The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced the winners of the annual Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards at the 2017 APTA Rail Conference, which is being held in Baltimore. The awards recognize exceptional safety and security programs for rail systems in North America.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) earned the Heavy Rail Gold Award for Safety for improving employee and contractor safety on the right of way. Since 2001, MARTA has had zero employee or contractor fatalities on the right-of-way, and has produced an updated version of the Wayward Access Procedure Manual/Standard Operating Procedures.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) received the Heavy Rail Gold Award for Security. APTA recognized LA Metro for its Transit Homeless Action Plan, which aimed to improve passenger and employee safety, while focusing on engagement towards Los Angeles' homeless population. LA Metro also partnered with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Peace Over Violence program to create a 24/7 hotline.
Metro Transit of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., was awarded the Light Rail/Streetcar Gold Star Award for Safety for improving pedestrian safety around light rail lines through a comprehensive public outreach and engineering program. Metro Transit reached over two million people via billboards, on-board and platform advertisements, and social media. The agency also installed flashing train headlights and new cautionary signals at grade crossings. The number of pedestrian collisions was cut in half in the year following the program's start, and operators reported decreased usage of the emergency brake.
APTA awarded the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) the Light Rail/Streetcar GOLD Award for Security. Using crime data, MTA used data to target fare evasions and increased the issuance of citations for fare evasion since 2014 by 109%. Serious crimes also fell by 43% due to increased visibility of fare evasion enforcement.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) received the Heavy Rail Certificate of Merit for Safety for its Emergency Pantograph Lowering System. The system helps keep operators out of danger, improves safety, and lowers management costs for heavy rail vehicles.
The Light Rail/Streetcar Certificate of Merit for Safety was given to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) for its "Trolley Renewal" program that increased its system's safety and reliability. The program saw a 50% reduction in liability claims, elimination of injuries related to vehicle boardings, and zero roadway incidents occurred involving trains or track equipment.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) received the Light Rail/Streetcar Certificate of Merit for Security for collaborating with the Transportation Security Administration to conduct a Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement. As a result of improved crowd management, the VTA safely and securely transported spectators to events at Levi's Stadium, including Super Bowl 50.
"This year's winners show that the industry is continuing to innovate as we make riding on rail public transit safe and secure," said APTA Acting President/CEO Richard A. White. "These best practices are the best of the best and contribute to the fact that traveling by rail is among the safest way to travel."