National Public Transportation Safety Plan, 5628-5636 [2017-00678]

Download as PDF 5628 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices For further information, including a list of the imported objects, contact the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State (telephone: 202– 632–6471; email: section2459@ state.gov). The mailing address is U.S. Department of State, L/PD, SA–5, Suite 5H03, Washington, DC 20522–0505. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Taplin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State. [FR Doc. 2017–00957 Filed 1–17–17; 8:45 am] DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice: 9846; No. 2016–04] mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Determination Pursuant to the Foreign Missions Act Pursuant to the authority vested in the Secretary of State under the Foreign Missions Act, 22 U.S.C. 4301 et seq. (‘‘the Act’’), and delegated pursuant to Department of State Delegation of Authority No. 214 of September 20, 1994, I hereby determine it is reasonably necessary to achieve one or more of the proposes set forth in section 204(b) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 4304(b)) to designate 115 Town Point Lane, Centerville, MD 21617, which is owned by the Government of the Russian Federation, as a location and facilities for which entry or access is strictly prohibited by all individuals, including but not limited to representatives or employees of the Russian Government and their dependents, without first obtaining written permission from the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Mission (OFM). Such prohibitions will take effect as of noon on December 30, 2016. As a result, all persons on said property are required to depart the premises no later than the date and time stated above. For purposes of this determination, 115 Town Point Lane, Centerville, MD 21617 includes both: • A 45.52 acre parcel, owned by the Russian Federation, and documented in the records of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation for the Queen Anne’s County as account number 03–017249; and • A 39,300 square foot parcel, owned by the Russian Federation, and documented in the records of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation for Queen Anne’s County as account number 03–002829. 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Gentry O. Smith, Director, The Office of Foreign Missions, Department of State. [Docket No. FTA–2015–0017] [FR Doc. 2017–01052 Filed 1–17–17; 8:45 am] National Public Transportation Safety Plan BILLING CODE 4710–43–P Federal Transit Administration Z RIN 2132–ZA04 Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of availability and response to comments. AGENCY: DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice: 9847; No. 2016–05] Determination Pursuant to the Foreign Missions Act BILLING CODE 4710–05–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 Access to the property will be subject to terms and conditions set forth by the Office of Foreign Missions. Pursuant to the authority vested in the Secretary of State under the Foreign Missions Act, 22 U.S.C. 4301 et seq. (‘‘the Act’’), and delegated pursuant to Department of State Delegation of Authority No. 214 of September 20, 1994, I hereby determine it is reasonably necessary to achieve one or more of the proposes set forth in section 204(b) of the Act (22 U.S.C. 4304(b)) to designate 136 Mill River Road, Upper Brookville, NY, which is owned by the Government of the Russian Federation, as a location and facilities for which entry or access is strictly prohibited by all individuals, including but not limited to representatives or employees of the Russian Government and their dependents, without first obtaining written permission from the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Mission (OFM). Such prohibitions will take effect as of noon on December 30, 2016. As a result, all persons on said property are required to depart the premises no later than the date and time stated above. For purposes of this determination, 136 Mill River Road, Upper Brookville, NY includes both: • A 14.06 acre parcel, owned by the Russian Federation, and documented in the records of Nassau County, NY as NYS SWIS Code number 282427; • Comprised of lot grouping 164A, 164C & 296–297. Access to the property will be subject to terms and conditions set forth by the Office of Foreign Missions. Gentry O. Smith, Director, The Office of Foreign Missions, Department of State. [FR Doc. 2017–01053 Filed 1–17–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710–43–P PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The Federal Transit Administration has placed in the docket and on its Web site, the final National Public Transportation Safety Plan that establishes performance measures to improve the safety of public transportation systems that receive FTA Federal financial assistance. Transit agencies will set performance targets based on the measures in order to monitor and assess the safety performance of their public transportation systems. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program matters, James Bartell, Office of Transit Safety and Oversight, (202) 366– 4050 or James.Bartell@dot.gov. For legal matters, Candace Key, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366–4011 or Candace.Key@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Availability of Final Plan This notice provides a summary of the final changes to the National Public Transportation Safety Plan and responses to comments. The final Plan itself is not included in this notice; instead, an electronic version is available on FTA’s Web site, at www.transit.dot.gov, and in the docket, at www.regulations.gov. Paper copies of the final Plan may be obtained by contacting FTA’s Administrative Services Help Desk, at (202) 366–4865. Table of Contents I. Background II. Summary of Public Comments and FTA’s Responses I. Background Congress first directed FTA to create and implement a National Public Transportation Safety Plan (National Safety Plan) under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP– 21) Act, which authorized a new Public Transportation Safety Program (Safety Program) at 49 U.S.C. 5329. Public Law 112–141 (2012). The Safety Program was reauthorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Public Law 114–94 (December 4, 2015). E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices On October 3, 2013, FTA introduced the transit industry to fundamental changes to the Federal transit program authorized by MAP–21 with a consolidated advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). 78 FR 61251. FTA issued the consolidated ANPRM to provide the public with an understanding of FTA’s proposed approach to implementing the requirements for transit asset management and safety. In the ANPRM, FTA sought specific comment on the statutorily required components of the National Safety Plan. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5329(b) a National Safety Plan must include: (1) Safety performance criteria for all modes of public transportation; (2) the definition of the term ‘‘state of good repair’’ established under a rulemaking to implement a National Transit Asset Management System pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5326(b); (3) minimum safety performance standards for public transportation vehicles used in revenue operations that are not otherwise regulated by any other Federal agency, and that, to the extent practicable, take into account relevant recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board and other industry best practices and standards; (4) minimum safety standards to ensure the safe operation of public transportation systems that are not related to vehicle performance standards; 1 and (5) a safety certification training program. On February 5, 2016, FTA published a Federal Register notice (81 FR 6372) seeking comment on a proposed National Safety Plan. FTA conducted a number of public outreach sessions and a webinar series related to the proposed National Safety Plan and the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan notice of proposed rulemaking (Agency Safety Plan rule) that also was published in the Federal Register on February 5, 2016. 81 FR 6343. Specifically, on February 12, 2016, FTA conducted public outreach for tribes and hosted a Tribal Technical Assistance Workshop wherein FTA presented its proposed National Safety Plan and Agency Safety Plan rule and responded to technical questions from tribes. FTA subsequently delivered the same presentation during a webinar series open to the public on February 24, March 1, March 2, and March 3, 2016. On March 7, 2016, FTA delivered the same presentation at an outreach session hosted by the National Rural 1 The requirement for operational standards was added by the FAST Act. However, the ANPRM did include a discussion on operational standards. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 Transit Assistance Program, which also was open to the public. During each of these public outreach sessions and the public webinar series, FTA received and responded to numerous technical questions regarding the proposed Plan and NPRM. FTA recorded the presentations, including the question and answer sessions, and made available the following documents on the public docket for this Notice: (1) FTA’s PowerPoint Presentation from the public outreach sessions and public webinar series; (2) a written transcript of FTA’s public webinar of March 1, 2016; (3) a consolidated list of Questions and Answers from the public outreach sessions and public webinar; and (4) the results of polling questions from FTA’s public outreach sessions. FTA also uploaded an audiovisual recording of its webinar from March 1, 2016. The video is available at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= FBj5HRatwGA&feature=youtu.be. The National Safety Plan is FTA’s primary tool for communicating with the transit industry about its safety performance. FTA expects to update the National Safety Plan, from time to time, in response to trends in risk management in the transit industry, emerging technologies, best practices, findings from research, and other industry developments. FTA will issue substantive revisions to any future iterations of the National Safety Plan through a public notice-and-comment process. The National Safety Plan is based on the principles and methods of Safety Management Systems (SMS): A formal, top-down, data-driven organizationwide approach to managing safety risks and ensuring the effectiveness of a public transportation agency’s safety risk mitigations. On August 11, 2016, FTA published a final rule for the Public Transportation Safety Program that formally adopted SMS as the basis for FTA’s development and implementation of the Safety Program. 81 FR 53046. II. Summary of Public Comments and FTA’s Responses The public comment period for the proposed National Safety Plan closed on April 5, 2016. FTA received comment submissions from 119 entities, including States, transit agencies, trade associations, and individuals. FTA reviewed all of the comments and took them into consideration when developing today’s final National Safety Plan. Some comments received were outside of the scope of the proposed National Safety Plan. For example, FTA PO 00000 Frm 00108 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5629 received a number of comments related to the definitions of ‘‘injury’’ and ‘‘serious injury.’’ FTA defined ‘‘injury’’ in the proposed National Safety Plan to provide clarity regarding the performance measure for injuries. In this Notice FTA responds to comments received regarding the definition of ‘‘injury’’ to the extent it relates to the National Safety Plan, but does not respond to comments related to reporting thresholds for certain injuries under the final State Safety Oversight rule at 49 CFR part 674. Similarly, FTA received several comments related to the definition of the term ‘‘state of good repair,’’ a term FTA was required to define in a rulemaking for transit asset management pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5326. On July 26, 2016, FTA issued a final rule for Transit Asset Management wherein FTA defines the term ‘‘state of good repair,’’ and FTA has adopted that definition in the final National Safety Plan. See the preamble of the Transit Asset Management final rule for FTA’s responses to comments received related to the proposed definition of ‘‘state of good repair’’ (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR2016-07-26/pdf/2016-16883.pdf). Relatedly, a number of commenters noted inconsistencies with certain definitions found throughout FTA’s several safety rulemakings. In response, FTA has aligned the definitions in the final National Safety Plan with other safety rulemakings and the Transit Asset Management final rule to ensure consistency. FTA made a number of clarifying, organizational, and substantive revisions to the final National Safety Plan which are discussed below in the summary of public comments and FTA’s responses. Comments and responses are subdivided by their corresponding sections of the proposed National Safety Plan and subject matter. A. Chapter I: Introduction Comments General A number of commenters provided general support for the proposed National Safety Plan. Of these commenters, several broadly supported efforts by FTA to improve transportation safety. Multiple commenters stated that while they support FTA’s efforts to develop a safety plan, they would prefer that FTA not impose significant regulatory and implementation burdens on States and others under an ‘‘already extremely safe public transportation system.’’ E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 5630 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices SMS Several commenters supported FTA’s proposal to incorporate SMS into a National Safety Plan, however, a few did not support FTA’s application of SMS as a mandated approach to safety, especially for that portion of the nation’s transit network that is delivered by State DOT subrecipients. A couple of commenters stated that encouraging agencies to compare and contrast safety data results with other agencies when creating their safety plans runs contrary to the premise of SMS, where agencies are encouraged to improve their individual performance without regard to others. Two commenters recommended that the National Safety Plan be consistent with Military Standard 882. Workforce Development and Training An individual commenter while commenting that the National Safety Plan is a rehash of 49 CFR part 659, questioned how FTA will handle and address workforce development issues stemming from the Agency Safety Plan rule and the National Safety Plan. Multiple commenters requested that FTA issue technical assistance tools and non-binding guidance with templates to State agencies and transit operators to help agencies create a safety plan in line with the National Safety Plan. Safety Plan will ultimately be turned into a regulation. Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program Several commenters requested more information about the Safety Certification Training Program. One commenter indicated that the National Safety Plan references the training program, but does not explain the program’s details. Reporting Systems One commenter stated that the National Safety Plan could be improved by implementing an employee safety reporting system that implements confidential close call reporting. This commenter also suggested that FTA include close call reporting in the list of SMS performance measures so that FTA could track and analyze close call events. FTA’s Response Updates to the National Safety Plan General FTA appreciates those comments in support of the National Safety Plan. Although transit is a relatively safe mode of travel, the statistical reality is that as transit ridership increases, data indicates that the total number of fatalities and serious accidents likely will also increase. FTA does not intend to adopt a prescriptive or burdensome approach to improving transit safety. Instead, FTA has adopted the principles and methods of Safety Management Systems (SMS) because SMS is both scalable and flexible and can accommodate the diversity of modes, expertise, and resources that exist within the transit industry. Several commenters provided suggestions on the frequency of updates to the National Safety Plan. One commenter stated that the National Safety Plan must be continually updated to reflect trends in risk management and best practices, and should be updated no less than once every two years. One commenter stated that future National Safety Plan updates should be accomplished through additional and periodic guidance regarding the minimum mandatory standards created in the rulemaking process. An additional commenter requested more information from FTA concerning the frequency of anticipated National Safety Plan updates and what the expectations, process, and timeline will be for transit agencies to respond or adapt their Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans’ accordingly. Two commenters requested that FTA clarify whether or not the National SMS For the last three decades the public transportation industry has implemented plans and programs based on the ‘‘system safety’’ principles outlined in the Military Standard 882 series (Standard Practice for System Safety, http://www.system-safety.org/ Documents/MIL-STD-882E.pdf [external link]). This approach focuses on the application of engineering and management principles, criteria, and techniques to achieve an acceptable level of safety throughout all phases of a system lifecycle. FTA has adopted SMS as the basis for the initiatives FTA will undertake to improve the safety of public transportation because it is both scalable and flexible. SMS is a collaborative approach that will help management and labor work together to build on the industry’s existing safety foundation to better control risk, detect and correct Figures and Tables mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Several commenters stated that the figures and tables in the National Safety Plan are not well labeled, specifically indicating that Table 5–1, as referenced in the text, does not exist. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00109 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 safety problems earlier, share and analyze safety data more effectively, and measure safety performance more accurately. SMS empowers transit operators to assess their own safety risks and prioritize the application of resources to those risks, which in turn supports a cost-effective allocation of resources. The main difference between the system safety approach and SMS is that, because of its engineering roots, system safety focuses mostly on the safety implications of technical aspects and components of the system under consideration, somewhat at the expense of the human component. The SMS approach builds on the transit industry’s experience with system safety by bringing management processes and organizational culture more squarely into the system safety engineering and hazard management framework. By tackling these ‘‘softer’’ management and human factors issues, SMS supplements system safety’s more rigorous engineering processes. FTA disagrees that the notion of benchmarking an individual agency’s performance against the performance of another agency is inconsistent with SMS. The methods and principles of SMS do encourage agencies to improve their individual performance. However, effective implementation of SMS is dependent on the collection and analysis of available data, which can include data from other agencies. FTA has provided detailed responses to comments related to implementation of SMS at the transit agency level in the preamble to the final rule for Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans. Workforce Development and Training Although the National Safety Plan does not directly impose any workforce development burdens on recipients, FTA is continuing to develop training, guidance, and other resources to enhance the safety competencies of transit employees. For example, FTA may provide funding through its technical assistance program (49 U.S.C. 5314) to address public transportation workforce needs through research, outreach, training and the implementation of a frontline workforce grant program, and conduct training and educational programs in support of the public transportation industry. In addition, FTA is currently initiating a project to develop guidance that a transit agency could use to help it set up and operate an effective employee reporting system. FTA will incorporate guidance, technical assistance, and other tools into the Plan as they become available. FTA E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices will also make resources available on the safety page of its Web site at https:// www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-andguidance/safety/transit-safety-oversighttso. FTA encourages transit providers and sponsors to visit the page regularly to access the most up-to-date resources. In the future, FTA will consider adding close calls to the list of performance measures. Figures and Tables One commenter noted that the National Safety Plan’s performance measures do not match the National Transit Database (NTD) definitions and also stated that the term ‘‘system reliability’’ is not currently defined in the NTD glossary. This commenter also asserted that the definition of ‘‘passenger’’ in the National Safety Plan does not match the NTD. Another commenter stated that the National Safety Plan needs clearer definitions so that consistent performance measures can be created across agencies. FTA has revised the tables used in today’s final National Safety Plan for clarity. Updates to the National Safety Plan FTA intends for the National Safety Plan to serve as both the primary tool for FTA to communicate with the transit industry about its safety performance, and as a repository of guidance, best practices, technical assistance, tools and other information. FTA believes that a flexible and time sensitive approach to implementing updates to the National Safety Plan is the most effective way to disseminate information. Therefore, FTA plans to propose substantive updates to the National Safety Plan, such as new performance measures, through a public notice and comment process as needed, rather than by regulation. However, components of the Plan, such as the Safety Certification Training Program and standards, will be implemented through regulation. Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program Although the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program is a statutory component of the National Safety Plan, FTA must establish the requirements of the Training Program through rulemaking. FTA anticipates publishing a final rule for the Safety Certification Training Program later this year. Until FTA publishes a final rule, State personnel who conduct safety audits and examinations of rail transit systems and for rail transit agency personnel who are directly responsible for safety must participate in the Interim Program. Bus operators may participate in the program on a voluntary basis. For more information on FTA’s Training Program, please visit https:// safety.fta.dot.gov/login. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Reporting Systems FTA is currently conducting research on the design, demonstration, evaluation, and implementation of employee reporting systems at transit agencies. As a product of this research, FTA intends to issue guidance to the transit industry on how to set up and operate effective employee reporting systems. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 B. Definitions Comments General FTA’s Response There likely will be instances where the definitions of terms in FTA’s rules or the National Safety Plan may differ from the definitions of those terms in the NTD. Where necessary, FTA will update the NTD glossary to align with the safety rules and National Safety Plan. However, to the extent that a definition in a safety rule differs from a definition in the NTD glossary, the regulatory definition will apply to the particular statutory requirement under the Safety Program. FTA has made sure to align the definitions in this first final National Safety Plan with definitions in the final rules for safety and transit asset management. As the Safety Program matures, FTA will standardize other definitions to ensure consistent collection, analysis and reporting of safety information. Fatalities A few commenters noted that the definition of the term ‘‘fatalities’’ does not match the definition used in the NTD glossary. FTA’s Response FTA did not include a definition of ‘‘fatality’’ in the proposed National Safety Plan. FTA did include a proposed performance measure for fatalities which was expressed as the total number of fatalities per unlinked passenger trips by mode. FTA’s responses to comments on the fatality measure follow the summary of comments on the measure in Section C, below. Injury and Serious Injury A few commenters noted that the definition of ‘‘injuries’’ was included in PO 00000 Frm 00110 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5631 the National Safety Plan glossary, but the definition of ‘‘serious injury’’ is not. FTA’s Response Neither the definition of ‘‘injury’’ nor ‘‘serious injury’’ was included in the proposed National Safety Plan glossary. However, FTA has moved the definition of ‘‘serious injury’’ from the footnote on page 41 of the proposed National Safety Plan to the glossary at Appendix A of the final Plan. Safety Events The proposed National Safety Plan defines safety events as ‘‘the collection of reported events that occur during the operation of public transportation and performance of regular supervisory maintenance activities.’’ One commenter questioned whether the term ‘‘operation’’ refers to revenue service events only, or whether it also includes non-revenue service. The commenter stated that this difference could change current reporting thresholds. A few commenters stated that the definition of ‘‘safety events’’ does not match the definition in the NTD glossary. FTA’s Response In the final National Safety Plan, FTA clarifies that the definition of ‘‘event’’ includes reported events that occur during both revenue and non-revenue operations. Contrary to comments received, the definition of ‘‘safety event’’ is not included in the NTD glossary. However, the proposed definition of ‘‘event’’ aligns with the definition of that term in the SSO final rule and the in the NTD safety and security reporting module. See Docket FTA–2014–0009 (January 2015). Requests for New Definitions A few commenters requested that FTA clarify the definitions of ‘‘transit provider.’’ Other commenters requested that FTA define ‘‘unlinked passenger trips’’ and ‘‘fires.’’ FTA’s Response In response to comments, unlinked passenger trips are the number of passengers boarding the public transportation vehicles; passenger miles are the cumulative sum of the distances ridden by each passenger. However, FTA has removed this definition from the final National Safety Plan because it has revised the denominator for several performance measures, as discussed below. FTA does not believe that it needs to define ‘‘transit provider’’ in the National Safety Plan. The Plan applies to recipients of chapter 53 funds that provide public transportation. E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 5632 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices FTA does not agree that it should define the term ‘‘fires.’’ Terms such as ‘‘fires’’ that are not defined in the Plan or by statute or regulation will be interpreted in accordance with the definition set forth in dictionaries of common usage. B. Chapter II—SMS Framework mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Comment SMS Components and Implementation Phases Multiple commenters addressed the Safety Management Policy component of SMS. One commenter suggested that FTA’s Safety Management Policy lacked sufficient detail and encouraged FTA to establish minimum hazard criteria for all hazard management programs across all transit agencies to promote conformance. This commenter suggested that allowing each transit agency to establish its preferred method for hazard analysis will lead to varying methodologies, create confusion, and limit the available safety data for analyzing aggregate trends for the nation. One commenter recommended that safety management policies promote open communication to all agency individuals, not just those identified as ‘‘relevant’’ to specific roles and responsibilities related to the SMS. One commenter expressed concern about the ‘‘management of change’’ criteria in the National Safety Plan, recommending that FTA include additional guidance in the National Safety Plan concerning transit agency documentation of operation/ infrastructure changes, the establishment of safety modification review bodies, the use of past performance when describing future criteria, the use of field monitoring to ensure the implementation, effectiveness, and enforcement of new mitigations, and the use of multi-tiered risk management processes. This commenter also requested expanded guidance for the ‘‘continuous improvement’’ section of the National Safety Plan, including exploration of the link between safety performance monitoring and continuous improvement. One commenter applauded FTA for developing strong risk management policies, but recommended that FTA revisit and expand the hazard management program. This commenter stated that risk management must be done effectively, noting that there have been multiple instances over the past 11 years in which public transportation accidents have occurred that could have been prevented had the required Hazard VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 Management Plan and risk assessment been effective. One commenter recommended that FTA include language in the National Safety Plan specifying that user documentation of a system’s operation, processes, policies, procedures, infrastructure, vehicles and training, as well as maintaining records of previous configurations, will assist in the process of continued system hazard identification. This commenter also suggested FTA add the term ‘‘safety risk’’ to the list of performance criterion in the SMS. One commenter noted its appreciation for FTA’s recognition of the need for employee involvement in the promotion of system safety, but encouraged FTA to emphasize the importance of motivation, behavior, and attitude when promoting safety. The commenter stated that a poor safety culture in transportation industries can decrease program effectiveness, and that written SMS plans will realize positive outcomes only by engaging employees in a culture of safety. Several commenters addressed the phased-in approach implementation policy of the SMS. One requested that FTA define and provide the relevant requirements and guidance materials for the list of tasks/expectations that a transportation agency ‘‘should have finished’’ at the completion of Phase 3 of SMS implementation. This commenter indicated that the National Safety Plan references requirements and guidance material that is not included in the National Safety Plan and requested the documentation prior to the National Safety Plan becoming effective. Two commenters recommended that the National Safety Plan clarify