Federal Transit Administration Standards Development Program
FTA’s research program delivers timely and relevant information to the transit industry that is used to improve operational efficiencies and safety, promote and support training and professional development, and demonstrate and evaluate transit innovations and technologies. As an example, one such research project, coupled with stakeholder input, has been used to identify focus areas for standard development program (SDP)-related research that supports the development of voluntary standards or other guidance to address industry needs. The SDP reflects FTA’s long-standing partnerships with SDOs, such as the American Public Transportation Association, and its ongoing partnership with the public transit industry, and associated organizations to develop, modify and enhance industry voluntary standards, recommended practices, and other resources.
Stakeholder input anchors the SDP focus area identification protocol across FTA emphasis areas. Industry stakeholder engagement and input are central to a meaningful transit standards research program and a viable SDP.
Stakeholders have a role in validating and verifying the data analyses and associated research findings and the transit focus areas elevated through these processes.
Center for Urban Transportation Research Working Group
A few of the current studies under the Standards Development Program include:
Mobility Data – Standards and Specifications for Interoperability
The primary objective of this project is to perform research to identify the best practices and current developments leading to industry-driven Mobility on Demand (MOD) data exchange standards.
This research will complement ongoing USDOT efforts by focusing on data exchange and interoperability between modes, platform vendors, and operators as part of the MOB ecosystem.
The research outcomes will include the identification of any gaps and areas where FTA might need to focus to continue assist or support industry-led efforts to ensure interoperability among the different components of the MOD ecosystem.
Procuring and Maintaining Battery Electric Buses and Charging Systems
The primary objective of this project is to perform research to identify the best practices for procuring and maintaining electric buses and charging systems to improve transit safety. The research outcomes include the identification of areas for standards development, and the development or modification of existing relevant standards, including procurement specifications, other procurement documents, and maintenance standards and guidelines for transit buses powered through electric propulsion and associated charging infrastructure. This project will be performed with significant industry stakeholder participation and SDOs, such as APTA. While this scope of work does not include an evaluation of processes and procedures associated with battery electric buses, the outcome of this examination may include findings that support the further review, demonstration, and/or testing of processes, procedures, or technologies that may be implemented to ensure electric buses are maintained in a safe and effective manner.
Mitigations for Trespasser and Suicide Fatalities and Injuries
The objectives of this project are to present rail transit (heavy and light rail) and freight and commuter rail trespasser and suicide mitigations research results; present industry lessons learned/model practices about successful trespasser and suicide reduction measures, including those that demonstrate coordination with local mental health agencies and community associations, and awareness training for agency personnel, as examples; identify current and possible future technology applications that are or may be utilized to address trespassers and suicides including both passive and active intrusion detection technologies and video behavior analytic technologies; and present the trespasser research results or demonstrations/pilot projects that were instituted to address transit security risks.
Utilizing Artificial Intelligence and Vision-based Systems for Monitoring Trespassing
The primary objective of this project is to perform research on the utilization of AI and Vision-based Systems for Monitoring Trespassing to improve transit safety. The research outcomes include the identification of areas for standards development, and the development or modification of existing relevant standards, including minimum performance standards and protocols for improving the safe operation of public transportation systems, both rail and non-rail modes, in cooperation with SDOs, as required. While this scope of work does not include the performance testing of existing standards or specifications, or the demonstration of various technologies, the outcome of this examination may include findings that support the further review, demonstration, and/or testing of technologies that may prove effective in mitigating trespassing in public transit.
Public Safety Awareness Technology Evaluation and Implementation
The mission of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) is to ensure our nation has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world; that improves the quality of life for all American people and communities, from rural to urban, and increases the productivity and competitiveness of American workers and businesses. However, every year, approximately 40,000 lives are lost in transportation, including more than 800 bicyclists killed on highways, and about 5,500 pedestrians killed while on highways or trespassing in railroad rights-of-way. Findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstrated that human error of motorists or of nonoccupants is responsible for 94 percent of all traffic crashes. Similarly, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) have each found that human factors are the largest contributors to accidents and incidents.
In pursuit of this shared goal, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), FRA, NHTSA, and PHMSA are collaborating to identify existing as well as emerging technologies within and beyond transportation and infrastructure industries that may increase the efficacy of public safety awareness and ultimately reduce surface transportation injuries and fatalities. Relevant technologies will be capable of warning the public of hazards, provide information regarding contributions to the cause of the hazardous conditions or both.
The agencies are also collaborating to identify potential testbeds with public and private institutions for pilot testing public safety awareness technologies that can better identify and mitigate the inherent risks present in our transportation system in controlled environments. Test protocols will be developed to produce modally agnostic findings and subsequently apply those findings to specific safety alert systems for road users including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. DOT has engaged with a team of researchers from ENSCO, Inc., the Center for Urban Transportation Research and the University of South Florida and TrueSafety Evaluation, LLC, to gather this information and to disseminate the results of these efforts.
DOT will then develop evidence-based policy and guidance documents to support safety critical decision making across the federal, state and private transportation sectors and to measure the safety and effectiveness of these new technologies on the nation’s transportation system.