Florida Transit Safety and Operations Summit – June 5, 2017

Download detailed agenda

Morning Sessions

Welcome and Introductions

Victor Wiley (FDOT) opened the Summit with a warm welcome to all present, expressing appreciation to the 119 attendees of the newly merged safety and operations networks. He encouraged the group to participate by sharing their thoughts and comments during the Summit. Stephen Berry (CUTR) gave an interesting observation on how workforce characteristics could be determined based upon where the audience is sitting. Stephen’s interpretation on the theme of the Summit was based on evolutions in transit, as the dynamics of the workforce are changing. The upcoming generation is expected to learn in 5 years, what the current workforce learned in 20 years. Steve showed numerous photos of bus design progression over the years, posing the question “Has your workforce advanced as fast as your technology?”

Rural and Paratransit Coordination Challenges and Opportunities
Presented by: Liz Peak, Ride Solutions and Mike Hayes, Nassau County COA

Liz Peak (The Ride Solution) addressed service diversification in rural areas. Rural agencies must deal with dirt roads (sometimes rainy, flooded dirt roads), low density (20 passengers per revenue mile is almost unheard of), long average trip lengths, and insufficient local funds. Scarce funding opportunities with matching funds are difficult to obtain for the rural agency. Putman is one of the poorest counties in the state of Florida. (Palatka is 40% poverty, 50% of the county’s roads are dirt, and transportation options are limited.) 30K/year is provided to support public transportation.

Rural agencies utilize diverse funding sources (state and federal grants, Medicaid, Med-Waiver, Human Service agencies) to keep costs down. They have joined forces with Greyhound Services, added vanpools, and express routes to accomplish this.

Partnerships have also become a way to provide service to the rural residents. An example is how Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and Baker County COA. Baker County made a deal with JTA to serve the remote (Baldwin) area with JTA providing the match to assist with the funding challenges. This arrangement costs less than when JTA was serving it on its own. Deviated flex route services are designed to meet paratransit trip demand patterns to allow for better regional connectivity. Rural must connect with the urbanized systems.

Mike Hays (Nassau County) spoke on behalf of the Rural Committee, and the 5310 Committee. Ironically, the chair of the committee (Ed Clark, SJCOA) was unable to be at the Summit as he was attending his grandmother’s 107 birthday celebration. Mike stated that 41 of Florida’s 67 counties are considered rural. Paratransit is the predominant mode of transportation in rural agencies, while fixed/flex routes are best suit for urban areas. Imagine the challenges of trying to coordinate the services not only for the rural community, but also having to coordinate with the neighboring urban agencies as well. Connectivity is critical, but there are rural areas with no communication towers available to have signals available to communicate. Diverse technologies, such as shared regional scheduling/CAD systems and open source multi-modal trip planning are utilized. Integrated technologies for Medicaid trip booking software and a regional fare collection system are coming soon, which will allow crossing county lines seamless.

Workforce Shortage versus Ideal Candidates
Presented by: Trish Collins, PSTA; Yailis Feliciano, HART; and Jim Egbert, MCAT

The examination of issues and trends encountered by public transit agencies include recruitment, hiring, training/professional development, retention, succession planning, wellness, and performance. A recent survey conducted by the committee indicated that the top challenges faced by agencies are recruiting operators (63%) and retaining operators (26%). With this in mind, it is a good idea to hire more than is actually needed when recognizing the retention rate. Best practices in 2017 will focus on advertising and image management (where are you finding the operators and how are they being driven to you, how is the agency image being portrayed), conducting interviews and assessments (who is in on the interviews, knowing the right questions to ask, should you focus on driving skill or customer service), onboarding for retention (how long are the recruits lasting), and headcount forecasting. The high turnover of first year operators is an industry-wide challenge. This committee plans to work with all agencies to build a body of knowledge and solutions that will be beneficial to all. Free and high rate of return projects are what are most desired moving forward.

Steve (CUTR) noted that we tend to hire for resume and fire for behavior. If you do not assemble the right team, the agency will not be successful. Lorna Hall (LYNX) added that in private industry there is talk about the soft skills as well. This committee will work to find root causes and holistic solutions for workforce sustainability through information gathering and pilot implementations with measurement.

Transportation Security Administration – Security Incidents, Trends, and Best Practices
Presented by: TSA Orlando Surface Team

The TSA Orlando Surface team gave a snapshot of security-related transit incidents over the past 12 months, and a basic intelligence summary of recent trends and events (domestic and overseas). The importance of having an emergency action plan was stressed, stating safety and security go hand-in-hand. No detail is too small, and they do add up. Always connect the dots! If you see something, say something. Transit agency risk and security personnel should know their local TSA Field Intelligence Officer (FIO).