that the phased-in approach is voluntary and that many of the subcomponents of the proposed SMS framework may already be included in current safety plans. One commenter requested that FTA provide additional guidance on what type of changes require review and what type of oversight is needed during Phase 3. Two commenters stated that FTA should fully define and differentiate among the phrases ‘‘safety performance criteria,’’ ‘‘safety performance measures,’’ and ‘‘safety performance indicator’’ as the proposed National Safety Plan interchanges the terms. One commenter indicated that Chapter 2 of the National Safety Plan is a verbatim copy of the FTA SMS Framework issued in August, 2015. This commenter recommended that FTA use the National Safety Plan as an opportunity to expand on the 2015 PO 00000 Frm 00111 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 guidance to better help agencies develop SMS. Fatigue Management One commenter recommended that FTA include hour-of-service limitations or fitness-for-duty qualifications to the SMS and National Safety Plan to highlight the importance of fatigue management and ensure that it is adequately addressed in the National Safety Plan. FTA’s Response Readers should please be aware that the SMS Framework in the final National Safety Plan is not binding. The purpose of the SMS framework is to provide transit agencies with a brief overview of key SMS concepts, attributes of an effective SMS, FTA’s adopted SMS components and subcomponents, and SMS development phases and sample tasks. FTA has refined its approach to the development of SMS guidance. FTA is currently working to develop more comprehensive, scalable SMS implementation guidance and will take comments received in to consideration during this process. This summer, FTA initiated the SMS Implementation Pilot Program (SMS Pilot Program) so that FTA and participating transit agencies can work together to move SMS implementation forward. Through the SMS Pilot Program, FTA is partnering with transit agencies to assist them in transitioning to an SMS approach to managing safety. FTA provides technical assistance to transit agencies on developing and operating an SMS approach, while transit agencies provide opportunities for FTA to test the effectiveness of SMS tools in a diverse set of circumstances. The program is critical to helping FTA identify worthwhile and practical SMS implementation activities and to develop insights on how best to support the industry-wide transition to SMS. Transit agencies not involved in the pilot program will benefit as well. FTA will apply lessons learned and best practices identified to develop guidance materials and technical assistance for the entire public transportation industry. Accordingly, in the final National Safety Plan, FTA has removed portions of the SMS Framework that provided guidance on implementation. FTA has retained portions of the SMS Framework that outline and describe the four pillars of SMS and revised some language to align with the requirements of the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan final rule. As FTA refines its guidance materials it will take into consideration the issues and suggestions E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices Comment—Performance Measures raised by commenters on the SMS Framework. Fatigue Management In October 2014, FTA’s Acting Administrator tasked the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) with developing recommendations for FTA on the elements that should comprise a SMS approach to a fatigue management program. On July, 30, 2015, TRACS issued a report— Establishing a Fatigue Management Program for the Bus and Rail Transit Industry—which recommend components of a successful fatigue management program, including hours of service (HOS), shift scheduling, fatigue prevention and awareness training, fitness-for-duty medical evaluations and screenings, work and vehicle environment design, safety culture, incident investigation, and data collection.2 FTA is currently reviewing the TRACS recommendations. In the future, FTA may issue guidance or regulations on operator fitness for duty, which could address issues such as hours of service and fatigue management. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES C. Chapter II—Performance Management The reader should note that throughout the proposed National Safety Plan, and final National Safety Plan, FTA uses the term ‘‘performance measure’’ interchangeably with ‘‘performance criteria,’’ which it proposed to define as ‘‘categories of measures indicating the level of safe performance within a transit agency.’’ Although the language at 49 U.S.C. 5329(b) uses the term ‘‘performance criteria,’’ other parts of FTA’s authorizing statute, such as the Transit Asset Management provisions of 49 U.S.C. 5326, use the term ‘‘performance measures.’’ FTA believes that Congress intended the terms ‘‘performance criteria’’ and ‘‘performance measures’’ to mean the same thing. To eliminate confusion over distinctions between these terms and to ensure consistency with the use of these terms throughout FTA’s programs, FTA is defining ‘‘performance criteria’’ to mean ‘‘performance measures,’’ and it will use the term ‘‘performance measures’’ throughout this notice, the final National Safety Plan and associated rulemakings, accordingly. 2 The TRACS Report is available at https:// www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.dot.gov/files/docs/ TRACS_Fatigue_Report_14-02_Final_(2).pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 Injuries and Fatalities One commenter stated that an insufficient amount of fatality information is currently being collected nationally. The commenter suggested that as a result, there is not enough information to appropriately analyze the factors related to fatalities such that anyone would be able to develop actions to prevent incidences from occurring. Without appropriate data, the commenter suggested that FTA cannot conduct a true analysis of factors leading to fatalities. Two commenters stated that the National Safety Plan indicates that the SSO final rule and all future safety rulemakings will define reportable accident/incidences in terms of injuries. However, they asserted that the SSO rulemaking never defined a reporting measure as proposed in the National Safety Plan and requested additional information on this topic. One commenter recommended that the National Safety Plan use travel miles (‘train miles’ for the rail industry) instead of unlinked passenger trips for the purpose of standardizing the number of injuries and fatalities for the purpose of the performance measure. Additional comments recommended that FTA express employee injury rates in terms of injuries per X employees or X hours of work. FTA’s Response The proposed safety performance measures were derived from information that recipients already report to the NTD. Transit agencies already conduct their own investigations into the probable causes and contributing factors, as well as root cause analyses of organizational issues that influenced the causes or consequences of safety events. Each agency should use its own data to assess its performance. FTA agrees that it is important to standardize the performance measures. Currently, through the NTD, FTA requires transit agencies to submit their total passenger trips, passenger miles, and vehicle revenue miles. FTA chose unlinked passenger trips as the denominator for the Fatalities and Injuries measures in the proposed National Safety Plan because we believed that it reflected better a passenger’s exposure to risk. Based on the comments received, and after further consideration, FTA has changed the denominator for the performance measures from ‘‘unlinked passenger trips’’ to ‘‘vehicle revenue miles.’’ FTA believes that ‘‘vehicle revenue miles’’ is PO 00000 Frm 00112 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5633 more closely tied to risk as each additional vehicle mile of service increases risk of a collision with a pedestrian or third party vehicle. In the first National Safety Plan, the Injury and Fatality measures apply only to passengers. FTA may establish measures for patrons, pedestrians, transit employees, occupants of other vehicles, or trespassers in future National Safety Plan iterations, after receiving input from the public. Reliability Multiple commenters questioned the appropriateness of using ‘‘reliability’’ as a performance measure of a SMS program. These commenters stated that performance measures should be limited to safety metrics. Other commenters questioned the redundancy of the term ‘‘reliability,’’ as ‘‘state of good repair’’ requirements should cover reliability issues and render this measure moot. Some commenters went on to request that FTA remove the measure from the performance list. An additional commenter stated that the definition of ‘‘reliability’’ is not defined in the NTD glossary. Commenters generally supporting the use of reliability measures in the transportation industry commented that there are currently inconsistencies between system reliability standards in the National Safety Plan and the state of good repair measures that were proposed in the Transit Asset Management notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The commenters recommended that system reliability should be more heavily linked with the Transit Asset Management rule rather than the National Safety Plan. Several commenters provided support for the use of ‘‘reliability’’ as a performance measure but requested additional guidance and greater clarity on certain aspects of the measure. One commenter requested that FTA provide guidance as to what constitutes a reliability issue that requires reporting and recommended that non-safety mechanical failures not be included. Similarly, another commenter advised FTA to clarify the definition of ‘‘vehicle failure’’ to ensure that the term only refers to when a vehicle is unable to transport passengers. FTA’s Response Through MAP–21, Congress recognized the critical relationship between safety and transit asset management. We note, in particular, the congressional requirement that the National Safety Plan include the definition for ‘‘state of good repair’’ as established in the rulemaking for transit E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 5634 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices asset management (49 U.S.C. 5329(b)(2)(B)) and the requirement at 49 U.S.C. 5329(d)(1)(C) that public transportation agency safety plans include state of good repair performance targets based on the performance measures established in the National Safety Plan. The safety and performance of a public transportation system depend, in part, on the condition of its assets. A key challenge in connecting transit asset management to safety planning is that even when assets are not in a state of good repair, they can be operated safely, and, likewise, assets in a state of good repair can be operated unsafely. In the National Safety Plan, reliability is not a synonym for state of good repair. Rather, the proposed reliability measure is intended to serve as an expression of the relationship between safety and asset conditions, and therefore is neither duplicative nor inconsistent with the performance measure under the Transit Asset Management rule. To clarify, at this time, the reliability measure applies only to revenue vehicles. The mean distance (miles) between failures is a standard industry metric. In the National Safety Plan FTA is not changing the way a ‘‘failure’’ is defined. Currently, FTA requires most Section 5307 recipients to report the following information: (1) Total number of failures (major failures and minor failures); and (2) total vehicle miles by mode. ‘‘Major failures’’ are failures caused by vehicle malfunctions or subpar vehicle condition which requires that it be pulled from service. ‘‘Minor failures’’ represent instances where a vehicle is pulled out of service for local policy reasons. For example, a transit agency may prohibit operation of a bus with inoperable air conditioning (AC) even though the bus could operate without AC. FTA agrees with the comment suggesting that the reliability measure should only capture major mechanical failures since ‘‘minor failures’’ are linked to local policy. FTA has revised the measure in the final National Safety Plan to be ‘‘mean distance between major mechanical failures by mode.’’ ‘‘Major mechanical failures’’ only encompass vehicles failures, and not the failure of infrastructure, equipment, etc. Transit operators should combine this data to arrive at a number for mean distance between major mechanical failures by mode, and then set a target to improve performance for this measure. This may require agencies that currently are not required to report to the NTD, to begin collecting major mechanical failures and vehicle miles by mode. However, nothing in the Plan VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 changes reporting requirements or requires recipients to report any new information. Each agency will set targets based on the data it collects and FTA will not be collecting those targets. Establishing Baselines Several commenters provided commentary on the establishment of baselines for performance metrics. Two commenters questioned how FTA will gather sufficient and consistent data to establish baseline measurements. One commenter stated that FTA may struggle to gather consistent three-year data to be able to establish an initial timeweighted average for FTA’s proposed safety criterion measures. Another commenter stated that baselines should not be established for all performance measures and that it is not appropriate for agencies to set baseline targets for fatalities and injuries, as anything above zero would be inappropriate. An additional commenter recommended that FTA require transit agencies to establish baseline performance metrics for each different system (age, use, etc.) within the larger transportation system. This commenter asserted that large transit systems often have heterogeneous transportation infrastructure and it may not be appropriate or efficient to combine all systems under one set of metrics. FTA’s Response FTA acknowledges that it may be difficult for agencies with immature safety risk management processes to establish baselines. However, FTA believes that establishing baseline targets is necessary for agencies to assess improvements in safety performance for future comparison. Although the baseline target for any safety performance measure should include at least three years of data to establish an initial time-weighted average (metric) for the measure, initial baseline targets may be based on the best available information to an agency. The National Safety Plan does not prescribe a methodology for establishing baseline targets. FTA recognizes that each transit agency has its own operating policies that impact how performance is measured. However, FTA hopes that bringing greater attention to safety performance through the National Safety Plan will encourage more robust, consistent data collection, analysis and reporting in the future. Other Comments on Safety Performance Measures Multiple commenters recommended expanding the list of performance measures. One commenter requested PO 00000 Frm 00113 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 that FTA avoid duplicative requirements in performance measures. One commenter recommended that FTA expand the list of performance measures to include measures for job safety analysis, operational performance for employees, rule compliance, close calls and near misses, and hazard identification and mitigation. Two commenters requested that FTA add leading indicators to the list of measures to promote proactive aspects of the SMS. Several commenters requested that FTA provide more information about the performance measures, including additional information about implementation and guidance concerning ‘‘local safety plans.’’ One commenter asserted that the current performance measures are inappropriate. One commenter stated that the current NTD has sufficient data to create performance targets at the national level, thereby developing consistent safety goals throughout the transit industry. FTA’s Response The performance measures proposed in the National Safety Plan were designed to provide a strategic approach to improving safety performance in the day-to-day operations of public transportation. As the Safety Program matures, FTA will establish additional performance measures. Until such time, the final National Safety Plan maintains the proposed performance measures. In addition, at this time, FTA is not establishing national performance targets, but may do so in the future. FTA disagrees that the proposed performance measures are inappropriate. The proposed safety performance measures were derived from information that recipients already report to the NTD. It is important to note that the performance measures established in the final National Safety Plan are the minimum measures that operators must set targets to under their public transportation agency safety plans. Until such time as FTA establishes additional measures based on leading indicators, FTA encourages transit agencies to add more proactive, leading measures into their own performance metrics. MAP–21 created a performance-based and multimodal program to strengthen the U.S. transportation system. By focusing on national goals, increasing accountability, and improving transparency, these changes will improve decision-making through better informed planning and programming. The U.S. Department of Transportation E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices is implementing the new MAP–21 performance requirements through a number of rulemakings and Plans that establish performance measures and target setting requirements for recipients. FTA will issue guidance to assist the transit industry as it implements safety and transit asset management performance management. Upon issuance of the Agency Safety Plan rule FTA will provide specific guidance on implementing the requirements for public transportation agency safety plans. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Data Collection One commenter requested clarification on how data gathered under an SMS program can be used to anticipate future risks if the exact causes of many accidents are often unknown. The commenter also questioned how FTA will gather at least three years of consistent data to establish averages for FTA’s proposed safety performance measures, as indicated in the National Safety Plan. Two commenters stated that data collection must be consistent across all FTA programs and clear reporting definitions must be crafted to ensure consistency. A couple of commenters requested additional clarification regarding how agencies should use the data they collect in conjuncture with data collected by other transit agencies. Those commenters asked whether or not transit agencies should compare safety data with other agencies when creating their own SMS plans. Some commenters expressed concern about the potential burdens of data collection if agencies are encouraged to collect and analyze safety data from other organizations to include in their safety plans. One commenter recommended that FTA establish a strategic data management plan to aid in the standardization and analysis of safety data, suggesting that the NTD and SSO program should be used to analyze historical safety trends and establish minimum hazard criteria and targets. Another commenter indicated that it would be helpful if FTA establish a Web site where safety performance data analysis results could be shared and reviewed. FTA’s Response Managing safety performance with current data and analysis is critical to the success of any effective SMS. SMS data collection efforts are more comprehensive than traditional methods. If transit agencies lack relevant information it may cause them to leave unaddressed critical gaps in safety. In SMS, agencies anticipate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 future risk by measuring proactive mitigation efforts to determine the effectiveness of those efforts. These measures look at behaviors or performance linked to accident prevention or organizational actions taken before accidents occur, which lessen the likelihood the negative events will occur. Lagging measures are also necessary by revealing the frequency of missed targets and identifying where insufficiently mitigated risk needs to be addressed. FTA recognizes the importance of data collection and analysis and setting goals based on this information. Accordingly, FTA has tasked TRACS to develop recommendations that help define the functional requirements of a comprehensive safety data and performance management approach that will inform FTA of the data required to implement an effective transit Safety Management System and how to collect and employ it to effectively improve safety performance. FTA is seeking specific recommendations on how it should standardize safety performance tools and capabilities, including safety performance monitoring; safety performance measurement, including standard definitions and baselines; hazard management and risk monitoring capabilities; and standard methods for data analysis and storage. FTA intends to utilize the TRACS recommendations in its development of enhanced internal data capabilities and guidance for the transit industry. Comments: Relationship Between Safety Performance and Transit Asset Management A couple of commenters stated that there are several inconsistencies between the National Safety Plan and FTA’s Transit Asset Management rule, and that these inconsistencies should be eliminated. One commenter recommended that the Transit Asset Management rule serve as the standard across all Section 5329 rules. FTA’s Response FTA disagrees that the proposed National Safety Plan was inconsistent with Transit Asset Management NPRM. FTA’s approach to Transit Asset Management is consistent with SMS. A fundamental aspect of transit asset management is the monitoring of asset condition data as an indicator of system performance. Similarly, SMS is a formal data-driven approach to managing safety risk and assuring the effectiveness of safety risk mitigations. SMS does not require that a specific action be taken to address a specific safety risk. SMS merely provides an agency with the PO 00000 Frm 00114 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5635 information necessary to identify and understand safety risks, and subsequently make a determination about how to mitigate those risks. C. Chapter III—Managing Risks and Assuring Safe Performance in Public Transportation Comments: Safety Advisories A few commenters provided comments concerning safety advisories. One commenter stated that safety advisories are beneficial, but they would be more valuable if they were issued with greater frequency and included analysis of the impact of previous safety advisories. Another commenter requested that FTA issue safety advisories for the bus industry along with the rail industry, while another agency requested more information related to how transit agencies should incorporate safety advisories into their safety plans. FTA’s Response Due to the nature of an advisory, an operator need not ‘‘comply’’ with an advisory, but instead would decide whether or not to adopt the recommended actions. Each operator should determine whether or not the hazard or risk addressed in an advisory is relevant to its system and determine appropriate mitigations. To date, FTA has only issued advisories related to hazards or risks that may impact rail transit operators. In the future FTA may issues advisories for other modes of transit. Comments: Standards Multiple commenters provided input on the voluntary nature of the National Safety Plan’s safety standards. Several commenters, including multiple State DOTs and a Federal agency, expressed concern about the voluntary nature of the program. These commenters suggested that Congress intended for (and required) FTA to establish minimum mandatory criteria, not voluntary criteria, and that FTA should adjust the National Safety Plan accordingly by making the National Safety Plan a regulation instead of a guidance document. One commenter asserted that performance measures in operations should be based on robust rules-based compliance programs with an emphasis on mentoring and coaching. Other commenters approved of the voluntary nature of the National Safety Plan’s safety standards. One commenter praised the National Safety Plan for being prescriptively limited and voluntary, which would allow agencies E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 5636 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 11 / Wednesday, January 18, 2017 / Notices greater flexibility in implementing a safety program. One commenter noted that voluntary standards for heavy and light rail are inadequate and are in need of revision. The commenter stated that heavy and light rail vehicles need additional crashworthiness, event recorder, safety appliance, fire, and camera safety standards. Several commenters responded to a request from FTA to provide examples of voluntary safety standards that transit agencies have adopted. A couple of commenters strongly encouraged FTA to strengthen vehicle safety performance standards by adding a fire safety component, noting that current fire safety provisions, particularly with regards to the interior of the vehicle, are insufficient. The commenters recommended that fire performance standards for vehicle seating be included in the National Safety Plan. Several commenters stated that FMVSS 302 is not adequate to ensure fire safety in public transit systems and is a standard that has been discredited by repeated scientific study. A number of commenters specifically singled out bus systems as a particularly inappropriate use of the FMVSS 302 standard, stating that FMVSS 302 is a bare minimum standard for cars that should not apply to buses because buses hold more people and have fewer potential exits. Several commenters provided recommendations for standards that could replace FMVSS 302. Some commenters recommended FTA use the National Safety Council fire test, ASTM E2574, NFPA 130, or a heat release standard instead. These commenters recommended that fire standards should be requirements, not recommendations. One commenter noted that it has adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations as a baseline to follow for operations and maintenance safety and encouraged FTA to include these standards in the National Safety Plan. Another commenter indicated that it has adopted The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) safety standards for heavy rail vehicles, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards for rail transit event recorders, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for fixed guideway transit and passenger rail systems. One commenter responded to FTA’s request for comments on the costs of implementing voluntary safety standards, indicating that the cost of implementing voluntary safety standards was minimal. One commenter VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:41 Jan 17, 2017 Jkt 241001 responded to FTA’s request for examples of additional standards adopted by transit agencies, stating that it has adopted the R179 Train Specification standards in addition to voluntary safety standards. Some commenters suggested that FTA include hour-of-service and fitness for duty requirements, as well as standards for train specifications (R179). A transit agency and a professional association recommended that transit policing and customer expectation standards should be included in the National Safety Plan. FTA’s Response For this first iteration of the National Safety Plan FTA believes that it is appropriate to include only voluntary standards. The FAST Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a review of public transportation safety standards and protocols to document existing standards and protocols that are currently used in transit and examine their efficacy. The content of the review must include minimum safety performance standards developed by the public transportation industry and safety performance standards, practices, or protocols in use by rail fixed guideway public transportation systems. The review also must include rail and bus safety standards, practices, or protocols in use by public transportation systems regarding rail and bus design and the workstation of rail and bus operators; scheduling fixed route rail and bus service with adequate time and access for operators to use restroom facilities; fatigue management; and crash avoidance and worthiness. FTA has engaged in this review through the issuance of a Federal Register notice requesting public comment on its Compendium (inventory) of transit safety standards and protocols. See 81 FR 30605 (May 17, 2016). The Compendium includes an inventory of transit standards and protocols that FTA has identified, including standards or regulations promulgated by other Federal agencies and the standards and issue areas referenced in the comments. Upon completion of the review and evaluation, FTA will issue a report presenting the findings of the review of standards; the outcome of the evaluation; a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve the safety of the public transportation industry, including recommendations for regulatory changes, if applicable; and actions taken to address the recommendations provided. PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FTA will issue future mandatory standards through the notice and comment rulemaking process. Carolyn Flowers, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2017–00678 Filed 1–17–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration [Docket Number: FTA–2016–0044] Notice of Availability of Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the availability of a final Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transit Projects (Programmatic Assessment) and an accompanying Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Estimator Tool (Estimator Tool). On November 22, 2016, FTA announced in the Federal Register the availability of the draft Programmatic Assessment and Estimator Tool and requested public comment. FTA received five comment letters and presents its responses to those comments in this notice. DATES: This final Programmatic Assessment and Estimator Tool are effective immediately. ADDRESSES: The final Programmatic Assessment and Estimator Tool will be made available in the U.S. Government’s electronic docket site at http://www.regulations.gov under docket number FTA–2016–0044 and on the FTA Web site at http:// www.fta.dot.gov. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maya Sarna, Office of Environmental Programs, (202) 366–5811, or Christopher Van Wyk, Office of Environmental Programs, (202) 366– 1733; Helen Serassio, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366–1974. FTA is located at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background In August 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released its Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on E:\FR\FM\18JAN1.SGM 18JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 11 (Wednesday, January 18, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5628-5636]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-00678]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration

[Docket No. FTA-2015-0017]
Z RIN 2132-ZA04


National Public Transportation Safety Plan

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of availability and response to comments.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration has placed in the docket 
and on its Web site, the final National Public Transportation Safety 
Plan that establishes performance measures to improve the safety of 
public transportation systems that receive FTA Federal financial 
assistance. Transit agencies will set performance targets based on the 
measures in order to monitor and assess the safety performance of their 
public transportation systems.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program matters, James Bartell, 
Office of Transit Safety and Oversight, (202) 366-4050 or 
James.Bartell@dot.gov. For legal matters, Candace Key, Office of Chief 
Counsel, (202) 366-4011 or Candace.Key@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Availability of Final Plan

    This notice provides a summary of the final changes to the National 
Public Transportation Safety Plan and responses to comments. The final 
Plan itself is not included in this notice; instead, an electronic 
version is available on FTA's Web site, at www.transit.dot.gov, and in 
the docket, at www.regulations.gov. Paper copies of the final Plan may 
be obtained by contacting FTA's Administrative Services Help Desk, at 
(202) 366-4865.

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Summary of Public Comments and FTA's Responses

I. Background

    Congress first directed FTA to create and implement a National 
Public Transportation Safety Plan (National Safety Plan) under the 
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, which 
authorized a new Public Transportation Safety Program (Safety Program) 
at 49 U.S.C. 5329. Public Law 112-141 (2012). The Safety Program was 
reauthorized by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. 
Public Law 114-94 (December 4, 2015).

[[Page 5629]]

On October 3, 2013, FTA introduced the transit industry to fundamental 
changes to the Federal transit program authorized by MAP-21 with a 
consolidated advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). 78 FR 
61251. FTA issued the consolidated ANPRM to provide the public with an 
understanding of FTA's proposed approach to implementing the 
requirements for transit asset management and safety.
    In the ANPRM, FTA sought specific comment on the statutorily 
required components of the National Safety Plan. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 
5329(b) a National Safety Plan must include: (1) Safety performance 
criteria for all modes of public transportation; (2) the definition of 
the term ``state of good repair'' established under a rulemaking to 
implement a National Transit Asset Management System pursuant to 49 
U.S.C. 5326(b); (3) minimum safety performance standards for public 
transportation vehicles used in revenue operations that are not 
otherwise regulated by any other Federal agency, and that, to the 
extent practicable, take into account relevant recommendations of the 
National Transportation Safety Board and other industry best practices 
and standards; (4) minimum safety standards to ensure the safe 
operation of public transportation systems that are not related to 
vehicle performance standards; \1\ and (5) a safety certification 
training program.
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    \1\ The requirement for operational standards was added by the 
FAST Act. However, the ANPRM did include a discussion on operational 
standards.
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    On February 5, 2016, FTA published a Federal Register notice (81 FR 
6372) seeking comment on a proposed National Safety Plan. FTA conducted 
a number of public outreach sessions and a webinar series related to 
the proposed National Safety Plan and the Public Transportation Agency 
Safety Plan notice of proposed rulemaking (Agency Safety Plan rule) 
that also was published in the Federal Register on February 5, 2016. 81 
FR 6343. Specifically, on February 12, 2016, FTA conducted public 
outreach for tribes and hosted a Tribal Technical Assistance Workshop 
wherein FTA presented its proposed National Safety Plan and Agency 
Safety Plan rule and responded to technical questions from tribes. FTA 
subsequently delivered the same presentation during a webinar series 
open to the public on February 24, March 1, March 2, and March 3, 2016. 
On March 7, 2016, FTA delivered the same presentation at an outreach 
session hosted by the National Rural Transit Assistance Program, which 
also was open to the public.
    During each of these public outreach sessions and the public 
webinar series, FTA received and responded to numerous technical 
questions regarding the proposed Plan and NPRM. FTA recorded the 
presentations, including the question and answer sessions, and made 
available the following documents on the public docket for this Notice: 
(1) FTA's PowerPoint Presentation from the public outreach sessions and 
public webinar series; (2) a written transcript of FTA's public webinar 
of March 1, 2016; (3) a consolidated list of Questions and Answers from 
the public outreach sessions and public webinar; and (4) the results of 
polling questions from FTA's public outreach sessions. FTA also 
uploaded an audiovisual recording of its webinar from March 1, 2016. 
The video is available at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBj5HRatwGA&feature=youtu.be.
    The National Safety Plan is FTA's primary tool for communicating 
with the transit industry about its safety performance. FTA expects to 
update the National Safety Plan, from time to time, in response to 
trends in risk management in the transit industry, emerging 
technologies, best practices, findings from research, and other 
industry developments. FTA will issue substantive revisions to any 
future iterations of the National Safety Plan through a public notice-
and-comment process.
    The National Safety Plan is based on the principles and methods of 
Safety Management Systems (SMS): A formal, top-down, data-driven 
organization-wide approach to managing safety risks and ensuring the 
effectiveness of a public transportation agency's safety risk 
mitigations. On August 11, 2016, FTA published a final rule for the 
Public Transportation Safety Program that formally adopted SMS as the 
basis for FTA's development and implementation of the Safety Program. 
81 FR 53046.

II. Summary of Public Comments and FTA's Responses

    The public comment period for the proposed National Safety Plan 
closed on April 5, 2016. FTA received comment submissions from 119 
entities, including States, transit agencies, trade associations, and 
individuals. FTA reviewed all of the comments and took them into 
consideration when developing today's final National Safety Plan.
    Some comments received were outside of the scope of the proposed 
National Safety Plan. For example, FTA received a number of comments 
related to the definitions of ``injury'' and ``serious injury.'' FTA 
defined ``injury'' in the proposed National Safety Plan to provide 
clarity regarding the performance measure for injuries. In this Notice 
FTA responds to comments received regarding the definition of 
``injury'' to the extent it relates to the National Safety Plan, but 
does not respond to comments related to reporting thresholds for 
certain injuries under the final State Safety Oversight rule at 49 CFR 
part 674.
    Similarly, FTA received several comments related to the definition 
of the term ``state of good repair,'' a term FTA was required to define 
in a rulemaking for transit asset management pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 
5326. On July 26, 2016, FTA issued a final rule for Transit Asset 
Management wherein FTA defines the term ``state of good repair,'' and 
FTA has adopted that definition in the final National Safety Plan. See 
the preamble of the Transit Asset Management final rule for FTA's 
responses to comments received related to the proposed definition of 
``state of good repair'' (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-07-26/pdf/2016-16883.pdf).
    Relatedly, a number of commenters noted inconsistencies with 
certain definitions found throughout FTA's several safety rulemakings. 
In response, FTA has aligned the definitions in the final National 
Safety Plan with other safety rulemakings and the Transit Asset 
Management final rule to ensure consistency.
    FTA made a number of clarifying, organizational, and substantive 
revisions to the final National Safety Plan which are discussed below 
in the summary of public comments and FTA's responses. Comments and 
responses are subdivided by their corresponding sections of the 
proposed National Safety Plan and subject matter.

A. Chapter I: Introduction

Comments
General
    A number of commenters provided general support for the proposed 
National Safety Plan. Of these commenters, several broadly supported 
efforts by FTA to improve transportation safety. Multiple commenters 
stated that while they support FTA's efforts to develop a safety plan, 
they would prefer that FTA not impose significant regulatory and 
implementation burdens on States and others under an ``already 
extremely safe public transportation system.''

[[Page 5630]]

SMS
    Several commenters supported FTA's proposal to incorporate SMS into 
a National Safety Plan, however, a few did not support FTA's 
application of SMS as a mandated approach to safety, especially for 
that portion of the nation's transit network that is delivered by State 
DOT subrecipients.
    A couple of commenters stated that encouraging agencies to compare 
and contrast safety data results with other agencies when creating 
their safety plans runs contrary to the premise of SMS, where agencies 
are encouraged to improve their individual performance without regard 
to others.
    Two commenters recommended that the National Safety Plan be 
consistent with Military Standard 882.
Workforce Development and Training
    An individual commenter while commenting that the National Safety 
Plan is a rehash of 49 CFR part 659, questioned how FTA will handle and 
address workforce development issues stemming from the Agency Safety 
Plan rule and the National Safety Plan.
    Multiple commenters requested that FTA issue technical assistance 
tools and non-binding guidance with templates to State agencies and 
transit operators to help agencies create a safety plan in line with 
the National Safety Plan.
Figures and Tables
    Several commenters stated that the figures and tables in the 
National Safety Plan are not well labeled, specifically indicating that 
Table 5-1, as referenced in the text, does not exist.
Updates to the National Safety Plan
    Several commenters provided suggestions on the frequency of updates 
to the National Safety Plan. One commenter stated that the National 
Safety Plan must be continually updated to reflect trends in risk 
management and best practices, and should be updated no less than once 
every two years. One commenter stated that future National Safety Plan 
updates should be accomplished through additional and periodic guidance 
regarding the minimum mandatory standards created in the rulemaking 
process. An additional commenter requested more information from FTA 
concerning the frequency of anticipated National Safety Plan updates 
and what the expectations, process, and timeline will be for transit 
agencies to respond or adapt their Public Transportation Agency Safety 
Plans' accordingly.
    Two commenters requested that FTA clarify whether or not the 
National Safety Plan will ultimately be turned into a regulation.
Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program
    Several commenters requested more information about the Safety 
Certification Training Program. One commenter indicated that the 
National Safety Plan references the training program, but does not 
explain the program's details.
Reporting Systems
    One commenter stated that the National Safety Plan could be 
improved by implementing an employee safety reporting system that 
implements confidential close call reporting. This commenter also 
suggested that FTA include close call reporting in the list of SMS 
performance measures so that FTA could track and analyze close call 
events.
FTA's Response
General
    FTA appreciates those comments in support of the National Safety 
Plan. Although transit is a relatively safe mode of travel, the 
statistical reality is that as transit ridership increases, data 
indicates that the total number of fatalities and serious accidents 
likely will also increase. FTA does not intend to adopt a prescriptive 
or burdensome approach to improving transit safety. Instead, FTA has 
adopted the principles and methods of Safety Management Systems (SMS) 
because SMS is both scalable and flexible and can accommodate the 
diversity of modes, expertise, and resources that exist within the 
transit industry.
SMS
    For the last three decades the public transportation industry has 
implemented plans and programs based on the ``system safety'' 
principles outlined in the Military Standard 882 series (Standard 
Practice for System Safety, http://www.system-safety.org/Documents/MIL-STD-882E.pdf [external link]). This approach focuses on the application 
of engineering and management principles, criteria, and techniques to 
achieve an acceptable level of safety throughout all phases of a system 
lifecycle.
    FTA has adopted SMS as the basis for the initiatives FTA will 
undertake to improve the safety of public transportation because it is 
both scalable and flexible. SMS is a collaborative approach that will 
help management and labor work together to build on the industry's 
existing safety foundation to better control risk, detect and correct 
safety problems earlier, share and analyze safety data more 
effectively, and measure safety performance more accurately. SMS 
empowers transit operators to assess their own safety risks and 
prioritize the application of resources to those risks, which in turn 
supports a cost-effective allocation of resources.
    The main difference between the system safety approach and SMS is 
that, because of its engineering roots, system safety focuses mostly on 
the safety implications of technical aspects and components of the 
system under consideration, somewhat at the expense of the human 
component. The SMS approach builds on the transit industry's experience 
with system safety by bringing management processes and organizational 
culture more squarely into the system safety engineering and hazard 
management framework. By tackling these ``softer'' management and human 
factors issues, SMS supplements system safety's more rigorous 
engineering processes.
    FTA disagrees that the notion of benchmarking an individual 
agency's performance against the performance of another agency is 
inconsistent with SMS. The methods and principles of SMS do encourage 
agencies to improve their individual performance. However, effective 
implementation of SMS is dependent on the collection and analysis of 
available data, which can include data from other agencies. FTA has 
provided detailed responses to comments related to implementation of 
SMS at the transit agency level in the preamble to the final rule for 
Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans.
Workforce Development and Training
    Although the National Safety Plan does not directly impose any 
workforce development burdens on recipients, FTA is continuing to 
develop training, guidance, and other resources to enhance the safety 
competencies of transit employees. For example, FTA may provide funding 
through its technical assistance program (49 U.S.C. 5314) to address 
public transportation workforce needs through research, outreach, 
training and the implementation of a frontline workforce grant program, 
and conduct training and educational programs in support of the public 
transportation industry. In addition, FTA is currently initiating a 
project to develop guidance that a transit agency could use to help it 
set up and operate an effective employee reporting system.
    FTA will incorporate guidance, technical assistance, and other 
tools into the Plan as they become available. FTA

