APTA Announces 2019 Bus Safety & Security Excellence Awards

Recognizing public transit systems with top safety and security programs in North America

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced the winners of the 2019 Bus Safety & Security Excellence Awards at the annual APTA Mobility Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. The winning public transit systems were presented their awards by APTA Chair David M. Stackrow and APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.

“Keeping our riders, employees and communities safe is the most important thing we do every day,” Stackrow said. “It’s a privilege to recognize these public transit agencies for their excellence in developing and sustaining a strong safety culture as well as robust security programs.”

“These award-winning public transportation programs are models of excellence in the areas of safety and security,” Skoutelas said. “The implementation of these initiatives demonstrates the ongoing commitment to improving safety and security for their passengers, employees and communities in the public transit industry.”

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

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

The 2019 Bus Safety & Security Excellence Award winners are awarded in three categories based on annual ridership.

2019 Bus Safety Award Winners 

Public Transportation systems providing fewer than 4 million annual passenger trips

GOLD Award for Safety — Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK), Moline, Illinois

Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK) operates in the Illinois Quad Cities’ communities and services roughly 3.5 million riders yearly. MetroLINK has taken a proactive approach in reducing the amount of preventable collisions through operator safety training, safety recognition/rewards programs, and vehicle technology. MetroLINK created a successful safety program that resulted in a 46 percent decrease in preventable collisions per 100,000 miles, with a 6.7 percent increase in miles driven over the period of 2014-2018.

Public Transportation systems providing more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips

GOLD Award for Safety — Omnitrans, San Bernardino, California

Omnitrans’s number one priority is its safety culture. Omnitrans has created several programs that show its commitment to a robust safety culture. These programs include new coach operator training, an audible turn signal program, improved mobility device securements, camera safety innovations, and safety campaigns. As a result of these initiatives, Omnitrans has seen a consistent 32 percent reduction in the preventable accident frequency rate over a five-year period. They now average roughly 9 million revenue miles annually with approximately 121,000 miles between preventable accidents.

Public Transportation Systems providing more than 20 million annual passenger trips

GOLD Award for Safety — Capital Metropolitan Transportation (Metro), Austin, Texas

Capital Metropolitan Transportation (Metro) has taken a proactive approach to safety and improved its overall safety culture at Metro by initiating the implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS). The SMS has created an understanding that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Metro understands the importance of having a SMS and has reaped the benefits of utilizing SMS before it is federally mandated by the FTA. Additionally, Metro created a Hazard Assessment Team that is responsible for identifying and assessing hazards and recommending mitigations.

Certificate of Merit for Safety — Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), Buffalo, New York

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) adopted a hands-on, multi-modal approach to reducing employee injuries. NFTA had its best employee safety performance in company history with an overall recordable injury reduction of 33 percent; a 40 percent reduction in lost time cases; and a 12 percent reduction in lost workdays. These historical numbers are largely due to an improvement in bus operations and NFTA’s bus safety program, which includes detailed injury review meetings with top management, interactive health and safety engagements, and employee recognition and rewards efforts.

Private Companies providing contracted transportation Mgmt. & Services to Public Transportations Systems

GOLD Award for Safety — Transdev (Services to the Regional Transit Authority in New Orleans, Louisiana)

Transdev’s number one priority is safety. When Transdev started providing service for the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in New Orleans, LA, they noticed a serious issue with bus accidents. Transdev did not wait for a catastrophic event to occur, but quickly established an accident reduction plan. As a result, RTA saw a 10 percent reduction in the first year of the plan and a 20 percent reduction in the second year. Not only was there a reduction in bus accidents, but the total number of claims and claims costs saw drastic reductions as well.

2019 Bus Security Award Winners

Public Transportation systems providing more than 4 million and fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips

GOLD Award for Security — Omnitrans, San Bernardino

Omnitrans identified deficiencies, particularly the lack of communication with first responders when cellular towers are down. In response, Omnitrans and select partner agencies created an innovative emergency communications system. This amateur radio group service is called the Inland Valley Emergency Communications Service (IVECS). IVECS provides the ability to communicate with emergency responders throughout the Omnitrans service area during emergency events, when cellular/mobile and landline telephone services are lost.

Public Transportation systems providing more than 20 million annual passenger trips

GOLD Award for Security — Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), Cleveland, Ohio

GCRTA recognized the potential for active shooters on the system and decided to take proactive action by partnering with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct a full-scale active shooter exercise. The exercise gave GCRTA employees an understanding of the best actions to undertake, should an active shooter incident occur on the GCRTA system.

Certificate of Merit for Security — Pace Suburban Bus (Pace), Arlington Heights, Illinois

Pace Suburban Bus implemented the “Security Enhancement Through Assessment Program” to increase security awareness amongst operators and employees. Pace employees and TSA inspectors placed unattended bags on random buses throughout the system. This program has increased operators’ awareness to their surroundings and caused them to complete more thorough pre-trip inspections. Pace felt it was important that all employees were trained and provided guidelines to follow when suspicious packages are identified.

This release originally appeared on the APTA website. You can view it here.