NTSB Recommendation to the FTA

Number C-02-07
Dear Colleague:

In 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made Recommendation
R-02- 19 to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This recommendation urges FTA to
"require that new or rehabilitated vehicles funded by FTA grants be equipped with event data
recorders (EDRs) meeting Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard
1482.1." This standard covers on-board devices/systems, with crashworthy memory, that
record data to support accident/incident analysis for rail transit vehicles.

Since 2002, FTA, through its Regional Offices and Project Management Oversight Contractors,
has worked closely with heavy and light rail transit agencies around the Nation to encourage
the deployment of EDRs. I am pleased to announce that, based on a recent survey, 26 percent
of the nationwide rail transit vehicle fleet (almost 13,000 vehicles) now has these devices. In
addition, 51 percent of all rail transit vehicles rehabilitated since 2003 have been retrofitted to
include EDRs, and 77 percent of all new rail transit vehicles procured since 2003 have
included these devices. FTA is projecting that by 2012, more than 50 percent of the Nation's
rail transit fleet will be equipped with EDRs.

I would like to commend the rail transit industry on its considerable progress in addressing this
NTSB recommendation. Through our collective efforts, in just a few short years, rail transit
agencies now have more information available than ever before to support accident
investigations, to capture valuable performance data, to predict trends, and to proactively
address safety concerns.

FTA is committed to working with NTSB to ensure that 100 percent of the Nation's rail transit
fleet will eventually be equipped with EDRs. To meet this goal, I encourage each rail transit
agency that may be considering projects to procure new vehicles or to rehabilitate existing ones
to incorporate EDRs. Additional information on IEEE 14821.1 is available through the
American Public Transportation Association Rail Transit Standards Program. In addition, an
FTA publication entitled "Event Recorders for Rail Rapid Transit Systems" is available at:

Thank you again for your diligence in working with us to improve rail transit safety.

James S. Simpson