Dear Colleague letter to the Transit Industry – NTSB Safety RecommendationDecember 16th, 2010
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff released a Dear Colleague letter on December 13, 2010 in response to NTSB Safety Recommendation R-10-4 regarding non-punitive employee safety reporting programs.
FTA Awards Indian Tribes $15.1 Million for Public Transportation ImprovementsDecember 15th, 2010
American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments across the United States will soon be making public transportation improvements on or near reservations, thanks to a $15.1 million investment of federal funds announced today by the Federal Transit Administration.
“DOT is absolutely committed to improving tribal transportation resources,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Building and maintaining good transportation infrastructure on and near tribal lands, and in Alaska Native villages, goes hand-in-hand with meeting the needs of the local workforce while protecting environmentally sensitive lands and important cultural legacies.”
Tribal Transit funds will provide grants to tribes for 59 separate projects, including transit equipment purchases and facility construction and improvements. Participants under this program include federally-recognized tribes and Alaska Native villages.
“More transportation options means greater mobility,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “Planning and expanding public transportation on or near Indian reservations will give those who live on tribal lands, sometimes in very remote areas, better access to jobs, health care, and other vital services.”
Funds made available on a competitive basis to tribes through the Tribal Transit program are in addition to formula funds that tribes receive from states through FTA’s program for assistance to rural areas. Tribal Transit funds can be used to support planning, capital, and operating assistance for tribal public transit services.
Distracted Driving Documents available from the National Highway Transit Safety Administration (NHTSA)November 17th, 2010
Available now on the FTA Transit Bus Safety and Security Program web site are two documents pertaining to distracted driving – “Overview of the NHTSA Driver Distraction Program” (DOT HS 811 299) and “Traffic Safety Facts – Distracted Driving 2009″ (DOT HS 811 379).
Search keyword “DISTRACTED” in the Resource Library to view these new documents now.
Or you can click here to go to the Distraction.gov web site, the source of these newly available documents.
Outstanding Rural Transit Systems improve mobility, enhance opportunity for transit-dependent ridersOctober 27th, 2010
For each of the last 15 years, our Federal Transit Administration has recognized transit providers that overcome significant challenges to deliver reliable services to families, seniors, and persons with disabilities who live and work in rural, often far-flung communities.
Yesterday FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan traveled to the National Transportation Research Board Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation Conference in Burlington, Vermont. There, she presented six transit providers with this year’s Outstanding Rural Transit System awards:
* Special Transit of Boulder, CO
* Rural Community Transportation of St. Johnsbury, VT
* Citylink Public Transit System of Worley, ID
* Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency of Cookeville, TN
* Flint Hills Transportation Agency of Manhattan, KS
* South Central Adult Services Council of Valley City, ND
Now, the millions of us who live and work in the nation’s cities and suburbs have options for getting around: car, taxi, bus, train, trolley, bike, or our own feet.
But that’s simply not the case for many Americans living in more rural areas. From the tribal communities of North Dakota to the Ozark Mountain towns of Arkansas, transportation choices are more limited, particularly if you can’t afford a car, and destinations are often spread far apart.
Can you imagine living miles and miles away from the nearest grocery, the nearest hospital, or the nearest major employer, without a car or truck to get around?
For many rural Americans, this is the reality they face. And, believe me, a transportation gap turns the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted into a real challenge, whether it’s getting out to look for a job, traveling to a dialysis center for treatment, or simply running the errands needed to manage a household.
That’s why I think the Outstanding Rural Transit System awards are so important. And why I want to thank this year’s winners for providing such a valuable service to the people who depend on them each and every day.
I also want to thank our partners in the National Rural Transit Assistance Program, who evaluated the winners.
We at DOT are really proud of this year’s winners. But we are also thankful for all of our rural transit providers. These are difficult times, and anything transit systems can do to make it less of a challenge for Americans to get where they need to go is important.
Urgent! Change in Radio Systems or Lose Communication Capabilities and LicensesOctober 18th, 2010
The following information and training opportunities about the changes mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requiring two way radio systems in the very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) bands to narrow their transmissions by 2013. This will require many transit agencies to replace their entire radio infrastructure and subscriber units. Agencies failing to make the transition may face license revocation and possible fines. Yet, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about what must be replaced to meet the new requirements.
