There was a clear focus at last week’s APTA Annual Meeting on improving transit operations, enhancing safety and efficiency safety and efficiency, and embracing technologies that can help drive all of us forward. Front and center was SMS.
Safety Management Systems (SMS) is a government-based system that will soon be mandated by the Federal Transit Association. It is a comprehensive, collaborative approach that brings management and labor together to build on the transit industry’s existing safety foundation to control risk better, detect and correct safety problems earlier, share and analyze safety data more effectively, and measure safety performance more carefully. According to Todd Cheever of NICE Bus, a Transdev property, “It’s a behavioral-based system that has accountability for every aspect.”
The four pillars of the program – Safety Policy, Safety Risk Management, Safety Assurance and Safety Promotion – are key to ensuring a safe fleet.
- Safety Policy is the foundation of the organization’s safety management system. It states the organization’s safety objectives and sets forth policies, procedures and organizational structures necessary to accomplish the objectives; defines management and employee responsibilities for safety throughout the organization; and ensures management is engaged in the oversight of safety performance.
- The second component, Safety Risk Management, requires development of processes and procedures to identify safety hazards associated with the organization’s systems. Once identified, procedures must be developed to analyze and assess the risk resulting from these hazards, as well as to institute controls to reduce or eliminate risks from these hazards.
- The third component, Safety Assurance, ensures the performance and effectiveness of safety risk controls. It ensures the organization meets or exceeds its safety objectives through the collection, analysis, and assessment of data regarding the organization’s performance, and includes inspection activities to support oversight and performance monitoring.
- The fourth component is Safety Promotion, which requires a combination of training and communication of safety information to employees to enhance safety performance. It may include formal safety training for employees, a formal means of communicating safety information, and a means for employees to raise safety concerns without fear of retribution.
One fleet that’s ensuring SMS compliance is RATP Dev USA, through its drive2zero™ safety management system. RATP Dev USA provides transportation services to the public, helping transit agencies across the US transport passengers throughout their communities for over 45 years. In North America, RATP Dev employs over 6,000 team members transporting more than 78 million passengers in 14 states and operates a wide range of services.
RATP Dev’s drive2zero is aimed at increasing safety culture among agencies in the transit industry using a multifaceted approach, including live video recordings of the fleet. As drive2zero is implemented at RATP Dev agencies across the US, SmartDrive technology captures real-time footage that is recorded and stored to analyze driver behavior as part of training programs – in non-emergency situations or used to display the undisputable facts – in the event of an incident. “SmartDrive is a tool to measure driving behaviors of our operators so we can have an opportunity to coach,” commented Mike Anderson, vice president, safety and security at RATP Dev USA.
“There was an instance where an operator was apparently in a hurry and went through a cross walk without yielding to a pedestrian. At first I think there was a little defensiveness ‘it’s the area, it’s the university, I don’t know why they don’t look’. But we sat down and had a conversation and showed the video of where the pedestrian steps out into the crosswalk and talked about what could have happened if the operator hadn’t stopped. The defensiveness dropped,” explained Anderson. “That’s what we’re trying to do, it’s a proactive way of addressing those behaviors and actions of those operators.”
“If you think about the old saying ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’- well video is even better”, says Patrick Manley, Regional Director of Safety and Security at RATP Dev USA, “It really is the whole truth.”