Security and Safety

FTA updates Congress on D.C. Metrorail safety oversight

Posted on April 14, 2016

Larry Levine
Larry Levine

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) reported to Congress that it has conducted more than 100 inspections and directed millions in Federal funds to support safety priorities in its first six months of temporary safety oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) Metrorail system.

“In a short time, FTA has provided more thorough safety oversight over WMATA than it has ever received,” FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers testified before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform panel. “We all want Metrorail safety to improve and we want change now.”

In October 2015, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx instructed FTA to assume direct and temporary safety oversight of WMATA Metrorail from the ineffective Tri-State Oversight Committee (TOC). This role continues only until Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia set up a new State Safety Oversight Agency (SSOA) — something the three jurisdictions have been discussing since April 2010.

“We are now in April of 2016, and very little action has taken place to move towards a fully functioning SSOA. It is long past time for Virginia, Maryland and D.C. to create a new safety oversight body for WMATA Metrorail,” Flowers said.

Flowers explained that WMATA is responsible for the safe operation of the Metrorail system, including the performance of daily inspections and preventative maintenance. The current and temporary role of FTA is to verify WMATA’s progress on implementing Corrective Action Plans and remedial actions, and to ensure that WMATA is effectively carrying out its own critical maintenance, operations and safety training programs, until the three jurisdictions set up a new SSOA.

Larry Levine
Larry Levine

In the six month period from October 2015 to April 2016, the FTA WMATA Safety Oversight Office has conducted 107 inspections that cover track, the Rail Operations Control Center, vehicle and systems maintenance, automatic train control and traction power. During these inspections, FTA identified 229 defects requiring WMATA to implement 66 remedial actions.

FTA is currently in the midst of a three-part safety blitz focused on red signal overruns, track integrity and rail vehicle securement. A final report of this safety blitz is expected to be made public in early summer 2016.

FTA is also leading WMATA accident investigations as warranted and working to close out more than 100 open accident investigation reports it assumed from the TOC.

FTA is exercising its authority to direct WMATA’s use of Federal funds to prioritize safety projects and purposes, particularly in support of the corrective actions arising from the FTA Safety Management Inspection conducted in the spring of 2015, safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board and state of good repair infrastructure improvements. For example, FTA is requiring that WMATA hold in reserve $20 million in FY 2016 Federal funds for urgent safety issues that may arise, rather than expending those funds on two non-safety related projects as WMATA originally requested.

Furthermore, Flowers said that until Virginia, Maryland and DC create a new State Safety Oversight Agency, FTA is the best and most appropriate agency to provide temporary Federal safety oversight of WMATA Metrorail.

A copy of the full written testimony can be found here.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

New bill protects bus drivers from attacks, requires database reporting

The bill gives transit agencies two years to develop Bus Operations Safety Risk Reduction Programs.

Bill would mandate human trafficking awareness program in Calif.

From 2008 to 2017, California had the most human trafficking cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline of any state.

Amtrak marks Positive Train Control milestone

Subdivisions that serve the Amtrak Southwest Chief and California Zephyr are first to roll out, with full activation on BNSF routes expected by the end of August.

New York MTA, Waze partner for railroad crossing safety initiative

The safety issue continues to be a growing problem as distracted or confused motorists, some using GPS devices, inadvertently turn onto tracks instead of parallel roadways.

NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal Uber self-driving car crash

After crash in March, Uber has also shuttered its self-driving vehicle testing in Arizona.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close