We need to be prepared with CSR – common sense rules. Safety training is just as important as security training. It is important to have an emergency action plan, practice it, and update it. There have been 12 incidents in Florida this year. Know your surroundings, look for exits in every establishment you enter, and always know an alternate way out of the environment. Overseas is a training ground for terrorist tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Florida ranks 3rd in the nation for security breaches, tied fifth in the nation for suspicious items, and sixth in the nation for tampering. There is financial and materials support to ISIS coming from Florida, twelve cases are in Tampa. It was noted that HVEs (homegrown violent extremists) are more difficult to detect than foreign terrorists. There are more than 40 homegrown jihadist cases in 20 states within the U.S. Insider threats are people who have inside knowledge, and access to information, which used for gain.

A new concern is the increase of simplified attacks (vehicle ramming) which are difficult to monitor. Knife attacks have also increased. Magazines are published with instruction on the style of knife to acquire, and how to inflict the most damage when attacking the targeted victim. They are current, ongoing trials for numerous accused terrorists. TSA has found videos (YouTube, etc.) of emergency response teams/agencies practicing and preparing for potential terrorist attacks. Fake attacks are being conducted to learn of our response practices. They are using our best practices of emergency response to train the lone wolves. We must change our habits as we are being observed, and details of our responsive actions are studied. A baseline assessment for security enhancement (BASE) has been created by the TSA. This assessment is conducted onsite by the TSA at the agency on a voluntary basis to help the agency earn of their strengths and weaknesses. The TSA encourages everyone to have an emergency action plan (EAP), it is important to have it prior to when you need it. Components of an EAP include the HR department, training department, facility owners/operators, property manager, and local law enforcement/emergency enforcers. It is too late to practice once an emergency is occurring. How would you react when the officers arrive? The first Observer Plus, will put together a training seminar. You should always think about an emergency action plan and think about how you will get out if an emergency occurs. Resources pf the National Terrorism Advisory System were provided to the group.

Afternoon Sessions

Pierce Transit – FTA Safety Research Demonstration Project – Mobileye© Collision Avoidance Technology and DSC Technologies Automated Braking System
Presented by: Chris DeVoll, Washington State Transit Insurance Pool

Washington State Transit Insurance Pool insures all transit agencies in Washington State with the exception of King County Metro. Chris spoke about collision avoidance technology. During a pilot program, eight transit systems participated in a three-month pilot program with WSTIP as a sponsor. Thirty-eight coaches were retrofitted with the technology to test collision avoidance systems. This system included cameras, software, and warning devices, with the intended purpose of the system alerting the operator of danger of a collision with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian so the operator can take measures necessary to avoid the collision. The recorded data and video segments was analyzed and evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the program.

Telematics was essential to this product. Enormous amounts of data were captured, which takes a great deal of time to analyze. With this in mind, WSTIP focused on the most costly events. Sudden stops and pedestrian collisions accounted for 95% of claims. Four out of five scenarios presented could have been prevented by collision avoidance technology with an estimated $18 Million in savings. It was determined the ease of retrofit of the existing fleet.

Mobileye© is the top provider of this technology. Level 2 automation was implemented. The potential impact for transit claims reduction was determined through adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring for vehicles and pedestrians, driver fatigue and attentiveness monitoring, lane keeping assistance, obstacle detection and avoidance, and rear-collision warning mitigation. In the 3-month pilot, there were 352,000 operating miles with almost 24,000 operating hours, and 250 driver surveys returned.

CAS does not record video so other technology and cameras are used to record video of events. Additional technology is used to generate data that can be used to evaluate the systems’ effectiveness. Pierce Transit receives $1.66 million grant from Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to install bus safety technology. Lessons learned from this program demonstrate collision avoidance technology is not a substitute for defensive driver training. We need to take time to explain to operators what to expect and what is needed when piloting or first using the collision avoidance system. Ultimately, it keeps everyone in the communication loop from the beginning (Vendor, Maintenance, Operators, Safety and Training, Procurement), providing timelines, and sharing data with all stakeholders once pilot is completed.

