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March 1, 2012

Urban and rural transit, different yet similar

by Louie Maiello - Also by this author

Public transit in rural and small urban areas is provided primarily to those groups who are dependent on this form of transportation, such as the elderly and disabled. Public transit includes buses, commuter rail, demand response services, light rail and vanpools. This service is primarily local in nature.

National RTAP and its partner organizations, the Federal Transit Administration and the National Tribal Transit Association, will sponsor a national conference on March 18 to 21, 2012 at the Radisson, Fort McDowell Hotel near Scottsdale, Ariz.

Unique issues facing rural and small urban properties will be discussed. The company I consult for, FAAC Incorporated, is providing its shuttle van driver training simulator to raise awareness of the capabilities of simulator supplemental training in rural training programs. Having a simulator there will provide a great opportunity to participate in determining corrective action solutions to some of the most frequently occurring collisions facing rural and small urban properties.

At the conference I am slated to conduct three educational sessions on driver training simulation as a means toward negating the challenges faced by rural operators. The sessions will include an overview on what a simulator training program looks like, how to introduce a simulator into the 'basic skill development' portion of a training program and how to work with veteran operators. If you are planning to attend, please stop by and say 'hi.' FAAC has a booth, and you can find me there or in a special room where the simulator will be set up. See how this technology can ensure that a leading collision for one year does not repeat itself the following year.

My dealings in surface transit were mostly centered on buses that were between 40 feet and 60 feet in length. Approximately 99% of the time these buses were serving the needs of customers within the five boroughs of New York. Bus collision types did not vary much among large transit agencies then, and I find that to still be true. Recently, however, while accumulating data on rural transit issues, I immediately noticed the differences in collision types versus larger agencies. In agencies equipped with larger vehicles, where backing is discouraged by increased forward-planning applications, backing collisions resulting in contact with fixed objects were right at the top of the list for one regional rural property. There were several other findings, but I am not privileged to list them all in this blog.

Corrective action training in the prevention of incidents/collisions, along with having standard operating procedures in place, will contribute to safe operations among all transit agencies, small or large. Standardized training for new hires, providing annual refresher training for all operators, and being proactive with regard to reducing high-profile, frequently occurring incidents, are all key elements of a complete training solution package.

Adequate training should be provided in:

  • Boarding and alighting.
  • Special needs individuals.
  • Dealing with difficult passengers.
  • Wheelchair lift operation and securement.
  • Vehicle fires and evacuation.
  • Personal safety.

People skills are at a premium due to the greater personalized interaction within rural and small urban agencies, and between customers/passengers and the vehicle operators.

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: Planes, trains and automobiles - but what about bikes?" here.

 

Louie Maiello


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  • Kelly Shawn[ March 2nd, 2012 @ 1:18pm ]

    This simulator sounds like a great product that can help small urban, tribal and rural operators as long as the expense is within their training budgets. Training is an essential tool for risk management. The training noted in the article are all included in Community Transportation Association's PASS certification program which has certified over 30,000 drivers nationwide. We look forward to seeing your product in Ft. McDowell.

  • Joe D. Acosta, WSO-CSSD, CCTM[ March 4th, 2012 @ 10:57am ]

    I concur with the author regarding the basics of good training programs for Operators. Additionally, consider the following points: 1) make your training, especially refresher training, relevant to current trends of concerns and events on passenger vehicles, 2) keep good records of incidents and accidents to highlight events and/or concerns upon conducting training, whether initial or refresher or even whether it pertains to urban or rural transit, 3) awareness relative to dealing with the many forms of inattention, including mental fatigue awareness, by all drivers on the road, and 4) sensitivity awareness should be provided during training, as well as basic practices referring to transit security. Accompanying Operators randomly after training is concluded provides an opportunity for the trainer to stay in touch with reality, in other words, knowing and understanding what Operators deal with daily; and it also indicates to Operators more of a genuine concern, which signifies more credibility for the trainer when conducting training or ongoing development.

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Author Bio

Louie Maiello

Louie Maeillo is a Sr. Consultant (Transit Training & Simulation), L-3 / DPA Independent Consultant, Bus Talk Surface Transit Solutions


Jason Palmer

President, SmartDrive Systems

Palmer is the president of SmartDrive Systems, a leader in providing comprehensive, video-based operator performance and safety programs to help transit agencies achieve operational safety and efficiency, protect operators and the public, and lower costs overall.


Barak Israel

product manager

Barak Israel is product marketing manager for the security domain for NICE Systems Inc.


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