On August 7, 2023, CUTR was awarded a $500,000 contract to perform the Transit Rider and Worker Safety Research project. USDOT has established strategic goals and objectives, which include safety, economic strength and global competitiveness, equity, climate and sustainability, transformation, and organizational excellence. These objectives drive the “transformational investments” under USDOT’s safety goal: “Make our transportation system safer for all people. Advance a future without transportation-related serious injuries and fatalities.” Three of the five strategic objectives established to achieve this goal – safe public, safe workers, and safe system, are the focus of this research.
This research will also further the body of knowledge and address USDOT’s research priority areas by promoting the safety of public transit workers, passengers, and patrons. It will reflect USDOT’s principles of a safety system approach and methods that together can promote transportation safety. The project team holds these shared beliefs:
- Safety is proactive.
- Humans are vulnerable.
- Death and serious injuries are unacceptable.
- Humans make mistakes.
- Redundancy is crucial.
- Responsibility is shared.
In addition, a projected outcome of this research will be the renewed acceptance of public transit as a viable and safe mobility option. It is anticipated that those fears that may have prevented public transit riders or potential riders from riding our nation’s transit systems, will be alleviated. This, we hope, will lead to rebounded ridership, and improved and expanded community mobility.
CUTR is partnering with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University, a well-established research leader in the area of transit safety and security. In addition, the team includes the International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the public transit industry at the national level and within communities. ITLC is the only national organization that focuses on the industry’s frontline workers and their participation on this team ensures significant, relevant, and important engagement with public transit workers.
“We are thrilled to have been selected by FTA to perform this vital research. Our hope is that through this work, we can make a difference in the lives of transit workers and patrons who deserve safe work environments and mobility options. We cannot wait to begin this project with our Mineta and ITLC partners, and we look forward to the significant stakeholder input process that will be central to our research efforts and associated outcomes,” said Lisa Staes, CUTR associate director.