For the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Narrowbanding outreach effort has become a very important task. We have worked with American Public Transportation Association (APTA), National Transit Institute (NTI) and various offices within FTA to spread the word out. Our latest effort with NTI was the development of materials for webinars and training classes.
NTI has scheduled Narrowbanding courses in:
Tampa, FL — November 8
San Francisco, CA — December 6
Los Angeles, CA — December 8
If you are interested in attending, please use the following link https://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=TRI36TEST and register online. The National Transit Institute (NTI) will be sponsoring this FREE course ($150 for consultants and contractors). If, for whatever reason (other than ‘Waiting List Only’), you are unable to register for this course online, download the Registration Form and fax the form to 732-932-1707.
Two Narrowbanding webinars on October 19, 2010 and November 4, 2010. If you are interested in attending, please use the following link https://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=TRI36 and register online. The National Transit Institute (NTI) will be sponsoring this FREE course ($0 for consultants and contractors). If, for whatever reason (other than ‘Waiting List Only’), you are unable to register for this course online, download the Registration Form and fax the form to 732-932-1707.
These schedules are posted also on the FTA Homepage at http://www.fta.dot.gov/, under “Upcoming Events” in October through December. For the general information about Narrowbanding, please click the button “Ready for Narrowbanding?” on the FTA homepage or go to the FCC link at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/technology/communication/radios/fcc-narrowbanding.htm.
Key aspects of Narrrowbanding from the website:
–Most current public safety radio systems use 25 kHz-wide channels.
–FCC has mandated that all non-Federal public safety licensees using 25 kHz radio systems migrate to narrowband 12.5 kHz channels by January 1, 2013.
–Agencies that do not meet the deadline face the loss of communication capabilities.
–Agencies need to start planning now to migrate to narrowband systems by assessing their current radio equipment and applying for new or modified licenses.
For further information, please contact Region 10′s Annette Le at 206-220-4461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LaHood kicks off 2010 Distracted Driving SummitSeptember 21st, 2010
On Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off the 2010 national Distracted Driving Summit by announcing new anti-distracted driving regulations for bus drivers and rail operators, as well as drivers transporting hazardous materials and commercial trucks. LaHood also identified more than 550 U.S. companies, employing 1.5 million people nationwide, that have committed to enacting anti-distracted driving employee policies in the next 12 months.
Pilot programs to cut drivers’ cell phone use by aggressive ticketing have accomplished the goal, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday.
In the two pilot enforcement efforts, “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other”, police in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., handed out thousands of tickets to drivers using handheld cell phones or texting during two one-week periods. Surveys by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in both cities found cell phone use fell 56 percent in Hartford and 38 percent in Syracuse, while texting dropped 68 percent in Hartford and 42 percent in Syracuse.
Secretary LaHood also announced that he is initiating a new rulemaking to prohibit commercial truck drivers from texting while transporting hazardous materials. In addition, he announced that two rules proposed at last year’s summit have now become law. Rules banning commercial bus and truck drivers from texting on the job and restricting train operators from using cell phones and other electronic devices while in the driver’s seat have been posted today.
The U.S. DOT has also been working with the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) to engage the private sector to promote anti-distracted driving policies in the workplace. NETS, which was created by NHTSA, is an employer-led, public-private partnership dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees by preventing traffic crashes.
Crashes blamed on distracted drivers killed 5,500 people in 2009. According to NHTSA research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009.
A "Not On Our Bus" Program Aims to Increase Rider SafetyAugust 30th, 2010
“Not On Our Bus” Program Aims to Increase Rider Safety
August 30, 2010
Officials from the Pierce Transit Police, Tacoma Police Department, and local public schools are spearheading a zero-tolerance enforcement operation of unlawful and disruptive conduct on bus routes, at transit centers, and at bus stops near high schools. During “Not On Our Bus” uniformed and undercover Pierce Transit Police and Tacoma Police, as well as Pierce Transit security personnel, will increase their presence on buses and at bus stops and transit hubs, part of an enhanced effort to enforce the State of Washington and the City of Tacoma’s Unlawful Transit Conduct Codes. Violators may be held immediately accountable by exclusion from Pierce Transit services for 90 days. A similar initiative in fall 2009 resulted in 750 encounters between police and students, leading to 68 ninety-day exclusions from Pierce Transit services for disorderly behavior or criminal activity.
