APTA announces 2015 Rail Safety & Security Excellence Award winners

Posted on June 22, 2015

The folks of Denver RTD with APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy and Chair Phil Washington
The folks of Denver RTD with APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy and Chair Phil Washington

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced the winners of the annual Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards, which acknowledges rail transit agencies in North America for their excellence in safety and security programs and operations. The awards ceremony took place on Monday at the 2015 APTA Rail Conference, which is being held in Salt Lake City.

"This year's winners are examples of why public transportation continues to be among the safest mode of travel for people as they go about their daily commute," said APTA President/CEO Michael Melaniphy. "I am honored to celebrate with these dedicated individuals who exemplify our industry's commitment to safety and security. These transit systems have developed new approaches, harnessed new technologies, and establish best practices to proactively prevent crashes and incidents that ultimately result in reducing injuries and saving lives."

Category: Heavy Rail

GOLD Award for Security – New York City Transit, (NYCT) New York

NYCT established the Eagle Team in 2008 after experiencing a substantial increase of graffiti on the system's rail cars. This program provided for creating teams to patrol the rail yards even during vulnerable night time hours. This led to deterring vandals and other potentially dangerous incidences from occurring. Since this program was in place, NYCT saw a 61% reduction in graffiti and incidents. The Eagle Team members, who also collaborated with the New York City Police Department, employed night vision googles and hand held flares to keep vandals and unwanted activity from the rail yards.

GOLD Award for Safety – Maryland Transit Administration, (MTA) Baltimore
The Maryland MTA team with APTA's Melaniphy and Washington.
The Maryland MTA team with APTA's Melaniphy and Washington.

Over the past three years, MTA has designed and implemented the Safety Rules and Compliance Program (SRCP), which is designed to keep customers, employees and equipment safe. The SRCP provides for three tiers of management staff which fosters collaboration and accountability throughout the program. SRCP encourages shared responsibility across multiple departments as MTA personnel conduct field test and manage constrained resources and manpower. Through this program, MTA has developed custom software which streamlines implementation and provides analytics, which helps track performance and trends.

Category: Commuter/Intercity/Regional Rail

GOLD Award for Safety – Long Island Railroad, (LIRR) Jamaica, N.Y.


The LIRR developed a cross disciplinary safety observation and testing program. This program provided for conducting safety observations in the field from employees from a variety of disciplines. It resulted in having a fresh set of eyes of safety experts from various departments to provide support and be an important resource for one another. This program is the ultimate exercise in teamwork and collaboration and provided for cross departmental focus on the goal of improving the safety of the railroad operations.

Category: Light Rail/Streetcar

GOLD Award for Safety – Regional Transportation District, (RTD) Denver

RTD developed a comprehensive safety plan with the goal of minimizing accidents at high-traffic volume grade train crossings. The agency developed, tested, and installed grade signage and signals at the busiest intersections with the goal of impacting driver behavior. One year after implementing these new signals and signage, RTD saw an astounding 61% reduction in accidents. This program serves as a model for the country because of its dramatic results in reducing crashes and possibly eliminating injuries and saving lives.

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