Safety Management Systems

Presentation from the 40th Annual FPTA Conference

Tuesday, October 28, 204 at 10:00 am


FTA has established and will enforce Safety Management Systems (SMS) as its new safety regulatory framework. With a focus on safety policy, formal hazard identification methods, continuous safety risk assessment, effective safety reporting systems, and targeted safety training, SMS provides the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies, and procedures to optimally manage safety.

The SMS structure is based on four functional components for improved organization-wide safety performance: safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion. Put simply, the goal of SMS is to ensure that public transit agencies have a strategic decision-making process to proactively identify, prioritize, and control emerging safety risks before those risks become critical system failures.

This session will discuss FTA’s Safety Management Systems (SMS) approach to transit system safety including the four functional components and will include examples of how FTA’s safety management systems framework is reflected in current transit agency best practices and how it can naturally be incorporated into the safety culture of a transit agency.   The session will also include a brief discussion of FDOT’s transit bus system safety review process to help agencies prepare for those reviews.


  • Familiarize participants with FTA’s Safety Management System Framework
  • Define the SMS components and discuss
  • Discuss the way in which SMS can be reflected in public transit agencies
  • Discuss the importance of ongoing comprehensive risk assessment, response, mitigation, evaluation, and modification
  • Present the mature SMS model

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