[[Page 5631]]

will also make resources available on the safety page of its Web site 
at https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/safety/transit-safety-oversight-tso. FTA encourages transit providers and sponsors to 
visit the page regularly to access the most up-to-date resources.
Figures and Tables
    FTA has revised the tables used in today's final National Safety 
Plan for clarity.
Updates to the National Safety Plan
    FTA intends for the National Safety Plan to serve as both the 
primary tool for FTA to communicate with the transit industry about its 
safety performance, and as a repository of guidance, best practices, 
technical assistance, tools and other information. FTA believes that a 
flexible and time sensitive approach to implementing updates to the 
National Safety Plan is the most effective way to disseminate 
information. Therefore, FTA plans to propose substantive updates to the 
National Safety Plan, such as new performance measures, through a 
public notice and comment process as needed, rather than by regulation. 
However, components of the Plan, such as the Safety Certification 
Training Program and standards, will be implemented through regulation.
Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program
    Although the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training 
Program is a statutory component of the National Safety Plan, FTA must 
establish the requirements of the Training Program through rulemaking. 
FTA anticipates publishing a final rule for the Safety Certification 
Training Program later this year. Until FTA publishes a final rule, 
State personnel who conduct safety audits and examinations of rail 
transit systems and for rail transit agency personnel who are directly 
responsible for safety must participate in the Interim Program. Bus 
operators may participate in the program on a voluntary basis. For more 
information on FTA's Training Program, please visit https://safety.fta.dot.gov/login.
Reporting Systems
    FTA is currently conducting research on the design, demonstration, 
evaluation, and implementation of employee reporting systems at transit 
agencies. As a product of this research, FTA intends to issue guidance 
to the transit industry on how to set up and operate effective employee 
reporting systems.
    In the future, FTA will consider adding close calls to the list of 
performance measures.

B. Definitions

Comments
General
    One commenter noted that the National Safety Plan's performance 
measures do not match the National Transit Database (NTD) definitions 
and also stated that the term ``system reliability'' is not currently 
defined in the NTD glossary. This commenter also asserted that the 
definition of ``passenger'' in the National Safety Plan does not match 
the NTD.
    Another commenter stated that the National Safety Plan needs 
clearer definitions so that consistent performance measures can be 
created across agencies.
FTA's Response
    There likely will be instances where the definitions of terms in 
FTA's rules or the National Safety Plan may differ from the definitions 
of those terms in the NTD. Where necessary, FTA will update the NTD 
glossary to align with the safety rules and National Safety Plan. 
However, to the extent that a definition in a safety rule differs from 
a definition in the NTD glossary, the regulatory definition will apply 
to the particular statutory requirement under the Safety Program. FTA 
has made sure to align the definitions in this first final National 
Safety Plan with definitions in the final rules for safety and transit 
asset management. As the Safety Program matures, FTA will standardize 
other definitions to ensure consistent collection, analysis and 
reporting of safety information.
Fatalities
    A few commenters noted that the definition of the term 
``fatalities'' does not match the definition used in the NTD glossary.
FTA's Response
    FTA did not include a definition of ``fatality'' in the proposed 
National Safety Plan. FTA did include a proposed performance measure 
for fatalities which was expressed as the total number of fatalities 
per unlinked passenger trips by mode. FTA's responses to comments on 
the fatality measure follow the summary of comments on the measure in 
Section C, below.
Injury and Serious Injury
    A few commenters noted that the definition of ``injuries'' was 
included in the National Safety Plan glossary, but the definition of 
``serious injury'' is not.
FTA's Response
    Neither the definition of ``injury'' nor ``serious injury'' was 
included in the proposed National Safety Plan glossary. However, FTA 
has moved the definition of ``serious injury'' from the footnote on 
page 41 of the proposed National Safety Plan to the glossary at 
Appendix A of the final Plan.
Safety Events
    The proposed National Safety Plan defines safety events as ``the 
collection of reported events that occur during the operation of public 
transportation and performance of regular supervisory maintenance 
activities.'' One commenter questioned whether the term ``operation'' 
refers to revenue service events only, or whether it also includes non-
revenue service. The commenter stated that this difference could change 
current reporting thresholds. A few commenters stated that the 
definition of ``safety events'' does not match the definition in the 
NTD glossary.
FTA's Response
    In the final National Safety Plan, FTA clarifies that the 
definition of ``event'' includes reported events that occur during both 
revenue and non-revenue operations. Contrary to comments received, the 
definition of ``safety event'' is not included in the NTD glossary. 
However, the proposed definition of ``event'' aligns with the 
definition of that term in the SSO final rule and the in the NTD safety 
and security reporting module. See Docket FTA-2014-0009 (January 2015).
Requests for New Definitions
    A few commenters requested that FTA clarify the definitions of 
``transit provider.'' Other commenters requested that FTA define 
``unlinked passenger trips'' and ``fires.''
FTA's Response
    In response to comments, unlinked passenger trips are the number of 
passengers boarding the public transportation vehicles; passenger miles 
are the cumulative sum of the distances ridden by each passenger. 
However, FTA has removed this definition from the final National Safety 
Plan because it has revised the denominator for several performance 
measures, as discussed below.
    FTA does not believe that it needs to define ``transit provider'' 
in the National Safety Plan. The Plan applies to recipients of chapter 
53 funds that provide public transportation.

[[Page 5632]]

    FTA does not agree that it should define the term ``fires.'' Terms 
such as ``fires'' that are not defined in the Plan or by statute or 
regulation will be interpreted in accordance with the definition set 
forth in dictionaries of common usage.

B. Chapter II--SMS Framework

Comment
SMS Components and Implementation Phases
    Multiple commenters addressed the Safety Management Policy 
component of SMS. One commenter suggested that FTA's Safety Management 
Policy lacked sufficient detail and encouraged FTA to establish minimum 
hazard criteria for all hazard management programs across all transit 
agencies to promote conformance. This commenter suggested that allowing 
each transit agency to establish its preferred method for hazard 
analysis will lead to varying methodologies, create confusion, and 
limit the available safety data for analyzing aggregate trends for the 
nation.
    One commenter recommended that safety management policies promote 
open communication to all agency individuals, not just those identified 
as ``relevant'' to specific roles and responsibilities related to the 
SMS.
    One commenter expressed concern about the ``management of change'' 
criteria in the National Safety Plan, recommending that FTA include 
additional guidance in the National Safety Plan concerning transit 
agency documentation of operation/infrastructure changes, the 
establishment of safety modification review bodies, the use of past 
performance when describing future criteria, the use of field 
monitoring to ensure the implementation, effectiveness, and enforcement 
of new mitigations, and the use of multi-tiered risk management 
processes. This commenter also requested expanded guidance for the 
``continuous improvement'' section of the National Safety Plan, 
including exploration of the link between safety performance monitoring 
and continuous improvement.
    One commenter applauded FTA for developing strong risk management 
policies, but recommended that FTA revisit and expand the hazard 
management program. This commenter stated that risk management must be 
done effectively, noting that there have been multiple instances over 
the past 11 years in which public transportation accidents have 
occurred that could have been prevented had the required Hazard 
Management Plan and risk assessment been effective.
    One commenter recommended that FTA include language in the National 
Safety Plan specifying that user documentation of a system's operation, 
processes, policies, procedures, infrastructure, vehicles and training, 
as well as maintaining records of previous configurations, will assist 
in the process of continued system hazard identification. This 
commenter also suggested FTA add the term ``safety risk'' to the list 
of performance criterion in the SMS.
    One commenter noted its appreciation for FTA's recognition of the 
need for employee involvement in the promotion of system safety, but 
encouraged FTA to emphasize the importance of motivation, behavior, and 
attitude when promoting safety. The commenter stated that a poor safety 
culture in transportation industries can decrease program 
effectiveness, and that written SMS plans will realize positive 
outcomes only by engaging employees in a culture of safety.
    Several commenters addressed the phased-in approach implementation 
policy of the SMS. One requested that FTA define and provide the 
relevant requirements and guidance materials for the list of tasks/
expectations that a transportation agency ``should have finished'' at 
the completion of Phase 3 of SMS implementation. This commenter 
indicated that the National Safety Plan references requirements and 
guidance material that is not included in the National Safety Plan and 
requested the documentation prior to the National Safety Plan becoming 
effective.
    Two commenters recommended that the National Safety Plan clarify 
that the phased-in approach is voluntary and that many of the 
subcomponents of the proposed SMS framework may already be included in 
current safety plans.
    One commenter requested that FTA provide additional guidance on 
what type of changes require review and what type of oversight is 
needed during Phase 3. Two commenters stated that FTA should fully 
define and differentiate among the phrases ``safety performance 
criteria,'' ``safety performance measures,'' and ``safety performance 
indicator'' as the proposed National Safety Plan interchanges the 
terms.
    One commenter indicated that Chapter 2 of the National Safety Plan 
is a verbatim copy of the FTA SMS Framework issued in August, 2015. 
This commenter recommended that FTA use the National Safety Plan as an 
opportunity to expand on the 2015 guidance to better help agencies 
develop SMS.
Fatigue Management
    One commenter recommended that FTA include hour-of-service 
limitations or fitness-for-duty qualifications to the SMS and National 
Safety Plan to highlight the importance of fatigue management and 
ensure that it is adequately addressed in the National Safety Plan.
FTA's Response
    Readers should please be aware that the SMS Framework in the final 
National Safety Plan is not binding. The purpose of the SMS framework 
is to provide transit agencies with a brief overview of key SMS 
concepts, attributes of an effective SMS, FTA's adopted SMS components 
and sub-components, and SMS development phases and sample tasks. FTA 
has refined its approach to the development of SMS guidance. FTA is 
currently working to develop more comprehensive, scalable SMS 
implementation guidance and will take comments received in to 
consideration during this process.
    This summer, FTA initiated the SMS Implementation Pilot Program 
(SMS Pilot Program) so that FTA and participating transit agencies can 
work together to move SMS implementation forward. Through the SMS Pilot 
Program, FTA is partnering with transit agencies to assist them in 
transitioning to an SMS approach to managing safety. FTA provides 
technical assistance to transit agencies on developing and operating an 
SMS approach, while transit agencies provide opportunities for FTA to 
test the effectiveness of SMS tools in a diverse set of circumstances. 
The program is critical to helping FTA identify worthwhile and 
practical SMS implementation activities and to develop insights on how 
best to support the industry-wide transition to SMS.
    Transit agencies not involved in the pilot program will benefit as 
well. FTA will apply lessons learned and best practices identified to 
develop guidance materials and technical assistance for the entire 
public transportation industry. Accordingly, in the final National 
Safety Plan, FTA has removed portions of the SMS Framework that 
provided guidance on implementation. FTA has retained portions of the 
SMS Framework that outline and describe the four pillars of SMS and 
revised some language to align with the requirements of the Public 
Transportation Agency Safety Plan final rule. As FTA refines its 
guidance materials it will take into consideration the issues and 
suggestions

