a full day). In addition, all new bus operators receive pedestrian awareness training, emphasizing the hazards associated with blind spots and other critical ele- ments. Training content is drawn from both outside sources and curriculum developed in-house. Before the first day of training, new bus operators are sent to a medical doctor for a DOT physical and drug examination, which is valid for up to 24 months. Operators are responsible for renewing and registering their DOT physical cards with the state before their CDLs expire. The agency uses simulators (such as the one shown in Figure 26) in all segments of the training program, including new operator training, refresher training, and remedial training. KCATA purchased two simulators in 2008 for approximately $350,000 each; the current maintenance contract is $6,500 a year. The agency uses the simulators for a number of activities, including basic skills tests, which can detect the individualâs reaction and response speeds and the transition from the accelera- tor to the brake. The simulator can also detect color blindness, and the agency has used it to eliminate some new hires because of their inability to determine the color of traffic control signals. Although KCATA does not have data to prove the success of the simulator in training bus operators, respondents said they were âabsolutely effective.â
40 FIGURE 26 KCATA bus simulator. (Source: Doron Precision Systems, Inc.) Onboard audio and video recordings of bus collisions and other events are saved in a video library and used in both refresher and remedial bus operator training. These videos are also used to demonstrate the difference between a preventable and unpreventable (or non-preventable) incident. KCATA provides remedial training to bus operators who have been involved in multiple bus accidents. These operators receive training specific to the areas of risk, with a special emphasis on pedestrian awareness. Refresher training is provided, on average, once every 2 years. Technology Solutions In addition to using simulators in its training programs, the agency uses an onboard video surveillance system, with vehicle information management software that can track the speed of the vehicle, acceleration data, and use of turn signals. The technology does not capture hard braking events. Since the implementation of the system, KCATA has been able to identify policy violations, such as texting. The agency is considering the purchase of a collision avoidance system in an effort to fur- ther mitigate pedestrian and bicycle collisions. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards KCATA holds an annual Distinguished Drivers award ceremony. Award recipients must meet the rigid criteria established for the program, which focus on operator safety, customer service, reliability, and attendance over a 12-month period. To be eligible for the award, a KCATA bus operator must meet the following criteria: â¢ No avoidable accidents â¢ No chargeable customer complaints â¢ No written violations or suspensions â¢ No missed assignments â¢ No more than one late arrival to work â¢ No more than eight non-vacation days off work. In addition to the Distinguished Driver awards, operators can earn the Grand Master Driver award (distinguished driver status for 10 years) and the Master Driver award (distinguished driver status for 5 years). Safety awards are also given for the Safety Slogan contest, Safety Suggestion Program, and Safe Worker Program. KCATA staff said these programs are effective in motivating transit employees. Pedestrian Safety Week is observed in May each year as part of the World Health Organizationâs mission to prevent pedestrian fatalities and encourage walking with safety in mind. Pedestrian safety tips are communicated through KCATAâs TransitTalk articles. The agency maintains the RideKC website, where passengers can track the location of their vehicle, learn about available mobility services, access the Rider Guide, view current information on transit fares and passes, purchase passes, and receive up-to-date service bulletins.
41 KCATA has adopted FTAâs TransitWatch program, which encourages riders to be proactive in ensuring the safety and security of the system, and has an established Code of Conduct for Riders, with a section dedicated to the ways in which rid- ers can travel more safely. Other Policies and Practices KCATA has a PED policy in place that applies to all KCATA employees and AdVANtage operators. The policy prohibits the use of PEDs while driving any KCATA vehicle or motorized equipment or while operating any tools or maintenance equip- ment. It also prohibits the use of agency-issued devices, such as bus radios, when driving or operating any equipment, includ- ing personal vehicles and equipment. If a bus operator is involved in a vehicular, passenger, or pedestrian accident resulting from the use of a PED, he or she is subject to termination. KCATA uses an incident-occurrence tracking system to record transit incidentsâminor incidents as well as those that meet NTD major incident reporting thresholds. The incidents are tracked and trended, and routinely highlighted and discussed at Safety Committee meetings, where mitigation measures are discussed and put forward for implementation. Disciplinary actions related to incidents are on a point system. KCATA issues determinations of severity for inci- dents defined as preventable and provides a point rating for each event. The agency follows the National Safety Council definition of preventable, which is a collision in which the operator failed to do everything reasonably possible to avoid the collision. The first preventable minor accident generally results in a counseling session, with the operator charged 5 points. If an operator has an avoidable major incident, a staff instructor will conduct a ride observation, and the operator can be charged 7 to 10 points. A third classification of incidents defines major accidents and can result in an operator being charged 13 to 24 points. If a bus operator receives 11 to 17 points in one year, he or she would likely receive reme- dial training. An operator who receives 25 points or more in a year is subject to termination through a process that includes the ATU and upper management. The agency does have an Accident Appeal Board, and the bus operator can request a hearing with this body. The panel includes two union and two non-union members and the lead training instructor. Employee health and well-being is highly valued at KCATA, and several occupational health services are available. The agency holds an annual health fair that includes smoking cessation programs, weight loss programs, and access to a health coach. Through a health broker, KCATA has a full-time, onsite wellness coordinator who offers programs such as yoga and low-impact exercise classes. In 2015, all KCATA employees received a wearable fitness tracker to track their movement throughout the day. The agencyâs health insurance provider offers a program through which employees can accumulate points by participating in wellness and preventive health activities. The points can be redeemed for items such as gift cards, bicycles, and tablets. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer The individuals who participated in the case example interview said that their GM is very supportive of the safety programs that have been instituted and was central to the decision to obtain funding to purchase the training simulators. Summary KCATA suggested that its passenger and pedestrian safety campaign could be considered a model for transit agencies across the country. The program, instituted in 2013, has resulted in the following improvements: â¢ Collisions with pedestrians have declined, including events occurring at crosswalks (Figure 27). In 2013, seven pedes- trians were struck by a bus; in 2015, KCATA had only four pedestrian collisions, and none were at a crosswalk or in a loading zone. As one would expect, claims related to pedestrian collisions also decreased, from $623,741 in 2013 to $415,000 in 2015. â¢ KCATA paid considerably less per closed claim in 2015 than in 2012. In 2015, the agency paid an average of $648,000 per claim, compared with $9.16 million per closed claim in 2012, a reduction of 92%. The total amount of claims paid fell from almost $2 million in 2012 to $711,963 in 2013, $480,556 in 2014, and to $110,869 in 2015 (Figure 28). â¢ The number of auto liability claims per million VMT was also reduced, with a marked trend demonstrating improve- ment from 2004 through 2015 (Figure 29).
42 â¢ In 2015, the agencyâs bus collision rate dropped by 10% from the previous year. The overall number of bus incidents declined from 470 in 2014 to 425 in 2015, a reduction of nearly 10%. â¢ Owing to the success of the pedestrian safety campaign, the agency was the recipient of APTAâs Gold Award for Safety. FIGURE 27 KCATA collisions with pedestrians by location type. FIGURE 28 KCATA total claims paid. FIGURE 29 KCATA auto liability claim performance rate.
