News & Publications

Rail Law Alert – Deadline for Comments on FTA Directive

FTA Seeking Comments on Stop Signal Overruns Directive

Addressing transit providers subject to State Safety Oversight under Federal Transit Administration (FTA) rules, the FTA issued a “last-call” today for comments on its proposed General Directive 17-1, which is intended to reduce the frequency of stop signal overruns in the rail transit industry. Comments must be submitted by March 20, 2017 to Docket No. FTA–2016–0041.

General Directive 17-1 requires rail transit agencies and State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOAs) to apply Safety Management System (SMS) principles to understand the significant risks of death, injury and property damage associated with stop signal overruns, establish mitigations to reduce the risks, and monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the mitigations. The Directive would also define “stop signal overruns” as “a revenue or non-revenue rail transit vehicle passing any signal displaying a visual aspect that indicates to an operator that a train does not have authority to proceed.” Additional summary information on the Directive is contained in the FTA’s one-page fact sheet.

Apart from its substantive import, it is important to note that General Directive 17-1 is the first directive issued by the FTA pursuant to the Public Transportation Safety Program authorized by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (“MAP-21”). Accordingly, transit properties subject to the FTA’s safety jurisdiction may wish to carefully review the proposed Directive and submit written comments to the FTA by March 20, 2017. Instructions for submitting comments are provided in the Federal Register Notice announcing the Directive.