[[Page 5633]]

raised by commenters on the SMS Framework.
Fatigue Management
    In October 2014, FTA's Acting Administrator tasked the Transit 
Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) with developing recommendations 
for FTA on the elements that should comprise a SMS approach to a 
fatigue management program. On July, 30, 2015, TRACS issued a report--
Establishing a Fatigue Management Program for the Bus and Rail Transit 
Industry--which recommend components of a successful fatigue management 
program, including hours of service (HOS), shift scheduling, fatigue 
prevention and awareness training, fitness-for-duty medical evaluations 
and screenings, work and vehicle environment design, safety culture, 
incident investigation, and data collection.\2\ FTA is currently 
reviewing the TRACS recommendations. In the future, FTA may issue 
guidance or regulations on operator fitness for duty, which could 
address issues such as hours of service and fatigue management.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The TRACS Report is available at https://www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.dot.gov/files/docs/TRACS_Fatigue_Report_14-02_Final_(2).pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Chapter II--Performance Management

    The reader should note that throughout the proposed National Safety 
Plan, and final National Safety Plan, FTA uses the term ``performance 
measure'' interchangeably with ``performance criteria,'' which it 
proposed to define as ``categories of measures indicating the level of 
safe performance within a transit agency.'' Although the language at 49 
U.S.C. 5329(b) uses the term ``performance criteria,'' other parts of 
FTA's authorizing statute, such as the Transit Asset Management 
provisions of 49 U.S.C. 5326, use the term ``performance measures.'' 
FTA believes that Congress intended the terms ``performance criteria'' 
and ``performance measures'' to mean the same thing. To eliminate 
confusion over distinctions between these terms and to ensure 
consistency with the use of these terms throughout FTA's programs, FTA 
is defining ``performance criteria'' to mean ``performance measures,'' 
and it will use the term ``performance measures'' throughout this 
notice, the final National Safety Plan and associated rulemakings, 
accordingly.
Comment--Performance Measures
Injuries and Fatalities
    One commenter stated that an insufficient amount of fatality 
information is currently being collected nationally. The commenter 
suggested that as a result, there is not enough information to 
appropriately analyze the factors related to fatalities such that 
anyone would be able to develop actions to prevent incidences from 
occurring. Without appropriate data, the commenter suggested that FTA 
cannot conduct a true analysis of factors leading to fatalities.
    Two commenters stated that the National Safety Plan indicates that 
the SSO final rule and all future safety rulemakings will define 
reportable accident/incidences in terms of injuries. However, they 
asserted that the SSO rulemaking never defined a reporting measure as 
proposed in the National Safety Plan and requested additional 
information on this topic.
    One commenter recommended that the National Safety Plan use travel 
miles (`train miles' for the rail industry) instead of unlinked 
passenger trips for the purpose of standardizing the number of injuries 
and fatalities for the purpose of the performance measure.
    Additional comments recommended that FTA express employee injury 
rates in terms of injuries per X employees or X hours of work.
FTA's Response
    The proposed safety performance measures were derived from 
information that recipients already report to the NTD. Transit agencies 
already conduct their own investigations into the probable causes and 
contributing factors, as well as root cause analyses of organizational 
issues that influenced the causes or consequences of safety events. 
Each agency should use its own data to assess its performance.
    FTA agrees that it is important to standardize the performance 
measures. Currently, through the NTD, FTA requires transit agencies to 
submit their total passenger trips, passenger miles, and vehicle 
revenue miles. FTA chose unlinked passenger trips as the denominator 
for the Fatalities and Injuries measures in the proposed National 
Safety Plan because we believed that it reflected better a passenger's 
exposure to risk. Based on the comments received, and after further 
consideration, FTA has changed the denominator for the performance 
measures from ``unlinked passenger trips'' to ``vehicle revenue 
miles.'' FTA believes that ``vehicle revenue miles'' is more closely 
tied to risk as each additional vehicle mile of service increases risk 
of a collision with a pedestrian or third party vehicle.
    In the first National Safety Plan, the Injury and Fatality measures 
apply only to passengers. FTA may establish measures for patrons, 
pedestrians, transit employees, occupants of other vehicles, or 
trespassers in future National Safety Plan iterations, after receiving 
input from the public.
Reliability
    Multiple commenters questioned the appropriateness of using 
``reliability'' as a performance measure of a SMS program. These 
commenters stated that performance measures should be limited to safety 
metrics. Other commenters questioned the redundancy of the term 
``reliability,'' as ``state of good repair'' requirements should cover 
reliability issues and render this measure moot. Some commenters went 
on to request that FTA remove the measure from the performance list. An 
additional commenter stated that the definition of ``reliability'' is 
not defined in the NTD glossary.
    Commenters generally supporting the use of reliability measures in 
the transportation industry commented that there are currently 
inconsistencies between system reliability standards in the National 
Safety Plan and the state of good repair measures that were proposed in 
the Transit Asset Management notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The 
commenters recommended that system reliability should be more heavily 
linked with the Transit Asset Management rule rather than the National 
Safety Plan.
    Several commenters provided support for the use of ``reliability'' 
as a performance measure but requested additional guidance and greater 
clarity on certain aspects of the measure. One commenter requested that 
FTA provide guidance as to what constitutes a reliability issue that 
requires reporting and recommended that non-safety mechanical failures 
not be included. Similarly, another commenter advised FTA to clarify 
the definition of ``vehicle failure'' to ensure that the term only 
refers to when a vehicle is unable to transport passengers.
FTA's Response
    Through MAP-21, Congress recognized the critical relationship 
between safety and transit asset management. We note, in particular, 
the congressional requirement that the National Safety Plan include the 
definition for ``state of good repair'' as established in the 
rulemaking for transit

[[Page 5634]]

asset management (49 U.S.C. 5329(b)(2)(B)) and the requirement at 49 
U.S.C. 5329(d)(1)(C) that public transportation agency safety plans 
include state of good repair performance targets based on the 
performance measures established in the National Safety Plan.
    The safety and performance of a public transportation system 
depend, in part, on the condition of its assets. A key challenge in 
connecting transit asset management to safety planning is that even 
when assets are not in a state of good repair, they can be operated 
safely, and, likewise, assets in a state of good repair can be operated 
unsafely. In the National Safety Plan, reliability is not a synonym for 
state of good repair. Rather, the proposed reliability measure is 
intended to serve as an expression of the relationship between safety 
and asset conditions, and therefore is neither duplicative nor 
inconsistent with the performance measure under the Transit Asset 
Management rule.
    To clarify, at this time, the reliability measure applies only to 
revenue vehicles. The mean distance (miles) between failures is a 
standard industry metric. In the National Safety Plan FTA is not 
changing the way a ``failure'' is defined. Currently, FTA requires most 
Section 5307 recipients to report the following information: (1) Total 
number of failures (major failures and minor failures); and (2) total 
vehicle miles by mode. ``Major failures'' are failures caused by 
vehicle malfunctions or subpar vehicle condition which requires that it 
be pulled from service. ``Minor failures'' represent instances where a 
vehicle is pulled out of service for local policy reasons. For example, 
a transit agency may prohibit operation of a bus with inoperable air 
conditioning (AC) even though the bus could operate without AC.
    FTA agrees with the comment suggesting that the reliability measure 
should only capture major mechanical failures since ``minor failures'' 
are linked to local policy. FTA has revised the measure in the final 
National Safety Plan to be ``mean distance between major mechanical 
failures by mode.'' ``Major mechanical failures'' only encompass 
vehicles failures, and not the failure of infrastructure, equipment, 
etc.
    Transit operators should combine this data to arrive at a number 
for mean distance between major mechanical failures by mode, and then 
set a target to improve performance for this measure. This may require 
agencies that currently are not required to report to the NTD, to begin 
collecting major mechanical failures and vehicle miles by mode. 
However, nothing in the Plan changes reporting requirements or requires 
recipients to report any new information. Each agency will set targets 
based on the data it collects and FTA will not be collecting those 
targets.
Establishing Baselines
    Several commenters provided commentary on the establishment of 
baselines for performance metrics. Two commenters questioned how FTA 
will gather sufficient and consistent data to establish baseline 
measurements. One commenter stated that FTA may struggle to gather 
consistent three-year data to be able to establish an initial time-
weighted average for FTA's proposed safety criterion measures. Another 
commenter stated that baselines should not be established for all 
performance measures and that it is not appropriate for agencies to set 
baseline targets for fatalities and injuries, as anything above zero 
would be inappropriate.
    An additional commenter recommended that FTA require transit 
agencies to establish baseline performance metrics for each different 
system (age, use, etc.) within the larger transportation system. This 
commenter asserted that large transit systems often have heterogeneous 
transportation infrastructure and it may not be appropriate or 
efficient to combine all systems under one set of metrics.
FTA's Response
    FTA acknowledges that it may be difficult for agencies with 
immature safety risk management processes to establish baselines. 
However, FTA believes that establishing baseline targets is necessary 
for agencies to assess improvements in safety performance for future 
comparison. Although the baseline target for any safety performance 
measure should include at least three years of data to establish an 
initial time-weighted average (metric) for the measure, initial 
baseline targets may be based on the best available information to an 
agency.
    The National Safety Plan does not prescribe a methodology for 
establishing baseline targets. FTA recognizes that each transit agency 
has its own operating policies that impact how performance is measured. 
However, FTA hopes that bringing greater attention to safety 
performance through the National Safety Plan will encourage more 
robust, consistent data collection, analysis and reporting in the 
future.
Other Comments on Safety Performance Measures
    Multiple commenters recommended expanding the list of performance 
measures. One commenter requested that FTA avoid duplicative 
requirements in performance measures. One commenter recommended that 
FTA expand the list of performance measures to include measures for job 
safety analysis, operational performance for employees, rule 
compliance, close calls and near misses, and hazard identification and 
mitigation. Two commenters requested that FTA add leading indicators to 
the list of measures to promote proactive aspects of the SMS.
    Several commenters requested that FTA provide more information 
about the performance measures, including additional information about 
implementation and guidance concerning ``local safety plans.'' One 
commenter asserted that the current performance measures are 
inappropriate.
    One commenter stated that the current NTD has sufficient data to 
create performance targets at the national level, thereby developing 
consistent safety goals throughout the transit industry.
FTA's Response
    The performance measures proposed in the National Safety Plan were 
designed to provide a strategic approach to improving safety 
performance in the day-to-day operations of public transportation. As 
the Safety Program matures, FTA will establish additional performance 
measures. Until such time, the final National Safety Plan maintains the 
proposed performance measures. In addition, at this time, FTA is not 
establishing national performance targets, but may do so in the future.
    FTA disagrees that the proposed performance measures are 
inappropriate. The proposed safety performance measures were derived 
from information that recipients already report to the NTD. It is 
important to note that the performance measures established in the 
final National Safety Plan are the minimum measures that operators must 
set targets to under their public transportation agency safety plans. 
Until such time as FTA establishes additional measures based on leading 
indicators, FTA encourages transit agencies to add more proactive, 
leading measures into their own performance metrics.
    MAP-21 created a performance-based and multimodal program to 
strengthen the U.S. transportation system. By focusing on national 
goals, increasing accountability, and improving transparency, these 
changes will improve decision-making through better informed planning 
and programming. The U.S. Department of Transportation

