DOT Releases Plan for Accessing Federally Funded Research Results. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released its Public Access Plan: Increasing Access to Federally Funded Research Results. This plan sets out a framework for enhancing the tracking of the complete research lifecycle at the project level, from project initiation to the submission of project deliverables, and on to research implementation through the deployment of research outputs and products. It establishes objectives to ensure public access to Publications and Digital Data Sets arising from DOT-managed research and development (R&D) programs. DOT already provides access to intramural and extramural research in progress and technical reports, as well as many final publications through partnerships with organizations such as the Transportation Research Board. The purpose of this plan is to expand and institutionalize those intramural and extramural R&D access practices across DOT, as directed by a 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy Memorandum. Guidance for researchers on how to comply with the plan’s requirements, along with additional information will be found through the National Transportation Library. Contact Nancy Wilochka: (202) 366-5128.
Student Art Contest Takes Aim at Reducing Fatalities Caused by Truck and Bus Drivers Not Buckling Up. Submissions are now being accepted for the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership’s “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” annual student art contest, which aims to reduce the number of fatalities caused by commercial truck and bus drivers not buckling up. Approximately 275 occupants of large trucks who were killed in crashes in 2013 were not wearing their safety belts, according to the most recently available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The contest is open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade with relatives or sponsors in the commercial truck and bus industries. Submissions will be accepted through March 1, 2016. Contest rules and information on how to submit an entry are available at: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safetybelt. A manual for increasing safety belt use by motor carriers is available at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/safety-belt/increasing-safety-belt-use-your-company-manual. Contact: Troy Green: (202) 366-9999.
FTA Issues Proposed Rule for Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently published a proposed rule that would incorporate the current interim safety certification training provisions as the initial regulatory training requirements. These requirements would enhance the technical proficiency of those directly responsible for safety oversight of public transportation systems and the State personnel who conduct safety audits and examinations of rail transportation systems. Similar to existing Federal funding requirements, the proposed rule would require State Safety Oversight Agencies and rail transit operators to annually certify compliance with the rule as a condition for receiving FTA financial assistance. As with the current interim program, employees or contractors of entities providing safety oversight of bus transit operations would be encouraged to participate on a voluntary basis. Public comments must be received by February 1, 2016. Contact: Steve Kulm 202-366-9260
2015 Rail Transit Safety Education Grants Awarded to Eight Transit Agencies. Using $150,000 in funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the non-profit rail safety group Operation Lifesaver, Inc., this week announced the recipients of its 2015 Rail Transit Safety Education Grant Program. The competitive grant program awarded funding to eight transit agencies to support rail transit safety education and public awareness initiatives. This year’s grant recipients include: Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (Calif.), Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Calif.), Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Ga.), Metro Transit (Minn.), Kansas City Streetcar Authority (Mo.), TriMet (Ore.), Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Texas) and Hampton Roads Transit (Va.) Contact: Steve Kulm 202-366-9260
PHMSA to Hold Advisory Committee Vote on Rulemaking Proposal for Excess Flow Valves. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is seeking to update requirements covering the use of excess flow valves in natural gas distribution pipelines. In its November 30, 2015 Federal Register notice, PHMSA announced its Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee will meet to consider and vote on a rulemaking proposal that expands requirements for excess flow valves usage for gas distribution pipelines beyond certain single-family homes. Also included in the rulemaking package are proposed requirements for the installation of manual service line shut-off valves on new or replaced lines servicing industrial facilities or other customers that use large quantities of natural gas. The meeting and vote will be held by phone from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST on December 17, 2015. To register for the meeting, visit PHMSA’s website at https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/meetings/MtgHome.mtg?mtg=108.
FMCSA Removes Property Carrier Compliance and Safety Performance Data from Public Display. As of December 4, 2015, pursuant to the FAST Act of 2015, much of the information previously available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website related to property carrier’s compliance and safety performance will no longer be displayed publicly. While the agency is not prohibited from displaying all of the data, no information will be available for property carriers while appropriate changes are made. This also applies to information provided to the public through the QCMobile app. FMCSA is working to return the website and app to operation as quickly as possible. All information on passenger carriers remains available, and enforcement users and motor carriers can view safety data by using their login information. If you are a motor carrier and do not have login credentials, please click here for more information on how to obtain your PIN. Contact: FMCSA Office of Public Affairs: (202) 366-9999, FMCSA.PublicAffairs@dot.gov.