43 KING COUNTY METRO (SEATTLE, WASHINGTON) King County Metro (Figure 30), officially the King County Department of Transportation Metro Transit Division, is the public transit authority of King County, Washington. Metro began operations in 1973 but traces its origins to the now-defunct Seattle Transit, founded in 1939, and the Overlake Transit Service, founded in 1927. Metro is the eighth largest transit bus agency in the United States; it provides fixed-route bus, light rail, commuter rail, vanpool, and paratransit services throughout the greater Seattle area. Metro also operates and maintains Sound Transitâs Central Link light rail line and eight Sound Transit Express bus routes, as well as the Seattle Streetcar owned by the city of Seattle. Bus operators are members of the ATU. The 2014 NTD agency profile for King County Metroâs bus service is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 497,561,011 Annual Revenue Miles 32,908,089 Annual Unlinked Trips 100,644,581 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 951 FIGURE 30 King County Metro logo. The Setting Protecting the safety and security of customers, employees, and facilities is Metroâs top priority. The agency accomplishes this in a variety of ways, including planning, facility design, policing, operational practices, safety training, and collaboration with local jurisdictions and other agencies on safety-related matters. In particular, Metro maintains a constant organizational focus on reducing the frequency and severity of pedestrian accidents. In response to a spike in these events in early 2014, Metro added the following key components to its safety program: â¢ Mandatory annual refresher training for all bus operators, with a focus on pedestrian awareness; â¢ An upgraded ride check program to ensure that operators are using proper safety practices; â¢ Recruitment and development of senior operators as safety champions; â¢ Statistical analysis focusing on the times and locations of accidents, so operators know when and where to expect the greatest risk; â¢ A focus on pedestrian events at base safety meetings and individually with operators; â¢ Examination and piloting of technology applications and other strategies, including audible bus turn warnings, strobe lights, automatic braking, and warning decals on side mirror frames to remind operators to look out for pedestrians; â¢ Enhanced employee communications; and â¢ Special safety outreach initiatives to educate the public. To further develop and enhance its safety culture, Metro hired a consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of the agency. Metro requested that the review process be developed with special consideration for the requirements of legislation under MAP-21 and the FAST Act. The review kicked off in October 2015 with a cross-agency global interaction guided by a steering committee. This process included focus groups of operators, supervisors, chiefs, managers, and superintendents to ensure that all aspects of Metroâs safety system were fully captured. The review was recently completed and recommendations are currently being finalized. Training Programs and Initiatives Metro has a 4-week training program for new bus operators. Training topics cover route qualification, the ADA, CDL, bus inspections, medical certification training, customer service, coach operations, and left/right turn skill sets. Trainees operate both 40- and 60-ft articulated buses. Special focus is placed on pedestrian awareness and accident prevention, and trainers
44 also stress the three Eâs of safety: education, engineering, and enforcement. All operators begin as part-time employees and are guaranteed 2.5 hours a day. All of Metroâs approximately 2,700 operators receive a 4-hour refresher training every year, an increase from the previous training interval of every 3 years. Since 2010, 2 of the 4 hours are always devoted to a pedestrian awareness class that focuses on distracted driving and left turns. Because of an increase in pedestrian incidents in 2012 and 2013, the class was updated in 2014 to include a field demonstration of a squared-off left turn. In addition, Metro produced videos that show what a proper left turn setup looks like, both from the operatorâs seat and outside the bus. The videos are used to demonstrate how pedestrians (and even other buses) can âdisappearâ if operators do not use the proper rock-and-roll technique in the seat. The agency also shows video footage of an incident in which a pedestrian was struck by one of its buses (the operator granted permission to share the video for training purposes). According to case example interviewees, witnessing a real-life, agency-specific colli- sion makes a very strong impression on operators and has been highly effective in underscoring the importance of pedestrian awareness. Metro reports an overall reduction in both preventable (defined in accordance with NSC guidelines) and non- preventable accidents in all categories since implementing the pedestrian awareness training, with the number of pedestrian incidents in 2014 dropping to 23 compared with 34 in 2013. This improvement suggests that a refresher class of any kind, even for only 2 hours, can have a positive impact on reducing collisions and raising operator awareness. Topics for the remaining 2 hours of refresher training change from year to year, depending on specific needs such as cus- tomer service or the rollout of new equipment. The 2016 focus of this segment was on how to combat inattention blindness, the phenomenon in which the brain fills in gaps of information during frequent or routine activities. The refresher training includes both classroom and behind-the-wheel training, and supervisors conduct field follow-ups after training concludes. If an operator ever needs additional practice, schedules are adjusted accordingly and the training is provided. Remedial training is assigned by Metroâs Preventable Accident Review System and is based on points accumulated during a rolling 12-month period. After a first preventable event, operators receive counseling and ride checks, depending on how many points were assessed. The second preventable accident may require a 1-day refresher, and the third will trigger a 3-day accident retraining. The system is also forgiving; for instance, if an operator has no accidents in a year, three points are returned. Trainers who are former operators first enter into first-line supervision before eventually transitioning into training posi- tions. Although Metro does not currently require its trainers to have TSI certification, the agency is moving in that direction. All safety officers are TSI-qualified. To augment formal training activities, Metro has a large-screen TV monitor at its operation base that runs a loop on current subjects, such as blood-borne pathogens or fire extinguisher training. Executives and maintenance personnel receive a module of training on preventability in which videos are shown and docu- ments are shared. At the conclusion of the training, the lead trainer uses a mock accident to see if participants have captured the information necessary to determine preventability by NSC standards. Technology Solutions As of February 2016, 44% of Metroâs buses were equipped with audio and video surveillance cameras, and the agencyâs execu- tive leadership has announced plans to install surveillance cameras fleetwide. The proposal aims to have cameras on 80% of the fleet by 2019 and coverage of the entire fleet by 2021. Metro is also considering equipping its fleet with vision-based advanced operator assistance systems and is testing the technology on some of its newer buses. These systems have been tested extensively in the trucking industry; Metro is seeking to determine whether the technology can be successfully migrated to the transit industry. Audible pedestrian warning announcements on Metro buses were recently deactivated after the agency received numerous complaints about the noise. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards Since 1982, Metro has been running a safety contest that awards temporary possession of a rolling plaque to the base with the most improved accident performance. Bases do not compete against each other but against their own performance over the
45 previous year. The base with the greatest yearly reduction also wins a breakfast or lunch served by staff from the other bases. Interviewees noted that the safety contest had a significant overall effect on Metroâs accident frequency. When the contest was started in 1982, the accident frequency for the whole system was in excess of 65 accidents per million miles. Thirty-five years later, the system average is well below 35 accidents per million miles, with some bases in the teens. Metro conducts a number of ongoing safety awareness programs, such as âBe Seen, Be Safe, Be Smart,â which evolved out of a national campaign. âLook Upâ was added to the campaign message in response to an increase in distracted pedestrian behaviors, such as looking down at smartphones while walking or cycling. To get the message out, Metro partners with the NSC, the Evergreen Safety Council in Seattle, Sound Transit and its media personnel, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, and partners and stakeholders in the business community. In addition, Metro partners with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) for âTarget Zero,â the state equivalent of the national âVision Zeroâ campaign. As part of this effort, Metro meets with SDOT for year-round outreach at district schools regarding transit safety and Metroâs role in getting kids to school. Metro has engaged in outreach to the schools since the early 1980s and currently provides free snap bracelets and other reflective gear to local schools with the slogan âBe Safe, Be Seen, Be Smart.â Metro also developed safety tip cards that have numbered tips for transit safety, such as âDo not chase after the bus.