Tacoma’s Unlawful Transit Conduct Code is detailed here:
Tacoma Daily Index.
How are we doing?August 26th, 2010
FTA continues to conduct voluntary onsite reviews at transit bus agencies and State DOT Orientation Seminars. The reviews provide an opportunity for FTA’s Bus Team to meet with managers and employees from bus systems and review their safety, security and emergency preparedness programs and identify strengths and areas for improvement. The voluntary reviews have been well-received and FTA has obtained numerous effective practices that it shares in the Resource Library.
State DOT Seminars provide an excellent opportunity for transit bus systems in the participating state to attend a 1-2 day seminar that orients them to FTA’s Bus Safety and Security Program. FTA’s team members walk participants through the “Roadmap to Excellence” and invites discussion regarding the principles and practical application of its elements. Additionally, each participant is able to view a demonstration of FTA’s Bus Safety and Security Website to help them better understand how to use this valuable tool.
Korean Bus Explosion Unnerves CitizensAugust 10th, 2010
By Bae Ji-sook
The explosion of the compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered public transit bus on a street in Seoul Monday is seeing mounting anxiety among commuters as they express concerns over safety. The city government vowed to conduct safety checkups on all 7,234 CNG buses in operation by the end of the month and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy advised CNG bus drivers to lower the gas pressure by 10 percent when recharging.
Police said Monday’s explosion, which injured 17 passengers including one female who had her feet severed, may have been caused by a problem with the gas tank. They are still looking into the case to determine the exact cause of the incident.
“According to witnesses, the explosion took place when the bus driver applied the brakes at a zebra crossing and the vehicle had come to an abrupt stop. It is highly likely that the gas tank, manufactured in 2000 and tagged with an expiration date for 2015, had several flaws,” an
officer at the Seongbuk Police Station said after looking into the problematic bus with gas experts.
The explosion was powerful enough to break the windows of nearby buildings but no sparks or flames were detected at the scene, the officer said.
“It could have been a problem with the container or the pipe. The gas could have leaked and under the right conditions exploded,” said a researcher at the Korea Gas Safety Corporation.
The authorities are striving to prevent any further accidents on the remaining 7,233 buses, which make up 95.8 percent of the buses operating in Seoul. The administration is planning to buy 300 more of the buses by the end of the year.
There have been eight CNG vehicle-related accidents between 2005 and 2008 nationwide. But none of them involved a vehicle that was
currently in operation.
City officials are also paying extra attention to 42 recharging stations in the city because most of the accidents have taken place while they were
parked for recharging. “During this hot weather, many things could happen,” one official said.
Citizens have expressed anxiety over the issue since buses are one of the main means of transportation. They have also urged the
government to set up better safety measures.
NTSB Synopsis Report on January 30, 2009 Bus Accident near Dolan Springs, AZJune 22nd, 2010
NTSB issued a synopsis of their report on the bus loss of control and rollover that occurred near Dolan Springs, Arizona on January 30, 2009. A 2007 Chevrolet/Starcraft 29-passenger medium-size bus, operated by DW Tour and Charter and occupied by the driver and 16 passengers, was traveling northbound in the right lane of U.S. Highway 93 on a return trip from Grand Canyon West to Las Vegas, Nevada after a day-long tour. As the bus approached milepost 28 at an estimated speed of 70 mph, it moved to the left and out of its lane of travel. The driver steered sharply back to the right, crossing both northbound lanes and entering the right shoulder. The driver subsequently overcorrected to the left, causing the bus to yaw and cross both northbound lanes. The bus then entered the depressed earthen median and overturned 1.25 times before coming to rest on its right side across both southbound lanes. This report includes conclusions, probable cause, new recommendations, and previously issued recommendations. This report does not include the Board’s rationale for the conclusions, probable cause, and safety recommendations. Safety Board staff is currently making final revisions to the report from which the attached conclusions and recommendations have been extracted. The final report and pertinent safety recommendation letters will be distributed to recommendation recipients as soon as possible.