[[Page 5635]]

is implementing the new MAP-21 performance requirements through a 
number of rulemakings and Plans that establish performance measures and 
target setting requirements for recipients. FTA will issue guidance to 
assist the transit industry as it implements safety and transit asset 
management performance management. Upon issuance of the Agency Safety 
Plan rule FTA will provide specific guidance on implementing the 
requirements for public transportation agency safety plans.
Data Collection
    One commenter requested clarification on how data gathered under an 
SMS program can be used to anticipate future risks if the exact causes 
of many accidents are often unknown. The commenter also questioned how 
FTA will gather at least three years of consistent data to establish 
averages for FTA's proposed safety performance measures, as indicated 
in the National Safety Plan.
    Two commenters stated that data collection must be consistent 
across all FTA programs and clear reporting definitions must be crafted 
to ensure consistency. A couple of commenters requested additional 
clarification regarding how agencies should use the data they collect 
in conjuncture with data collected by other transit agencies. Those 
commenters asked whether or not transit agencies should compare safety 
data with other agencies when creating their own SMS plans. Some 
commenters expressed concern about the potential burdens of data 
collection if agencies are encouraged to collect and analyze safety 
data from other organizations to include in their safety plans.
    One commenter recommended that FTA establish a strategic data 
management plan to aid in the standardization and analysis of safety 
data, suggesting that the NTD and SSO program should be used to analyze 
historical safety trends and establish minimum hazard criteria and 
targets. Another commenter indicated that it would be helpful if FTA 
establish a Web site where safety performance data analysis results 
could be shared and reviewed.
FTA's Response
    Managing safety performance with current data and analysis is 
critical to the success of any effective SMS. SMS data collection 
efforts are more comprehensive than traditional methods. If transit 
agencies lack relevant information it may cause them to leave 
unaddressed critical gaps in safety. In SMS, agencies anticipate future 
risk by measuring proactive mitigation efforts to determine the 
effectiveness of those efforts. These measures look at behaviors or 
performance linked to accident prevention or organizational actions 
taken before accidents occur, which lessen the likelihood the negative 
events will occur. Lagging measures are also necessary by revealing the 
frequency of missed targets and identifying where insufficiently 
mitigated risk needs to be addressed.
    FTA recognizes the importance of data collection and analysis and 
setting goals based on this information. Accordingly, FTA has tasked 
TRACS to develop recommendations that help define the functional 
requirements of a comprehensive safety data and performance management 
approach that will inform FTA of the data required to implement an 
effective transit Safety Management System and how to collect and 
employ it to effectively improve safety performance. FTA is seeking 
specific recommendations on how it should standardize safety 
performance tools and capabilities, including safety performance 
monitoring; safety performance measurement, including standard 
definitions and baselines; hazard management and risk monitoring 
capabilities; and standard methods for data analysis and storage. FTA 
intends to utilize the TRACS recommendations in its development of 
enhanced internal data capabilities and guidance for the transit 
industry.
Comments: Relationship Between Safety Performance and Transit Asset 
Management
    A couple of commenters stated that there are several 
inconsistencies between the National Safety Plan and FTA's Transit 
Asset Management rule, and that these inconsistencies should be 
eliminated. One commenter recommended that the Transit Asset Management 
rule serve as the standard across all Section 5329 rules.
FTA's Response
    FTA disagrees that the proposed National Safety Plan was 
inconsistent with Transit Asset Management NPRM. FTA's approach to 
Transit Asset Management is consistent with SMS. A fundamental aspect 
of transit asset management is the monitoring of asset condition data 
as an indicator of system performance. Similarly, SMS is a formal data-
driven approach to managing safety risk and assuring the effectiveness 
of safety risk mitigations. SMS does not require that a specific action 
be taken to address a specific safety risk. SMS merely provides an 
agency with the information necessary to identify and understand safety 
risks, and subsequently make a determination about how to mitigate 
those risks.

C. Chapter III--Managing Risks and Assuring Safe Performance in Public 
Transportation

Comments: Safety Advisories
    A few commenters provided comments concerning safety advisories. 
One commenter stated that safety advisories are beneficial, but they 
would be more valuable if they were issued with greater frequency and 
included analysis of the impact of previous safety advisories. Another 
commenter requested that FTA issue safety advisories for the bus 
industry along with the rail industry, while another agency requested 
more information related to how transit agencies should incorporate 
safety advisories into their safety plans.
FTA's Response
    Due to the nature of an advisory, an operator need not ``comply'' 
with an advisory, but instead would decide whether or not to adopt the 
recommended actions. Each operator should determine whether or not the 
hazard or risk addressed in an advisory is relevant to its system and 
determine appropriate mitigations.
    To date, FTA has only issued advisories related to hazards or risks 
that may impact rail transit operators. In the future FTA may issues 
advisories for other modes of transit.
Comments: Standards
    Multiple commenters provided input on the voluntary nature of the 
National Safety Plan's safety standards. Several commenters, including 
multiple State DOTs and a Federal agency, expressed concern about the 
voluntary nature of the program. These commenters suggested that 
Congress intended for (and required) FTA to establish minimum mandatory 
criteria, not voluntary criteria, and that FTA should adjust the 
National Safety Plan accordingly by making the National Safety Plan a 
regulation instead of a guidance document. One commenter asserted that 
performance measures in operations should be based on robust rules-
based compliance programs with an emphasis on mentoring and coaching.
    Other commenters approved of the voluntary nature of the National 
Safety Plan's safety standards. One commenter praised the National 
Safety Plan for being prescriptively limited and voluntary, which would 
allow agencies

[[Page 5636]]

greater flexibility in implementing a safety program.
    One commenter noted that voluntary standards for heavy and light 
rail are inadequate and are in need of revision. The commenter stated 
that heavy and light rail vehicles need additional crashworthiness, 
event recorder, safety appliance, fire, and camera safety standards.
    Several commenters responded to a request from FTA to provide 
examples of voluntary safety standards that transit agencies have 
adopted.
    A couple of commenters strongly encouraged FTA to strengthen 
vehicle safety performance standards by adding a fire safety component, 
noting that current fire safety provisions, particularly with regards 
to the interior of the vehicle, are insufficient. The commenters 
recommended that fire performance standards for vehicle seating be 
included in the National Safety Plan. Several commenters stated that 
FMVSS 302 is not adequate to ensure fire safety in public transit 
systems and is a standard that has been discredited by repeated 
scientific study. A number of commenters specifically singled out bus 
systems as a particularly inappropriate use of the FMVSS 302 standard, 
stating that FMVSS 302 is a bare minimum standard for cars that should 
not apply to buses because buses hold more people and have fewer 
potential exits.
    Several commenters provided recommendations for standards that 
could replace FMVSS 302. Some commenters recommended FTA use the 
National Safety Council fire test, ASTM E2574, NFPA 130, or a heat 
release standard instead. These commenters recommended that fire 
standards should be requirements, not recommendations.
    One commenter noted that it has adopted the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations as a baseline to follow for 
operations and maintenance safety and encouraged FTA to include these 
standards in the National Safety Plan. Another commenter indicated that 
it has adopted The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 
safety standards for heavy rail vehicles, Institute of Electrical and 
Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards for rail transit event 
recorders, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards 
for fixed guideway transit and passenger rail systems.
    One commenter responded to FTA's request for comments on the costs 
of implementing voluntary safety standards, indicating that the cost of 
implementing voluntary safety standards was minimal. One commenter 
responded to FTA's request for examples of additional standards adopted 
by transit agencies, stating that it has adopted the R179 Train 
Specification standards in addition to voluntary safety standards.
    Some commenters suggested that FTA include hour-of-service and 
fitness for duty requirements, as well as standards for train 
specifications (R179). A transit agency and a professional association 
recommended that transit policing and customer expectation standards 
should be included in the National Safety Plan.
FTA's Response
    For this first iteration of the National Safety Plan FTA believes 
that it is appropriate to include only voluntary standards. The FAST 
Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a review of 
public transportation safety standards and protocols to document 
existing standards and protocols that are currently used in transit and 
examine their efficacy. The content of the review must include minimum 
safety performance standards developed by the public transportation 
industry and safety performance standards, practices, or protocols in 
use by rail fixed guideway public transportation systems. The review 
also must include rail and bus safety standards, practices, or 
protocols in use by public transportation systems regarding rail and 
bus design and the workstation of rail and bus operators; scheduling 
fixed route rail and bus service with adequate time and access for 
operators to use restroom facilities; fatigue management; and crash 
avoidance and worthiness.
    FTA has engaged in this review through the issuance of a Federal 
Register notice requesting public comment on its Compendium (inventory) 
of transit safety standards and protocols. See 81 FR 30605 (May 17, 
2016). The Compendium includes an inventory of transit standards and 
protocols that FTA has identified, including standards or regulations 
promulgated by other Federal agencies and the standards and issue areas 
referenced in the comments.
    Upon completion of the review and evaluation, FTA will issue a 
report presenting the findings of the review of standards; the outcome 
of the evaluation; a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve 
the safety of the public transportation industry, including 
recommendations for regulatory changes, if applicable; and actions 
taken to address the recommendations provided.
    FTA will issue future mandatory standards through the notice and 
comment rulemaking process.

Carolyn Flowers,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-00678 Filed 1-17-17; 8:45 am]
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