Ensuring the Health and Safety of Transportation System Operators and Others in the Transportation Workforce

Transit operators, shared-mobility drivers, truck drivers making deliveries, roadside assistance operators, tow truck drivers, toll booth collectors, law enforcement, and first responders who address roadway crashes interact with the public, who may be infected and are at higher risk of contracting a virus during a pandemic. Beyond personal protective equipment, it is important to understand the range of issues faced and the strategies that can be implemented, along with their effectiveness, costs, and implications. Additionally, for many workers identified as “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic, using public transportation is the most feasible option for several reasons (e.g., lack of car ownership, limited financial means). However, COVID-19 has made public transit a less desirable mode of transportation in many cases due to the health risks and the inability to protect oneself adequately. Transit service responds to ridership and fewer riders means reduced funding to operate systems. If this mode becomes less available due to service changes or interruptions, essential workers must have access to other transportation options without taking on additional burdens such as car ownership, extended travel time, and risks to their own safety and health, including that of others (e.g., family, customers). The social distancing guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the potential for unsafe work environments. It is essential to understand how to make work environments safe for employees and system users. In some situations, such as emergency response, it is often required that people be in close proximity to one another. Although other transportation functions such as construction and maintenance may not interact directly with the public, employees typically work in small teams or crews that may place workers at risk. Truck drivers need open rest stops or facilities to ensure their safe ability to travel. Initial understanding, established protocols, and general guidance will assist transportation agencies in responding during COVID-19 as well as preparing for future pandemics. This research will identify effective practices to help ensure the health and safety of transportation system operators, and the transportation workforce involved in construction, maintenance, and operations of the system.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $150000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project F-30

  • 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: 20201123
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01758789
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project F-30
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 23 2020 3:06PM