â Operators distribute the cards to riders and the general public. Metro posts its Outhouse Journal every Thursday in restrooms and at other locations throughout its bases. The journal is similar to a bulletin, with various topics chosen from week to week. If a safety-related event occurs, the journal is used as an outlet to make operators aware of the event and to discuss the circumstances that allowed the event to occur. According to Metro staff, the journal has prompted a lot of conversation between operators and management personnel, and has been a highly popular feedback tool. Metro has contracted with King County Police on an operator assaults reduction initiative. As part of this program, police trainers visit all Metro venues to explain the initiative and to educate operators on techniques they can use, such as âverbal judoâ and other commonsense tools to de-escalate tense situations. This initiative has been successful, with a 6.1% decrease in operator assaults from 2014 to 2015. All Metro bases observe an annual Safety Awareness Day, with a barbecue, dunk tank, and other fun activities to celebrate while emphasizing the agencyâs safety message. Other Policies and Practices Metroâs scheduling department is working with the union to add time back into the schedule to reduce operator stress and lower risk; however, traffic anomalies are ever-changing and construction delays are particularly challenging to address. King County Metro is looking into the possibility of including more BRT routes to improve service frequency, which in turn may eliminate some of the stress that comes from operators trying to stay on schedule. Safety officers go out to the bases and talk to operators about the importance of maintaining composure, avoiding erratic behavior, reducing the need for evasive braking, and other issues related to schedule-induced stress. To address new and ongoing safety issues, Metro has a five-member Safety Committee that convenes on a monthly basis. The committee consists of two operators, a vehicle maintenance representative, a safety chief from operations, and a safety officer. At each meeting, the committee reviews the previous meetingâs minutes to determine what action was taken and whether anything remains to be addressed; new topics are discussed and handed off to the safety officer for routing and final resolution. Metro recently established a nonpunitive near miss pilot program to make sure operators have an opportunity to commu- nicate hazards and other factors that affect their ability to be safe in the workplace. Feedback is also received through green cards, a hazardous reporting program, safety committee meetings, and Safety Awareness Days. Regarding preventability determinations, the investigation process begins with the production of a post-accident report. All evidence from the reportâalong with witness testimony, photographs and video, and information from the sceneâis taken into consideration to make a preventability determination. In partnership with the local ATU chapter, Metro has incor- porated NSC guidelines into its process of determining preventability. After the initial determination is made, two levels of review are available. An initial re-read is done by a panel of three that includes a safety officer, a chief from training, and a union executive board officer or designee. After hearing the operatorâs case
46 as to why the judgment should be overturned, the panel deliberates in private. A unanimous or majority vote determines whether to sustain or overturn. If the original judgment is upheld, the operator can move on to the Accident Review Board (ARB), which meets once a month. The ARB includes two senior operators with more than 20 years of NSC service and safety designation and two supervisors. After presentation of the facts by both the operator and the safety officer, the ARB may ask questions of either. The ARB then deliberates in private and votes by secret ballot. A tie vote is submitted to the NSC for final judgment. If preventability is established, the findings are reviewed by the safety superintendent and sent to the operatorâs boss, who interviews the operator. As previously noted, the ARB assigns remedial training based on points accumulated during a rolling 12-month period. After a first preventable event, operators receive counseling and ride checks, depending on how many points were assessed. The second preventable accident may require a 1-day refresher, and the third will trigger a 3-day accident retraining. Disciplinary action depends on the number of points and the driving history of the operator. If, after the third preventable accident, an operator continues to accumulate points, discipline may progress from suspension to discharge. Metro policy stipulates that PEDs (including ear buds) must be stored in a bag not on the operatorâs person and may not be used while he or she is operating the bus. If an operator is observed using a PED, Metro requests phone records. If the records confirm use of the device while driving, a 3-day suspension is issued. With regard to hours of service, Metro observes the FMCSA regulation that allows operators to drive for 14 hours, with 10 hours of rest. Spread times recently went from 12 to 13 hours. To help ensure the safety, security, comfort, and convenience of all those who use Metroâs services, the King County Coun- cil passed an ordinance to regulate conduct on Metro Transit property. Accordingly, a Rider Code of Conduct is displayed on the inside of buses. The code provides commonsense guidelines for showing the proper respect for operators, fellow pas- sengers, and transit vehicles and facilities. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer The case example interview participants indicated that Metroâs executive leadership has been very supportive of safety and training initiatives at the agency and has worked to ensure that âwe have whatever we need as far as resources dedicated to training.â Metro staff members report that the GM has been proactive in terms of compliance with MAP-21 and making sure that the safety department has adequate access to executive management. In the past, Metroâs director of safety reported to the deputy GM; in the future, he or she will report directly to the GM. Summary King County Metro has made a concerted, agencywide effort to ensure that safety is its highest priority, an effort that the agency believes has resulted in significant reductions in pedestrian accidents. After improving its pedestrian awareness train- ing in 2014, Metro saw a 35% reduction in pedestrian events compared with 2013, and the reduction continued into 2015. Overall, liability claims of all types against Metro were down 8% in 2014 versus 2013 and down 6.8% from the agencyâs 2009â2013 average. Claims costs in 2014 were down 39% from those in the 2009â2013 period. Reducing the cost of claims has allowed Metro to put the savings back into its core operations. Metroâs operator assaults reduction initiative led to a 6.1% decrease in operator assaults from 2014 through 2015. Metro credits much of this success to vigorous and focused safety meetings, training designed and implemented to meet organizational needs, and follow-up on safety issues. Metroâs open communications policy has encouraged operators and other employees to submit their valued contributions through the Joint Safety Committee and the Safety Working Group, and at base Safety Committee meetings. Interviewees also noted the close working partnership between King County and Metroâs own safety and training staffs, management, and bargaining units. LANE TRANSIT DISTRICT (SPRINGFIELD, OREGON) Lane Transit District (LTD) (Figure 31) is a special-purpose district created by the State of Oregon and governed by a seven- member board of directors appointed by the governor. The district has provided public transit in Lane County, Oregon, since
47 1970 and serves the Eugene and Springfield metropolitan areas, as well as several neighboring communities. LTD public transit services include fixed-route bus, shuttle, and BRT services, as well as demand-response service for people with dis- abilities, a Commuter Solutions Program (vanpool, carpool, and employer programs), and a shuttle service for special events. Bus operators are members of the ATU. The 2014 NTD agency profile for LTDâs bus service is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 41,293,299 Annual Revenue Miles 3,370,399 Annual Unlinked Trips 11,209,096 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 85 FIGURE 31 Lane Transit District (LTD) logo. The Setting LTDâs overall approach to safety has been guided by an agencywide focus on customer service. From the districtâs point of view, training operators to see that a smooth ride and defensive driving are critical elements of customer service is preferable to hiring operators who have years of driving experience but no background in customer service. The emphasis on customer service is so strong that LTD places its advertisements for new operators in the customer service category rather than the driving category. LTD is also highly selective when hiring new operators; the agency aims to interview 10 times the number of people it hires, and prospective operators go through an exhaustive interview with a panel of operations supervisors and instructors and a human resources representative. During the case example interview, LTD staff noted several challenges to safety, including a legacy hub-and-spoke system that constrains flexibility in scheduling, and stations and transfer centers that have reached or exceeded their capac- ity. Both of these issues were described as placing added pressure on operators in terms of on-time performance, pressure that may in turn affect safety. Staff also cited the transition from one basic bus fleet to several mini-fleets of different types of vehicles, most notably the addition of 60-ft articulated buses for the BRT system that debuted in 2007. The BRT system has presented its own unique safety challenges resulting from motorists making illegal left turns on red across the dedicated busway. Despite these challenges, staff members were optimistic regarding LTDâs ability to maintain a high level of performance with regard to safety, because of the aforementioned focus on customer service, a good relationship with the union, an overall culture of transparency, and the fact that the organization is always competing against its own best record and looking for ways to improve. Training Programs and Initiatives LTD has used a proprietary operator training program since 1997 and makes use of all the modules that are offered. Interviewees said that, in their experience, the training program provides results beyond simple instruction. The program constantly stresses the organizational attitude of LTD and is used as the perceptual lens through which safety is viewed by the agency. LTD is a member of the Evergreen Safety Councilâa regional NSC member organization that provides training elements in workers compensation and worker safety that are not offered by the driver training system. LTD saw the number of accidents increase the first year after intro- ducing the driver training system but estimates that total official accidents (defined as those that came before the Accident Review Committee) decreased by approximately 27% during the next 4 years as the system was more widely understood and used. The agency has remained consistently at this level ever since. Staff noted that this improvement has remained constant over a 15-year time frame, even though LTDâs buses have become much larger, infrastructure has not really improved, the overall environment for driving has become more sporadic and unpredictable, and ridership has grown significantly higher.
