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

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). 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.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $100000
  • 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

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of South Florida, Tampa

    Center for Urban Transportation Research
    3650 Spectrum Boulevard
    Tampa, FL  United States  33612-9446
  • Principal Investigators:

    Staes, Lisa

  • Start Date: 20190108
  • Expected Completion Date: 20200107
  • 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