Dakota Transporter
Volume 19, Issue 1Summer 2007

Safe Community Transportation

Transit safety and security seem to be the words-of-the-day for many government supported agencies, from the federal level to state organizations. The media offers strong arguments to this with stories on terrorism, natural disasters, or individuals who go on a rampage in offices. Yet, in the midst of all this, we who live in the Midwest sometimes feel complacent or cushioned from the news stories and sincerely hope we are never faced with such disasters. However, preparedness and training are probably the best type of responses to all that is happening in the world around us today.

In response to the Federal Transit Administration's Transit Bus Safety and Security Program, two initiatives are being offered to transit operators. The Securing Community Mobility initiative by NTI is a training course while the Training and Safety Review Program by CTAA is an individual assessment of your operation by a CTAA certified reviewer.

The Securing Community Mobility course is being offered at the DTA fall conference in Dickinson. The course was developed by Ream Lazaro and NTI. Our instructor for the fall conference will be Andy Ervin, and he will cover these seven areas:

  • defining security in community
  • reducing security vulnerabilities
  • identifying and reacting to workplace violence
  • reacting to different, difficult, and dangerous passengers
  • responding to criminal or terrorist activity
  • reacting to weapons use involving transit
  • summarizing security concerns

The training presents practical strategies to reduce vulnerabilities and real-world methodologies for reacting to threats that occur within a community transportation environment.

The CTAA program is designed to help a transportation organization build its internal team; safely serve its customers; fulfill its responsibilities in maintaining community security; identify internal safety and security weaknesses; and reduce its exposure to liability. This protocol is used for on-site reviews of transit systems to certify they are addressing the critical components of safety and security consistent with the Federal Transit Administration's Transit Bus Safety and Security Program. Ream Lazaro and Michael Noel serve as the master reviewers for the program and in that capacity, are responsible for the training of all reviewers and monitoring the work of all qualified reviewers. A trained and qualified training and safety reviewer spends time on site at the transit organization, working through a structured series of interviews and conducting an assessment looking at seven critical areas:

  • management and planning
  • personnel
  • training and development
  • vehicle and maintenance
  • transit operations
  • facilities
  • policies and procedures

Assuming all seven safety and security areas meet the program's benchmarks, CTAA then issues the organization a certificate of participation which is valid for three years.

Both the NTI training course and the CTAA-sponsored safety and security assessment are excellent programs, and it is worth participating in them. The second one is more involved at the individual transit agency level, and the NTI program is a course which gives information about safety and security. The CTAA reviewer certification course was offered at this year's EXPO in Reno, NV. Gary Hegland, of the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center, took the reviewer certification course and has applied for certification. Because of the timely nature of the training, it is likely that the reviewer certification will be available again at next year's CTAA conference should anyone else be interested in becoming certified.

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