48 LTDâs training program for new bus operators extends over a period of 8 weeks. The first 13 days of training include class- room and on-the-road practice sessions in an empty bus. Trainees begin learning fundamentals of the driver training system on the very first day, with orientation and paperwork taking place on the second day. The training department has taken this approach to emphasize to bus operator trainees that defensive driving is an essential part of good customer service and one of LTDâs highest priorities. New operators are required to meet medical examination certification requirements and to pass a physical capacities strength test. LTD has two types of refresher training. The annual âback to basicsâ refresher training is mandatory for all operators. Although there is a strong focus on basic bus maneuvers and defensive driving, trainers use game-like scenarios such as pre-trip inspection âcontestsâ for who can find the most problem issues. The aim is to add an element of fun to the training exercises and avoid patronizing veteran operators who have years of driving experience. Mandatory refresher training also includes video footage of actual LTD accidents, a practice that has been found to be highly effective for keeping trainees fully engaged. If an operator can be identified in a video, LTD seeks the operatorâs permission to use the video for training purposes. The second type of refresher training is provided through the use of the proprietary driver training system and is tailored specifically to operators who have had an accident. Currently a first accident does not trigger any training, but a new policy will require operators to take an online training course after a first accident. Classroom-based training focuses specifically on a given accident and uses the training system to show how the accident could have been avoided. If an operator requires extra training assistance, trainers will ride with him or her for a full shift, using the training product feedback system. If two preventable accidents occur within a 2-year period, LTD issues a warning letter and requires remedial training con- sisting of an all-day, instructor-led refresher training that focuses specifically on the factors that contributed to the accident. LTD defines a preventable accident as one in which the operator did not do everything reasonably possible to prevent, avoid, or mitigate an accident. The occurrence of three preventable accidents within a 2-year time frame triggers remedial training in the form of an 8-hour ride-along with an instructor using the feedback tool. LTD distributes a monthly written Review of Accidents to operators that describes all accidents, preventable and non- preventable, that occurred during the previous month. The operators involved in the accidents are not identified, and the accident scene photos and stills from video footage used as illustrations do not show their faces. According to LTD, these reviews benefit all operators because they allow them to see what went wrong from a wider perspective, one that includes the entire bus, not just the view from behind the windshield. The photos and stills emphasize the impact major collisions and hard braking incidents have on LTD passengers; this makes a strong impression on operators by allowing them to see what might be going on behind them when theyâre focusing on driving. Technology Solutions All LTD buses are equipped with video surveillance equipment, with up to 16 cameras per bus and at least 10 cameras on smaller vehicles. The equipment includes external and internal cameras and a camera that looks through the windshield. All newer buses are equipped with a camera that is mounted above and just behind the operator, providing a very good view of what operators are doing, including which direction they are looking at a given time and whether they are holding the steering wheel in the prescribed way. Most of LTDâs video surveillance equipment is also capable of tracking speeds. As previously mentioned, the video footage obtained from this equipment has been beneficial for refresher and remedial training and coun- seling of bus operators. LTD reports that the agencyâs BRT vehicles have been a particular challenge for video surveillance because they have four passenger doors (two on each side), and a lot of activity tends to occur at the doors. LTD used a telemetry-based DMS on a trial basis on a select number of its buses, but the technology was not a good match for LTDâs needs, and the agency no longer uses it. Staff noted that the information and video recorded by the DMS was pro- prietary, making access too costly for a smaller agency such as LTD. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards LTD awards safe driving pins for the number of years without a preventable accident; several operators have recently received pins for achieving 30 or more years of safe driving. If an operator has a preventable accident, he or she will not receive a pin that year; however, a pin will be awarded on the following anniversary if the operator has no accidents that year. In other words, operators do not have to start over when they have had a preventable accident.
49 Other Policies and Practices Route timing is reviewed on a regular basis by LTDâs planning department, and the safety department is included in the process of planning for a new route or for a different style of vehicle (such as a 60-ft articulated bus) to be put in service on a specific route. If bus operators have concerns or suggestions regarding safety, LTD has an open door policy as well as a âblue cardâ reporting system. Operators document unsafe conditions or other concerns on specially designated blue cards, which are routed internally to the appropriate departments. LTD has a zero tolerance policy for PEDs that stipulates that the use of such devices is grounds for immediate termina- tion. New operator field training emphasizes the fact that wireless distractions are simply too risky to be tolerated. The policy is included in the operatorâs manual, and new operators are required to sign a document verifying that they are aware of it. Additionally, memos are posted periodically as a reminder of the policy. LTDâs policy regarding hours of service follows the requirements of the working and wage agreement contract, as no Oregon law limits the number of hours bus operators may drive. At LTD, operators must have a break of at least 9.5 hours between shifts and may drive no more than 14 consecutive hours. After 12 hours on duty, operators have the right to invoke the â12-hour rule,â which requires LTD to grant an operatorâs request to be taken off duty owing to fatigue or illness. The policy defines hours of service to include not only driving hours but also total number of hours on duty. Operators may work a maximum of 13 consecutive days without taking a day off. LTD maintains a database on all accidents. Non-collisions, such as trips and falls that occur while the bus is stationary, are counted as accidents, and the database includes information on causal and contributing factors for preventable accidents. Preventability determinations are made by LTDâs five-member Accident Route Review Committee, which is composed of an operations supervisor, a maintenance supervisor who serves in a technical advisory role, a human resources claims special- ist, and two operators who are elected by their union peers and meet the minimum safety requirement of having driven for at least 3 years without preventable accidents. If the operator disagrees with a determination, he or she may follow the two-level appeal process that goes through the committee a second time, and then, if necessary, to the GM for the final appeal. In addition to remedial training, disciplinary action is taken if three preventable accidents occur within 2 years; this usu- ally includes some form of suspension. An operator can be terminated in the aftermath of an extreme incident, although this is very rare. Overall, LTD takes a progressive discipline approach that considers the big picture, including customer service complaints, absenteeism, and other performance-related issues. LTD provides occupational health services to all employees. In addition to free annual flu shots and biometric screenings, employees have access to an onsite ergonomics consultant/exercise therapist. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer Case example interviewees noted that LTD has had three GMs over the past 5 years: âIt goes without saying that changes in leadership always present challenges.â However, they said all three GMs have been very supportive of the agencyâs safety programs. Interestingly, several past GMs were previously employed as operators in other transit agencies, and the current GM was the head of training at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for 5 years. Partly because of their solid, hands-on experience, these individuals have all taken an active interest in safety. Summary When asked to comment on the reasons for the success of LTDâs approach to safety, staff mentioned the importance of the GMâs support and that of a human resources director who has regular meetings with union leadership to foster relationships based on inclusiveness and transparency. It was also suggested that part of the agencyâs success comes from the fact that the bylaws of the Accident Review Committee have insulated it from the politics of the union and the politics of LTD. One case example participant added that LTDâs safety leadership has broad representation and that even though they sometimes draw criticism from various constituencies, they take an equal opportunity approach and manage to âannoy everyoneâ at one point or another. First and foremost, LTD aims to maintain a high standard of safety based on the reality of the agencyâs operations, and most employees (union officials included) support this goal.
