Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program: Building for Success

The development and implementation of new rail vehicle technologies in transit systems around the country have had profound effects. While these technologies have greatly benefited customers and agencies alike, they also have led to difficulties. The internal training capacity of the transit industry has had trouble keeping up with the pace of innovation, and it has become increasingly difficult to hire new external applicants with the specialized skills needed for the new equipment. Upgrading the skills of the workforce that maintains this new technology and developing a system that does this on an ongoing basis is of the utmost importance to the industry. A number of Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) and Transportation Research Board (TRB) reports have analyzed the transit skills crisis. A common thread in their recommendations for resolving this skills crisis is that management and labor should work together in creating a joint system for developing the skills needed in this industry. TCRP Report 29, Closing the Knowledge Gap for Transit Vehicle Maintenance Employees: A Systems Approach demonstrated that the onus is on the transit agencies themselves to find ways of closing the skills gap" and TCRP Report 96, Determining Training for New Technologies: A Decision Game and Facilitation Guide, indicates that "[a] successful program must involve partnering with the employees being trained and with labor unions whose members are affected. The best approach is for all the major players in the transit industry, labor and management, to work in partnership to develop new approaches to training and certification. The Community Transportation Center's 2007 research summary, People Make the Hardware Work: Transit Experts Call for Labor-Management Training Partnerships, contains excerpts from seven reports from TCRP, TRB and American Public Transportation Association (APTA) on this subject. This joint approach is what has proven so successful in the development of national standards for transit maintenance training.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project E-07

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Jenks, Christopher

  • Performing Organizations:

    Transportation Learning Center

    Silver Spring, MD  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Turner, Brian

  • Start Date: 20080718
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20111231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 28987

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463301
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project E-07
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:21PM