FTA Announces New National Transit Oriented Developoment (TOD) Ladders of Opportunity Technical Assistance Initiative. As a complement to the Administration’s ongoing Opportunities Agenda Program, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced this week that Smart Growth America, a national nonprofit organization, has been selected to lead a team of experts to support transit-oriented development (TOD) activities that will benefit economically distressed communities across the country. In the near future, the new National TOD Ladders Technical Assistance Initiative will bring together resources and training on public transportation, transit-oriented development, land use, urban planning, affordable housing, and community-based economic development to help local governments get the most out of transit investments. Through this initiative, FTA will provide TOD technical assistance, which will include on-site visits to selected local governments, a new comprehensive website, and toll free call lines for individual assistance. FTA will make a formal announcement once the website and toll free lines are launched. Contact: Angela Gates at Tel: 202-366-3669.
FTA Issues Updated Emergency Relief Program Manual for Transit Industry. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has published an updated reference manual on Federal emergency response assistance and disaster relief programs available to the transit industry. The revised manual is located on the FTA web site and provides transit agencies information and guidance about the FTA Emergency Relief Program, planning and preparing for disaster events, and how and when to apply to FTA or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster relief assistance. The guide also will help transit systems understand the types of response, restoration, repair, and resilience activities that are eligible for reimbursement under Federal disaster relief programs. Contact: Steve Kulm at 202-366-9260.
FMCSA Releases Additional Analysis on Alternatives for Safety Measurement System. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a Congressionally directed report confirming that the amount of data used in the agency’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) is clearly sufficient to allow FMCSA to identify high-risk truck and bus companies. The report found that SMS effectively identifies the truck and bus companies involved in 90 percent of the more than 100,000 crashes that occur each year, and those that are identified as high-risk carriers continue to have crash rates that are twice the national average. In examining commercial motor vehicle crash rates, FMCSA looked at carriers of various sizes in accordance with the Congressional directive. The analysis revealed no significant difference in actual crash rates between small carriers and those with 20 or more roadside inspections. FMCSA’s examinations further determined that the category of carriers with 11-20 inspections and patterns of non-compliance has the highest crash rates, presenting a clear and immediate intervention opportunity for the agency to proactively bring these carriers into compliance with important safety regulations, including: hours-of-service limitations designed to prevent fatigued driving; vehicle maintenance, and; commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements. FMCSA’s current SMS data sufficiency standards allow the agency to effectively identify and proactively intervene with high-risk carriers before a crash involving a large truck or bus occurs. In March, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended that the agency increase the minimum number of required roadside safety inspections needed before prioritizing truck and bus companies for interventions. FMCSA disagreed, pointing out that a delay in responding to known non-compliant carriers would needlessly jeopardize the safety of the motoring public. Under current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), a carrier’s safety fitness can only be assigned following an on-site investigation; SMS is a tool to prioritize high-risk truck and bus companies for enforcement interventions. The report underscores the critical importance of considering carriers of all sizes in the agency’s continuing efforts to remove unsafe carriers and commercial drivers from the nation’s roadways and protecting travelers everywhere. For a copy of the report, see: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/limitations-and-uses-safety-measurement-system-data-assessing-motor-carrier-safety. Contact: Ed Gilman: (202) 366-9999.