50 With regard to instituting safety programs at transit agencies, LTD staff emphasized the importance of giving the program a sufficient trial period, being in it for the long run, avoiding programs that are overly punitive, and consistently delivering a message that reminds employees âwhy weâre doing this and what the costs are if we donât.â Staff also strongly advised that if an agency is going to institute a program, communication with the union should begin sooner rather than later. Figure 32 shows the number of accidents, total and preventable, at LTD since the implementation of the driver training system in 1997. The figure shows that both total and preventable accidents are following a declining trend line. The asterisks next to 2007, 2010, and 2013 represent years in which snow and icy conditions inflated the number of incidents. Figure 33 shows the total and preventable accident rates per 100,000 miles driven since 2010. Rates of total and preventable accidents also reflect a favorable trend. FIGURE 32 Total accidents and preventable accidents at LTD. FIGURE 33 Total accident rate and preventable accident rate at LTD. SOLANO COUNTY TRANSITâOPERATED BY NATIONAL EXPRESS (VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA) Solano County Transit (SolTrans) (Figure 34) is a joint powers authority established through an agreement among the city of Benicia, the city of Vallejo, and the Solano Transportation Authority, and approved in the fall of 2010. SolTrans is operated by National Express. The 2014 NTD agency profile for SolTransâ bus services is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 10,804,500 Annual Revenue Miles 1,557,780 Annual Unlinked Trips 1,468,146 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 31
51 FIGURE 34 Solano County Transit (SolTrans) logo. The Setting SolTransâ mission is to âdeliver safe, reliable, and efficient transportation services that link people, jobs, and our commu- nities.â SolTrans provides local, express, and paratransit bus services. National Express, a transit contracting firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio, was hired in July 2013 to operate SolTrans services. National Express manages and staffs the entire SolTrans operation, including maintenance. Following the implementation of the contract, safety issues were identified and the safety culture of the agency was improved. This was accomplished by creating a vision of the desired safety cul- ture, identifying the existing strengths and weaknesses in the system, developing a safety action plan, implementing the plan, and evaluating progress. Training Programs and Initiatives SolTrans uses a proprietary driver training system, and it has been well received. The agencyâs training program for new bus operators is 120 hours, with an additional 40 hours of in-service line training. The core 120 hours are covered in the first 3 weeks of training; they include classroom and behind-the-wheel training and a skills course with a strong emphasis on defensive driving and customer service. Typically, SolTrans places trainees in the bus immediately, which helps to avoid overwhelming them with too much information in the classroom. During the interview, the SolTrans representative said that alternating classroom and behind-the-wheel training each day increases the traineesâ ability to retain the information, because they have the opportunity to apply the new knowledge immediately. All classroom instruction is conducted by an instructor who is certified by the State of California, and the agency uses operators to provide some of the behind-the-wheel training. During the interview, the SolTrans representative suggested that a minimum 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training should be a nationwide standard for new bus operators. New SolTrans bus operators receive 25 hours of behind-the-wheel training before they are allowed to transition into revenue service. SolTrans also requires that all new operators meet FMCSA medical examination certification requirements, which must be renewed every 2 years. SolTrans has very little part-time employment; new bus operators are hired as full-time employees. The agency finds that it gets better applicants and can reduce employee turnover by hiring people full time rather than requiring them to start part time. Eight hours of annual recertification training is required for all employees. It includes both behind-the-wheel and classroom training. Operators must score 80% or higher on the recertification exam, or they are required to retake the training until they do. California requires specific topics that must be covered annually, and all recertification training also includes defensive driver training. The California Highway Patrol is in charge of making sure that the operators are complying with the state requirements. The Highway Patrol audits transit bus operator files and reviews training files to confirm that the agency has met the state requirements. SolTrans bus operators and maintenance employees are members of the ATU and have played an active role in the imple- mentation of the training programs at the agency. Technology Solutions SolTrans has continuous video feeds with audio capabilities on its bus fleet. Videos are used for remedial training and to address customer complaints. When the video surveillance was first put in place, the union was slow to accept it. However, SolTrans overcame that reluctance by agreeing that the videos would also be used to reward operators for a job well done. Although the videos can be used for coaching opportunities or punitive measures, the focus of the surveillance is to recognize exceptional operators.
52 SolTrans uses an asset management and tracking company with a technology-based software platform that has GPS- enabled advanced fleet monitoring, real-time vehicle location, and an asset management system. This technology has been in use at SolTrans for 1.5 years and was described by the interviewee as beneficial for the agency. It is used for ride checks, road observations, accident reporting, and evaluations. The technology collects, stores, and transforms raw data into usable data, which facilitates data-driven analysis and decision making (TrackIt 2016). Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards SolTrans rewards bus operators with safety excellence pins and certificates, and ensures that all exceptional operators are recognized in front of their peers. SolTrans has emphasized positive reinforcement by all supervisors. Supervisors sometimes follow buses on their routes. A supervisor might board a bus and announce to the passengers that he or she is riding with an operator who exemplifies safety. This practice accomplishes two things at onceâit makes the operators feel good, knowing that they are being recognized for a job well done, and it makes passengers feel safer on their trip. The technique of following buses also creates a better context for coaching operators for improvement, and they are consequently more open to recom- mended corrective actions. SolTrans recognizes an operator of the month and an operator of the year. Operators of the month win $50 and dinner with the general manager. The monthly winners compete for operator of the year; the winner of that competition receives $500, and his or her picture is hung on the SolTrans Wall of Fame. The annual winners also attend a regional banquet at which they are recognized in front of their peers and families. SolTrans follows the NSC tradition of years-of-service pins; they are given out at the monthly safety meetings. During the interview, Tom Greufe, vice president of safety for National Express, said, âPositivity and safety culture are interrelated. At SolTrans, employees are treated as internal customers, with the understanding that an agencyâs employees are the most important people in the organization. It is necessary to thank them for a job well done and provide them with the opportunity to provide good customer service.â SolTrans develops and distributes a monthly newsletter, and daily safety messages are posted companywide and read over dispatch. To promote the messages and encourage employees to pay attention to them, three or four times a month the general manager asks an employee at random what the safety message of the day is. If the operator knows the answer, he or she receives $10 on the spot. Employees are also quizzed on the number of days the agency has been accident- or injury-free. The promotion of the safety messages improves morale while improving the safety culture, and the agency considers these practices to be effective. Other Policies and Practices The SolTrans policy for hours of service prohibits operators from being on duty for more than 10 hours a day. About 10% of SolTrans bus operators are on the extra board; when they are operating on split shifts, they are off between shifts. In addition, California regulations require that all bus operators receive a 30-minute lunch break. Outside employment is allowed, as long as it is reported and hours of work are logged per State of California requirements. Fatigue is an assumed factor in more incidents than it is reported or indicated. To combat the issue of bus operator fatigue, an annual hour-long fatigue awareness program is covered at a SolTrans safety meeting. SolTrans has a zero-tolerance distracted driving policy. A great deal of training time is spent on the topic of distracted driving, with emphasis on the fact that an operator who is caught using a PED or eating while driving is subject to immediate termination for the first offense. The use of continuous video allows operators to be monitored to ensure that they comply with the policy. The safety department at SolTrans is involved in the bus stop placement process but not directly involved with planning. When National Express first took over at SolTrans, a number of unsafe stops were changed. The safety overhaul was well received and resulted in the formation of beneficial partnerships. With the understanding that safety and health are closely related, SolTrans offers a health service package for employees and their spouses.
