The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced that 10 projects in nine states - including SEPTA - will receive a share of approximately $9.1 million in funding through the Safety Research and Demonstration Program and the Bus Operator Compartment Program initiatives to support safety and innovation in the transit industry.
"This $9.1 million federal investment will help transit agencies across America advance new technologies that will enhance safety and benefit transit riders," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
FTA's Safety Research and Demonstration Program is part of a larger safety research effort at the U.S. Department of Transportation that provides technical and financial support for transit agencies to pursue innovative approaches to eliminate or mitigate safety hazards.
FTA's Bus Operator Compartment Program supports the redesign of transit bus operator compartments to improve safety for bus operators and the passengers they serve.
"FTA is committed to working with the transit industry to improve the safety of our nation’s public transportation systems," said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams. "These innovative new designs and projects will protect transit employees and passengers, as well as improve the overall safety and reliability of the service."
Among the projects selected to receive funding:
The International Transportation Learning Center based in Silver Spring, Maryland, will receive $1 million to redesign a transit bus compartment to improve safety for drivers. By designing a barrier, the compartment will minimize operator assaults and maintain positive passenger interactions through mirrors and lighting.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will receive $742,000 to install an automated employee protection system, allowing transit workers to enhance their safety while working on the tracks.
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) in New Orleans, Louisiana, will receive $600,000 to study the implementation of shields/barriers on its bus fleet to protect its bus operators. NORTA will work its bus operators to secure feedback on the implementation of this project.
FTA received 10 eligible proposals in 10 states for the Safety Research and Demonstration Program totaling approximately $8.46 million, and two eligible proposals in two states for the Bus Operator Compartment Program totaling approximately $1.6 million. Project proposals were evaluated based on criteria outlined in the Safety Research and Demonstration Program Notice of Funding Opportunity and the Bus Operator Compartment Program Notice of Funding Opportunity.