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: http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/publications/safety/EventRecorders/HTML/FTA-VA-26- 7004-98-1.htm

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

James S. Simpson