53 Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer The SolTrans GM has championed the safety culture at the agency. Quarterly town hall meetings are held at which operators can discuss any issues with corporate regional managers. During the interview, it was noted that operators are more likely to express concerns when the GM is not present, which may be related to reduced fears of punitive measures or retaliation. SolTrans is working toward SMS implementation with a pocket-sized safety culture guidebookâa small book with carbon copies that operators carry with them at all times. The book is used to document any near misses or unsafe conditions. The operator turns in the reports and keeps the carbon copies as a way to track them; management is required to respond within 48 hours. These reports are maintained in a near miss log that is used to track trends, identify potential issues, and develop mitigation methods if necessary. Summary SolTrans has done a great deal to improve the safety of its transit system. The interviewee said that the most effective factor in building a strong safety culture is to treat employees as internal customers. He said safety culture starts with how you treat people: if they believe in you because you treat them well, then they listen when you have constructive criticism. National Express took over the management of SolTrans in July 2013. As a result of changes implemented by the management com- pany, total incidents decreased by 71% in the last 6 months of 2013 compared with the first 6 months. During that same time, passenger falls decreased by 75% and employee injuries decreased by 66%, indicating a high level of initial success in the restructuring of SolTransâ safety culture. This success continued through 2015, as shown in Figures 35 and 36, which display reductions in total accident and preventable accident rates, and total injury and lost time injury rates, respectively. Preventable collision rates decreased by 52% from 2013 through 2015, while the total injury rate decreased by 65%. FIGURE 35 SolTrans total accident and preventable accident rate. FIGURE 36 SolTrans total injury rate and lost time injury rate.
54 TRIMET (PORTLAND, OREGON) The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, historically and locally referred to as TriMet (Figure 37), pro- vides public transit service in the Portland, Oregon, region. It covers an area of approximately 533 square miles that encompasses portions of Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. Created in 1969 by the Oregon legislature, TriMet is a municipal corporation of the State of Oregon overseen by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the governor; it has powers to tax, issue bonds, and enact ordinances. TriMetâs ordinances are noncriminal violations; however, the agencyâs contracted police do have the authority to enforce criminal laws. TriMet provides fixed-route bus, light rail, commuter rail, and paratransit ser- vices. It also provides the operators and maintenance personnel for the Portland Streetcar, which is owned by the city of Portland. Bus operators are members of the ATU. The 2014 NTD agency profile for TriMetâs bus service is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 286,304,909 Annual Revenue Miles 19,562,116 Annual Unlinked Trips 59,749,842 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 516 FIGURE 37 Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) logo. The Setting TriMetâs mission is âto provide valued transit service that is safe, dependable, and easy to use.â In April 2010, a TriMet bus operator struck five pedestrians in a crosswalk, resulting in two fatalities. In the wake of concerns over bus safety following this event, the agency initiated a top-to-bottom, systemwide safety review led by an independent expert from a safety and security consulting firm. The consultant interviewed employees and critically reviewed TriMet documents and procedures, resulting in two internal reports. Overall, it was found that TriMet had numerous âbetter than industry standardâ safety programs in place and that the agency was âfully committed and actively involved in the practice and disciplines which characterize a strong system safety program and process.â The consultant did find opportunities for improvement in some areas and noted a number of safety- related recommendations to further enhance the programs that were currently in place. These recommendations focused on overall adherence to the principles of system safety and security as practiced and advocated by practitioners in the industry: NTSB, FTA, TSI, FRA, NSC, and TSA. Recommendations were made with regard to bus operator standard operating proce- dures, rail and bus operator training, and bus stop guidelines, and for the development and implementation of an SSPP. To further the work laid out in the consultantâs comprehensive safety review, TriMetâs general manager created the Safety and Service Excellence Task Force in July 2010 and charged it with determining âhow to migrate TriMet to the highest levels of safety performance and thereby improve performance in all areas of its business.â The task force was composed of indi- viduals with expertise in public safety and traffic engineering, and included professional operators, pedestrian and bicyclist advocacy groups, and private business representatives. It examined TriMetâs culture of safety, its physical operating environ- ment, and the behavior of the people who interact with the system. This work was conducted concurrently with the systemwide safety review and a line-by-line review of all TriMet routes. The task force held a series of public meetings and in October 2010 issued a final report that made 19 recommendations, all of which were incorporated into TriMetâs action plans (Figure 38). The following are some of the most significant steps that TriMet has taken in response to the recommendations of the system safety review and the Safety and Service Excellence Task Force: â¢ Requiring annual recertification training for all bus operators; â¢ Realigning the organization by creating a safety and security division that reports directly to the general manager;
55 â¢ Appointing an executive director of safety who has a seat at the leadership table and is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive safety program, enhanced tools for accountability, and an employee support culture; and â¢ Reviewing reports and data from operators to track where close calls may have occurred, then working to eliminate any potential hazards. FIGURE 38 Safety banner at TriMet. (Source: TriMet.) Training Programs and Initiatives TriMet uses a proprietary training system for new bus operators that extends over 8 weeks. Trainees are required to have a CDL learnerâs permit to participate, and new operators must meet the Oregon state medical examination requirements. The initial operator training encompasses bus driving fundamentals, basic laws related to the vehicles, and defensive driving skills. The concept of risk has been added as a training topic to encourage operators to consider how certain behaviors and actions can increase the probability of a collision. Over the past 4 years, there has been additional emphasis on âbob-and- weaveâ and scanning techniques. These techniques are taught as a way to mitigate visual obstructions (such as the H-pillar), which are a major contributor to collisions with pedestrians and bicycles. The agency reported that the number of these colli- sions is relatively low and the rates are improving. After training is complete, new operators are required to demonstrate competency through a written exam, a practical exam in the yard, and finally an over-the-road skills test. After these evaluations, adjustments are made and remedial training is provided if necessary. Post-accident remedial training may also be recommended by TriMetâs Accident Review Board, which performs case-by- case reviews of all major collisions. TriMet defines a major collision as contact between a vehicle and a pedestrian or cyclist, a collision between a transit vehicle and a motor vehicle at an intersection that includes injuries, or a head-on collision. All bus operators must go through mandatory refresher training for annual recertification. Refresher training is a review and reinforcement of all topics and techniques taught during the training program for new bus operators. In 2011, TriMet set up an obstacle course in the yard to reinforce scanning techniques. Operators must attain a score of at least 80% or repeat the obstacle course until they receive a passing score. In addition, video footage of TriMet operators involved in particular types of collisions is shown during refresher training, and training participants are encouraged to judge how they would have handled the situation. (Footage used for training purposes is modified to obscure the operatorâs identity.) The case example participants reported that this real-life footage has become a very powerful tool. Technology Solutions TriMet buses include GPS-based AVL systems, a seat alarm that sounds if the operator leaves the seat without setting the parking break, front and rear wheel turn lights that illuminate crosswalks during turns, turn signals on exterior mirrors (Figure 39), rear-facing cameras on both the operatorâs side and the curb side, and a message display unit called the vehicle control head (VCH). The VCH has an emergency alarm button that alerts dispatch when police, fire, or rescue services are needed; messages can also be sent to all buses or to an individual bus.
56 FIGURE 39 TriMet driverâs left mirror turn signal. (Source: K&J Safety and Security Consulting, Inc.) All buses are equipped with multiple video surveillance cameras and with silent alarm buttons. In the case of a dangerous or threatening situation, the operator can use the silent alarm to alert the police and TriMet of the emergency, and the AVL technology allows the vehicle to be located quickly so help can be sent. Depressing the silent alarm also typically activates a single microphone positioned near the front of the bus, allowing the police to listen in and get a better understanding of the situation. The agencyâs newest vehicles feature six security surveillance cameras that, unlike the cameras on the older buses, are wired with microphones that continually record audio data. TriMet recently acquired a training simulator that had only been used for new operator training for approximately a month before the interview. The agency plans to use the simulator for all training, including recertification and remedial training. Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards TriMet examines operator performance individually and collectively, but this is only one aspect of how the agency aims to avoid pedestrian and bicyclist collisions. There is also a major emphasis on public education and outreach. Every fall, TriMet rolls out its âBe Seen, Be Safeâ campaign (Figure 40), which stresses the importance of wearing bright clothing, reflective materials, and personal lights to be visible, especially during the fall when daylight savings time ends. TriMet runs a safety awareness cam- paign every spring as well; the 2016 theme was âBe Alert, Be Safeâ (Figure 41). The focus of this campaign was on distracted pedestrian behaviors such as walking while wearing earbuds or while looking down at smartphones or other PEDs. A Safety Education Advisory Committee composed of TriMet personnel and community representatives plans and con- tributes to the safety campaigns that promote safe interactions between bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and transit users. The campaigns are generally launched in partnership with the city of Portland, the Oregon DOT, and advocacy groups such as the American Automobile Association (AAA). FIGURE 40 TriMetâs âBe Seen, Be Safeâ campaign. (Source: TriMet.)
