APTA names winners of 2018 rail safety, security 'excellence' awards

Posted on June 13, 2018

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced the winners of the 2018 Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards at the annual APTA Rail Conference in Denver.

"Congratulations to these safety and security award winners who are leading the way in creating and maintaining a safe and secure environment in rail travel," said APTA President/CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. "The accomplishments of these leaders are setting the stage for the next generation of advances to make safe rail travel even safer."

The APTA Rail Safety & Security Excellence Awards recognize public transportation organizations for their innovative and proactive safety and security programs. It also provides value to the industry by benchmarking successful programs so other public transit systems can adopt them and derive similar benefits.

Nominations are evaluated on four criteria: effectiveness, benefit level, innovation, and transferability. The top honor is the GOLD Award, which is given to organizations with the best overall rail safety or rail security program. A Certificate of Merit is given to organizations in recognition of exceptional achievement in safety or security.

The 2018 Rail Safety & Security Excellence Award winners are awarded in three categories: Commuter/Intercity Rail, Heavy Rail, and Light Rail/Streetcar.

Rail Safety Excellence Awards:

Commuter/Intercity Rail

GOLD Award for Safety – New York Metropolitan Transit Authority-Metro-North Railroad — MTA Metro-North launched a community safety outreach program, “Together Railroads and Communities Keeping Safe” (TRACKS), in response to a crossing incident. Since its launch in 2016, TRACKS has reached over 150,000 people in the Metro-North service area and Metro-North has seen a decrease in trespasser strikes by 33%. One focus of the TRACKS program is to educate the younger members of the Metro-North community with presentations specifically targeted to children using a character called Metro-Man and Tracks the dog.

Certificate of Merit for Safety – Metrolink - Southern California Regional Rail Authority, Los AngelesMetrolink was recognized for several of their safety initiatives such as their industry leading progress implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC). The implementation of Metrolink's safety initiatives have been the result of collaboration between management, staff, and the board to prioritize these measures. The development of PTC, inward facing cameras, a training video and rail cars with crash energy management technology are some of Metrolink's advancements. These initiatives have contributed to a decade of increased safety.

Heavy Rail

GOLD Award for Safety – Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) – Atlanta — MARTA has made continuous progress towards a safer transportation environment. Over the last three years, MARTA improved safety and efficiency through a track allocation process designed to reduce standby costs and maximize track time. This executive level commitment assures that the safety of employees and contractors is a priority by developing a formal process to implement safety critical projects. This process uses a collaborative, closed loop system, consisting of maintenance of way, control center, rail operations, marketing, planning, bus operations, police, capital programs, and department of safety personnel.

Light Rail/Streetcar

GOLD Award for Safety – San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) – San Diego MTS introduced Anticipate, Recognize, Take Action, or ART. ART was developed in 2016 in response to an increase in accidents between motorists and trolleys operating at street level. The program achieves the goals of reducing accidents, reducing cost, and employing new safety training. In addition, the program led to creating transferable tactics, boosting staff morale, and has generated time savings and financial benefits.

Rail Security Excellence Awards:

Light Rail/Streetcar

GOLD Award for Security – Metro Transit of Minneapolis, MinneapolisMetro Transit employed a federally designated Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR)'s security for its light rail service for Super Bowl LII. The SEAR was located at the station serving the US Bank football stadium in both the heart of downtown Minneapolis and within the hardened secured perimeter. The Green and Blue lines and the Northstar Commuter Rail each saw their highest-ever January ridership totals and nearly 210,000 additional rides were taken during Super Bowl festivities as they dealt with a snow weather event, public protests and demonstrations, and increased ridership.

Certificate of Merit – Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO) HoustonHouston METRO increased its security presence and visibility in response to a 2016 customer survey. Security enhancements included Metro Transit Police on Segway and bike patrols. METRO implemented targeted deployments of fare inspectors, police personnel, and a new phone application that allowed customers to report non-emergencies in real time. They also reached out to the community with the increased use of social media to disseminate crime information. Houston METRO saw survey results improve by 18% in 2017 to the question of "I feel safer when using METRO."

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