Characteristics and Elements of Non-Punitive Employee Safety Reporting Systems for Public Transportation

BACKGROUND   In response to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and its successor, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the FTA established the Safety Management Systems (SMS) framework as the basis for its new National Public Transportation Safety Program. FTA defines SMS as a comprehensive, collaborative approach that brings management and labor together to build on the transit industry’s existing safety foundation to control risk better, detect and correct safety problems earlier, share and analyze safety data more effectively, and measure safety performance more carefully.     A non-punitive employee safety reporting system is intended to improve overall safety by encouraging employees to voluntarily report information on unsafe conditions or acts that would otherwise not be known or detected by transit agency management. This type of reporting system requires an organizational culture where employees and management work together to understand and address underlying safety-related problems.  Non-punitive employee safety reporting is an important element of the FTA’s proposed Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan Rule (PTASP) (49 CFR Part 673).    OBJECTIVE   The objective of this research is to present the characteristics and elements of a non-punitive, employee safety reporting system to facilitate improved safety performance for rail and bus transit agencies. This research should draw from lessons learned by other transportation modes, in particular the airline and railroad industries. Additionally, it should build on related research that has been conducted for the transit industry by organizations including, but not limited to FTA, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), Transportation Research Board (TRB), and the USDOT Volpe Center.    The final deliverable should address the following on the development and implementation of a non-punitive employee safety reporting system:          Experience of transit agencies          Safety culture          Organizational strategies for promoting procedural fairness (see Special Note B)                  Roles of stakeholders          Types of data that should be collected          Strategies for collecting data          Scalability of the reporting system for transit agencies of different sizes   RESEARCH PLAN   Proposers are asked to develop and present a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objectives. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task. Proposers are expected to present a research plan that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals shall: (1) present the proposer’s current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach for meeting the research objectives; (2) identify data and data sources that may be used to undertake this research; and (3) propose a format(s) of the final research product(s).    The research plan shall describe appropriate deliverables that include, but are not limited to the following (which also represent key project milestones): An Amplified Research Plan that responds to comments from the project panel at the contractor selection meeting. An interim report and panel meeting. The interim report should include the analyses and results of completed tasks, an update of the remaining tasks, and a detailed outline of the final research product(s). The panel meeting will take place after the panel review of the interim report. The interim report and panel meeting should occur after the expenditure of no more than 40 percent of the project budget. Once approved by the panel, the interim deliverable should be suitable for public release and a possible webinar. Final deliverables that present the entire research with an executive summary.  A webinar on the results of the research and the deliverables.  A technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”. STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.


  • English


  • Funding: $100,000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project F-27

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Start Date: 0
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01667916
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project F-27
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Apr 30 2018 3:14PM