57 FIGURE 41 TriMetâs âBe Alert, Be Safeâ campaign. (Source: TriMet.) In partnership with area teachers, TriMet outreach staff work directly with schools to educate faculty, parents, and students on how to behave safely around buses and trains. The agency also provides teachers with free safety education materials targeted at students. In 2010, TriMet held a contest among all high schools in the district in which students participated in the design process for the agencyâs âStay Alert, Stay Aliveâ school safety ad campaign. Winners (chosen by votes on social media) were rewarded with pizza parties, and the materials they created are included in the educational materials distributed to schools. Their designs were also installed in bus shelters, on bus benches, and on transit vehicles. Other Policies and Practices Immediately following the pedestrian tragedy of 2010, TriMet initiated a comprehensive line-by-line review of every bus route by its training and safety staff, with a particular focus on potential safety issues such as bus lane changes, turn movements, and bus stop placement. As a result, several bus stops have been moved or eliminated, and adjustments have been made to schedules and route configurations. The review process is ongoing, and work continues as new safety concerns are identified. TriMetâs goal is for all routes to be evaluated every 4 or 5 years, with approximately one-fourth of all lines evaluated annually. With regard to route timing, TriMet has elevated the collaboration between the training and scheduling departments to provide operators with the needed time for schedule recovery and essential breaks. The goal is to remove operator stress while maintaining service quality. If a problem or issue arises regarding a particular lineâs schedule, continuous improvement teams of frontline employees may be charged with troubleshooting and identifying potential solutions. The recommendations of these teams have resulted in adjustments to schedules and route structuring. Another major component of TriMetâs revised Safety and Service Excellence Program is the creation of a Request for Safety Assessment (RSA) that allows operators or any other employee to report safety concerns online. RSAs may not be made anonymously. Approximately 10 RSAs are logged each week; they are assigned to the appropriate department for reso- lution, and the results are reported back to the employees who submitted them. Operators can report close calls of various types with the push of a control head button. These events can be instantly recorded, mapped with GPS, and aggregated with other data to reveal potential hot spots in need of attention. TriMetâs wireless communications policy requires PEDs to be turned off and stowed in a bag or compartment. A first violation of the policy results in a 5-day suspension, and a second violation results in immediate termination, with no limit on the time between offenses. A state law in Oregon prohibits all drivers from texting while driving, punishable by a $500 fine. With regard to hours of service, in 2013 the hours of rest for operators were increased from 7 to 10. Per TriMet policy, safety-sensitive employees may not work more than 70 hours in any 7-day period and may not work more than 13 consecutive days. With operator health and well-being in mind, TriMet has quiet rooms where employees can nap. TriMet also has an EAP. Other occupational health services at TriMet include workout facilities at each base, available to employees for a nominal fee, where personal training by certified instructors is available. Preventability determinations are made by TriMetâs six-member Accident Review Board, which includes four operator/ trainers, one safety department representative who chairs the meeting and casts a vote in the case of a tie, and one nonvoting
58 union representative. The board meets every other week to review any incident that resulted in damage or injury, regardless of severity. Depending on the actions of the operator in question, the board may recommend remedial training. TriMet developed a pamphlet based on NSC guidelines (with some modifications) to guide the board in its decision making. If an operator is involved in four collisions within a 2-year rolling period, he or she is subject to termination. Remedial action is taken between each step, and there is an appeals process in place. Another group, the Transit Change and Review Committee, is composed of mid-level managers and directors and chaired by the executive director of safety and security. This group reviews every major collision, not to determine preventability but to determine the organizational factors that influence collisions. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer The fatal pedestrian collision of 2010 prompted TriMet to initiate an independent, holistic review of its safety culture. In a proactive response to that effort, TriMetâs GM created the Task Force on Safety and Service Excellence and charged the group with determining âhow to migrate TriMet to the highest levels of safety performance and thereby improve performance in all areas of its business.â The work of the task force, which included recommendations for improving TriMetâs safety per- formance, provided an invaluable framework for the agencyâs systemwide safety review and resulted in several of the key adjustments that guide TriMetâs safety culture to this day. Summary In response to the 2010 pedestrian collision, TriMet committed to reexamining and improving upon its already strong and viable system safety program. This commitment was undertaken as part of an overall revitalization of the safety culture at TriMet, and resulted in the following efforts: â¢ Making immediate modifications to standard operating procedures and infrastructure as necessary; â¢ Undertaking a comprehensive, agencywide safety review independently led by an expert safety and security consultant, and implementing the recommendations contained in the consultantâs reports; â¢ Creating the Safety and Service Excellence Task Force to further the work of the comprehensive safety review, and incorporating the groupâs recommendations into TriMetâs action plans; â¢ Initiating an ongoing, line-by-line review of every bus route to reveal potential safety issues, and taking appropriate corrective actions to resolve any problems or hazards; â¢ Undertaking special outreach and education initiatives to educate the public, especially youth, on how to be safe around TriMet vehicles; and â¢ Making other improvements and upgrades to shelters and stops, pedestrian crossings, windscreens, security cameras, and lighting. As a result of these efforts, TriMet became an early adopter of SMS principles. Rather than thinking of safety as a single priority, TriMet has made safety its core value and the lens the organization uses to make all its operational, planning, and strategic decisions. This includes everything from hiring and training employees to operating and maintaining vehicles, and every TriMet employee is charged with embracing safety as a value. TriMet embraces the philosophy that training and safety are not mutually exclusive but go hand in hand, along with cus- tomer service. With this in mind, another organizational realignment is planned in which the training function will report to the safety and security division to ensure that critical safety concepts are embedded. Figure 42 shows the bus collision rate per 100,000 miles at TriMet.
59 FIGURE 42 TriMet collision rate. UTAH TRANSIT AUTHORITY (SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH) The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) (Figure 43) is a local-district political subdivision of the State of Utah but not a state agency under Utah law. UTA oversight consists of a 16-member board of trustees appointed by elected officials of the constituent members of the transit district. The 2014 NTD agency profile for UTAâs bus services is as follows: Annual Passenger Miles 104,388,394 Annual Revenue Miles 15,648,448 Annual Unlinked Trips 20,165,174 Vehicles Operated Maximum Service 426 FIGURE 43 Utah Transit Authority (UTA) logo. The Setting UTAâs mission is to âstrengthen and connect communities, enabling individuals to pursue a fuller life with greater ease and convenience by leading through partnering, planning, and wise investment of physical, economic, and human resources.â Safety is the top priority at UTA, which is evident in the resources and efforts the agency has committed to improving overall safety. The hiring of a chief safety officer 5 years ago has improved the overall safety culture of the organization. UTA has consistently demonstrated its commitment to safety through increased efforts, funding, and resources. One example of this increased commitment is the recent expansion of its training program to include 3 additional classroom days. Training Programs and Initiatives UTAâs training program for new bus operators covers approximately 5 weeks. The first day is in the classroom, and the next week is spent focusing on CDL training and testing. To receive a CDL in Utah, drivers must be medically cleared in accor- dance with state law. Once trainees pass the CDL exam and have been medically cleared, they participate in behind-the-wheel training for the next 2Â½ weeks, where they learn about routes, operator safety, and policies and procedures. In the last 6 days of training (line platform instructor training), the trainee runs revenue service with a new trainer every day.
