MBTA prioritises safety with new three year improvement plan

Posted: 5 April 2023 | | No comments yet

MBTA’s 3-Year Safety Improvement Plan focuses on enhancing safety culture, featuring initiatives for all transportation modes, mandated requirements from federal transit authorities and yearly progress assessment.

MBTA safety plan

Credit: MBTA

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has announced the release of its 3-Year Safety Improvement Plan, a forward-looking document in line with MBTA’s commitment to strengthen its safety culture through continuous improvement. 

The 3-Year Safety Improvement Plan is centred on four categories:

  • Workforce
  • Data, system and communications
  • Rules, policies and procedures
  • Quality management.

In each category and across all MBTA transport modes, the plan lays out a series of objectives that will result in improved service while prioritising the safety of MBTA customers, employees and contractors at all times. 

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MBTA’s 3-Year Safety Improvement Plan embodies a multitude of mandated requirements from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). It contains an overview of the relevant state and federal regulatory authorities, required safety plans, a description of each transit mode, safety objectives for the next three years and the safety performance targets for each transportation mode. This document also includes an overview of FTA’s Safety Management Inspection (SMI), related Special Directives and MBTA’s targets for achieving compliance with the directives. 

This Safety Improvement Plan is in addition to FTA’s Safety Management Inspection report that had been produced in 2022. That process involved a review of operations, training, vehicle maintenance, signals, train control and track access among other items. As a result, FTA had issued eight special directives; in response, MBTA had developed 38 corrective action plans and 545 action items that detail how it intends to address each special directive. As of February 2023, the agency has completed 36% of the total action items with the expectation for 100% completion by the end of 2025.

The Safety Improvement Plan will be updated annually following an assessment of the progress that is made based on measurable objectives within the plan. That assessment will include a variety of factors, including a summary of injuries and associated trends, an analysis of financial and human resources needed to continue progress and recommendations to maintain focus on the plan’s objectives.