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Federal Transit Administration

Who is FTA?

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)  is a modal administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation that provides financial and technical assistance to public transportation systems, including buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, trolleys and ferries.

What does FTA do?

In addition to supporting public transportation with financial and technical assistance, FTA administers a national transit safety program and program compliance oversight process to advance safe, reliable, and equitable transit service throughout the U.S. FTA’s Office of Transit Safety & Oversight  helps make transit safer through policy development, hazard investigation, data collection, risk analysis, oversight programs and information sharing

Safety Programs

Public Transportation Safety Program
Establishes substantive and procedural rules for FTA’s administration of a comprehensive public transportation safety program, including the framework to monitor, oversee and enforce transit safety, based on the methods and principles of Safety Management Systems.

National Public Transportation Safety Plan 
Details safety performance criteria and minimum transit safety standards.

Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans
Requires operators of public transportation systems that receive federal funds under FTA's Urbanized Area Formula Grants to develop safety plans that include the processes and procedures to implement Safety Management Systems (SMS).

State Safety Oversight Program
The program establishes safety oversight of rail transit systems and administered by eligible states with rail transit systems in their jurisdiction. FTA provides federal funds through the SSO Formula Grant Program for eligible states to develop or carry out their SSO programs. 

Safety Training
Transportation Safety Institute training programs are designed and delivered to provide critical safety and security information, best practices and regulatory guidance.

Drug & Alcohol Program
Combats prohibited drug use and alcohol misuse in the public transportation industry.

Model Bus Testing Program
Improves the process of ensuring the safety and reliability of new transit buses with minimum performance standards, a standardized scoring system, and a pass-fail threshold that will better inform local transit agencies as they evaluate and purchase buses.

Transit Asset Management
Requires FTA grantees to develop management plans for their public transportation assets, including vehicles, facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure. TAM is an essential practice for providing safer, more reliable transit service nationwide, while helping lower operating costs.

WMATA Metrorail Safety Oversight
FTA provides temporary direct safety oversight of the WMATA Metrorail system until the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia jointly obtain a federally certified State Safety Oversight Program via the Metrorail Safety Commission.

Safety Resources/Tools

FTA provides many safety resources/tools to the transit industry, some of which are listed below:

FTA Safety Management System Framework

General Directives and Safety Advisories

Safety Rulemakings

Oversight Program Standard Technical Assistance Guide

Rail Safety Statistics Report

Transit Advisory Committee for Safety

National Transit Database


Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2018
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