60 Owing to concerns about retention of safety policies and procedures because of inconsistencies in behind-the-wheel train- ing, UTA has added 3 classroom days to the new hire training. The goal of the new training is to use more videos and to incorporate policy review, claims, and safe bus operations. Trainers at UTA are operators hired to assist in training; they are categorized into two levels. The majority of first-level trainers are TSI-certified. At UTA, training and safety are separate departments, and training is decentralized among other divisions (e.g., bus, maintenance, TRAX light rail system, commuter rail, and corporate). However, training administrators work together to agree on a consistent agencywide message. Refresher training at UTA is conducted at the business unit level and focused on current prevalent incidents. As of 2016, each business unit had received approval to conduct up to 16 hours of refresher training for all bus operators. The training is based on the needs of the unit, but the agency works to ensure a consistent training message among all units. The operators selected to receive the training have been flagged for accidents or other retraining needs, or have less than a year of behind- the-wheel experience. The focus on refresher training for newer operators is the result of the trend at UTA of less experienced operators having higher incident rates, specifically in bus-versus-fixed-object incidents. UTAâs largest business unit, Salt Lake, conducts refresher training every summer; other UTA business units conduct refresher training as needed, typically less often than annually because they have fewer inexperienced operators. Technology Solutions In May 2014, UTA installed a telemetry-based DMS on its entire fleet. The DMS produces videos of incidents with the severity level already labeled in accordance with the point system established for UTA operators. The videos include audio recordings, which have been helpful in investigating complaints and disputes. Once UTA receives the video, the operations supervisors are responsible for reviewing it and directing necessary coaching or training for the operator in question. By contractual agreement, the supervisor must contact the operator who was involved in the incident within 11 days. The DMS is used not only for incident investigation. The system also provides bus operators with an extra level of protec- tion by allowing them to manually activate recording in circumstances such as robbery, unruly passengers, or road rage. The DMS enables UTA to track incidents by type, allowing for focused coaching on currently prevalent incidents. And the system can produce reports over a specified period, which enables safety staff to identify the top driving concerns in any time frame and address them through safety bulletins and coaching. The DMSâs pushbutton is one of the ways bus operators can report a safety hazard or close call if the system is not auto- matically triggered. The information, including a geographical marker, is sent to dispatch to be reviewed. Bus operators can also report close calls using safety suggestion forms and other forms, which are then recorded in the business unitâs hazard log. Each unit has its own hazard log, and each item in the hazard log must be addressed. If the hazard cannot be successfully addressed at the business unit level, it is reviewed by the Safety Security Review Committee, which consists of several UTA executives who follow a formal process to handle identified hazards. The DMS is not the only technology UTA uses to improve the safety of its system. In Figure 44, the orange arrow is point- ing to a camera installed on the rear of the bus, while the red arrow points to an illuminated âYIELDâ sign added to the rear lighting configuration to increase visibility and reduce rear-end collisions. Although data are not yet available on the effective- ness of either of these additions, bus operators favor them. FIGURE 44 Rear lighting configuration on a UTA bus, 2015. (Source: UTA.)
61 Safety Campaigns, Incentives, and Awards Safety is the number one priority at UTA; in fact, every meeting held at the agency begins with a safety moment. UTA has conducted several safety campaigns focusing on topics such as speed, proper curb distance, left-hand turns, wearing seat- belts, and red light stops. UTA partners with Operation Lifesaver and the local communities to hold community safety fairs to inform the public about safety-enhancing activities at UTA and what they can do to help improve safety. Many of the prizes and freebies at the fairs are Operation Lifesaver promotional items. UTA also holds internal safety fairs for employees, at which presentations are made on topics such as fire extinguisher training and prizes are awarded for activities such as mock pre-trip inspections. UTA displays and distributes monthly safety posters and weekly safety messages that cover various topics. Each train room (where the operators go to receive their work for the day) has monitors overhead that display safety and precautionary hazard awareness information. The safety department distributes monthly safety bulletins that cover the top avoidable accidents and top trending violations, documented by the DMS. The bulletins do not focus only on what is wrong; they also highlight the top saves and great safety moments, which are gathered partly from the DMS and also from information reports. The positive highlights are kudos to the operators and managers who are doing good things. The bulletins are not the only way exceptional operators are recognized. Each quarter, UTA presents Excellence in Safety awards to employees who have promoted the safety culture within the agency. Award winners receive a plaque and a gift cer- tificate to a restaurant of their choice. Annual contests are held, with prizes to stimulate participation. UTA also recognizes operators who have reached significant milestone points of accident-free miles (e.g., 1 million, 1.5 million, and 2 million). Other Policies and Practices UTA hours-of-service restrictions include no more than 10 hours of driving in a 15-hour maximum spread following 8 con- secutive hours off duty. The health and wellness of the staff are significant priorities at UTA, and the agency provides many occupational health services. In addition to the EAP, all UTA facilities have health and wellness rooms complete with free weights, universal weight sets, and stationary exercise equipment. An optional health and wellness program qualifies partici- pating employees for health insurance discounts. UTA also offers substance abuse and smoking cessation programs. The main office has a clinic where employees get annual blood screenings, and dieticians are available to help employees with issues identified in the screenings, such as high cholesterol. UTA has a distracted driving policy, with discipline dependent on the type of distraction. The cell phone and audio policy at UTA is zero tolerance, meaning cell phone use while driving is grounds for immediate termination. A civil ordinance allows UTA transit police to ticket distracted behavior exhibited near its rail lines (see Figure 45). FIGURE 45 UTA distracted behavior notice.
62 UTA defines a preventable accident or incident as one âthat the Accident Review Committee, while applying defensive driving standards and/or UTA policies and procedures, determines to be avoidable.â The agency has an accident prevention team at the Salt Lake business unit that consists of operations supervisors and managers, bus operators, a safety administra- tor, and, if needed, service planners, maintenance representatives, and others. Another initiative to improve safety at UTA is safety discussion groups, which consist of operators, supervisors, and management. They are short-term groups, put together to address a specific type of incident prevalent at the time. A recent group addressed the issue of rolling through stops; it came up with campaigns and other ways to get the word out, and successfully reduced violations in that area. Role of the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer UTA has an interim CEO, but the agency is in the process of filling that position. Safety remains paramount at UTA, even in times of transitioning executives. The executive board meets with the training administrators to make sure 5- and 10-year goals are in place and that those goals match corporate goals in terms of training and safety. All safety policies are vetted through the executive team: the entire team, including the CEO, must approve any safety documents prior to their integration into the organization. UTA is moving toward complete SMS integration, focusing on a top-down approach for all safety-related topics. The agency has received the Certificate of Registration for its SMS, which conforms with the 2007 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 18001 standard. The chief safety officer, hired in 2011, has played a significant role in establishing the safety culture at UTA. Improvements in safety are largely the result of this voice of authority championing safety causes up and down the chain of command. The chief safety officer reports directly to the GM/CEO. In the past, UTA lacked a structure for direct safety reporting; this change has contributed to the improved safety culture. Summary Although UTA has been extremely successful in increasing the safety of its transit system, it continues to strive for improve- ment. The interview conducted with UTA officials revealed that their approach to safety culture improvements is multifaceted and systemwide. Both training for new operators and annual recertification training are continuously examined at UTA, and changes are implemented when needed. Lighting configurations on UTA buses have been adjusted for improved visibility. The DMS allows for data collection and analysis in ways that were not possible in the past. The accountable executive in the safety department has also improved UTAâs safety culture. Between 2012 and 2015, avoidable bus collisions declined by 36%, as shown in Figure 46, and the number of claims payments declined by 9% over the same period, as shown in Figure 47. FIGURE 46 UTA avoidable bus collisions.
63 FIGURE 47 Number of claims payments made by UTA.