PSTA Accident and Incident Management System (AIMS)
Presented by: Mike Gloss, Eddie Kester, and Pedro Galvez, PSTA

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has created an in-house database for tracking accidents and incidents called A.I.M.S. This database is capable of quickly creating reports by date, employee, vehicle ID, day of week, and type of incident. It includes the Latitude and Longitude of incidents enabling mapping of collisions by desired input. These maps include collisions by type of collision, time of day, day of week, bus operator, NTD reportable, route, and much more. The reports are designed to be converted into charts and graphs for further analysis. A.I.M.S. influences decision making on items such as bus stop location recommendations, route changes, refresher training, and awareness campaign efforts. It is useful for coordinating/planning outside of the organization for road projects and Emergency Management.

Utilizing this database to export incident data into more workable formats allows the data to be expressed in more convenient and readily understood ways, offering more insight than spreadsheet after spreadsheet and “walls of text.” It has made the tedious, messy job of deciphering data into more useable and beneficial information.

FTSON Priority Highlights

Performance Measures – Establishing, Tracking, Measuring
Presented by: Karen Roland, SCAT and Thomas Stringer, LYNX

One of the priorities of the FTSON is to establish, track, and measure transit performance for comprehensive management analysis in public transportation to support Florida transit agencies in providing safe, efficient transportation and help agencies to make business decisions based on factual and comparative information. It would allow for training that could improve internal performance management programs.

The expected outcomes of performance measures would assist in providing metric data to governing agencies such as TAM measures, and assist promote looking at the entire business including organizational management, services provided, human resource management, financial, customer satisfaction and operational management. Agencies could highlight and celebrate best practices that are validated by successful data outcomes, provide access to data repository, or process repository to assist Florida transit agencies in successful data management.

Looking at performance of unfavorable data, funding issues, lack of training, inaccurate implementation, lack of available resources, useful life, and lack of commitment can be scary, but the Performance Measures team of highly trained performance management members is committed to working with each agency to address individual and global issues and concerns.

The team is dedicated to being an educational, guiding resource that can assist agencies in removing barriers to reach ultimate goals. They will provide Florida transit agencies the tools to achieve the highest level of competencies by utilizing real statistical results. The motto of the team is “What gets measured gets done.”

Keith Clinkscale (PalmTran) shared that he uses his training as a Six Sigma for process improvement utilizing a scorecard for fixed route and paratransit with a cross-functional teams, which forces people to work together. Colin Mulloy (HART) added that SMS addresses safety assurance, and being able to work with other agencies will help the plan. When a senior leadership, you have to show the investment is worthy when you are requesting funding. Karen Roland (SCAT) said it helped to gather the necessary data.

Emergency Management and Evacuation
Presented by: Jim Egbert, MCAT and Roberta Yegidis, CUTR

The purpose of the Emergency Management and Evacuation team is to coordinate with FDOT in emergency management process and coordination activities relative to public transportation services, share best practices, and FDOT supported recommend processes and procedures to improve overall communication and coordination.

All agencies should create a list of all personnel who will respond during emergencies, and an inventory list of all assets. The list of vehicles should include school buses and other providers. Operators should be trained to allow ALL animals, as long as they are controlled, on the bus. They need to assist everyone, to get as many individuals as possible on each vehicle, and prioritize the appropriate vehicles per location.

During an emergency, agencies must coordinate with internal and EXTERNAL customers. Maintenance and Customer Service is needed for 24-hour support, and Planning must be working to develop route deviations on the fly.

Some issues to consider are guaranteeing employee’s families will be cared for, rest areas for employees being relieved, Food and supplies for employees, re‐fueling during the emergency, disposable maintenance supplies (windshield wipers), and mapping out high need areas (homeless shelters, Salvation Army, nursing homes, hospitals, and first to flood zones).

This committee is also asking for additional volunteers.

FTSON Initiatives for the Coming Year

  • Emerging Training Needs and Trends
  • Tools and Resources of the Florida Transit Safety and Operations Network Training
  • Technical assistance and peer-to-peer support
  • Other Resources

During the upcoming year, the FTSON will be focusing on emerging training needs and trends, enhancing the tools and resources of the Florida Transit Safety and Operations Network for training, technical assistance and peer-to-peer support to Florida’s transit community.

Closing Session

  • Observations from Summit Guests
  • Offerings at Safety and Operations at PDW

The floor was opened for comments and observations from Summit guests during the closing session. Attendees were reminded of the opportunities available at the FPAT/FDOT/CUTR Professional Development Workshop beginning tomorrow, June 6-7, 2017. The meeting was concluded at 4:15pm.