National Academies Press: OpenBook

Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline (2012)

Chapter: Chapter One - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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5 chapter one IntroductIon overvIew This synthesis addresses the current practices and experience of public transit agencies in applying both corrective actions and rewards to recognize, motivate, and reinforce a safety culture within their organizations. This synthesis project surveyed and interviewed a range of small to large transit agencies, including rural and urban multimodal systems. The survey and follow-up interviews addressed the following items: • Organizational commitment to safety • Rewards and discipline • Engagement of the work force • Partnerships with organized labor • Operations and maintenance • Agency safety standards and practices • Other industry examples. Methodology The approach to this synthesis included a literature review, a survey of transit agencies, and telephone interviews with transit agencies selected as case studies. A literature review was conducted with a focus on the cur- rent state of the practice in the use of rewards and discipline programs for bus operators in the public transit industry. This effort included an on-line search of the Transportation Research International Documentation (TRID) and other rel- evant databases (e.g., industry, university, and government sources). In addition, conference proceedings and trade mag- azines were reviewed to obtain relevant papers and presenta- tions. The results of the literature search are summarized and included in chapter two. The online survey “Improving Transit Safety through Rewards and Discipline” was designed to elicit information on each organization’s safety policies, safety discipline pro- grams and safety incentives and rewards programs. A tar- geted list of 30 North American transit agencies with active bus operator safety programs was identified based on rec- ommendations from TCRP panel members, trade organiza- tions such as APTA and the CTAA, and agencies identified in the literature review. Each of the selected transit agencies was sent an e-mail with a link to the online survey instru- ment; follow-up e-mails were sent approximately two weeks later. Twenty-five of the responses were substantially com- plete, a response rate of 83.3%. Based on the information obtained through the litera- ture review and survey results, telephone interviews were conducted with selected transit agencies and used as case examples. The case examples provide additional detail and insight on active and innovative practices and related issues on the use of reward and discipline programs to promote and improve bus transit safety. report organIzatIon This synthesis report is composed of five chapters, including the introduction provided in this chapter. Chapter two presents the findings of the literature review. This effort focused on reports and documents addressing the connection between the effectiveness of reward/discipline programs in transit organizations and employee safety per- formance and reward programs. Chapter three includes the results of an on-line survey of 30 U.S. and Canadian transit agencies identified as having active and innovative safety programs. The survey focused on collecting information on the organization’s commitment to safety, reward and discipline programs, and agency safety standards and practices. Chapter four provides findings of nine case examples highlighting those agencies that have active safety programs that successfully use employee rewards and discipline pro- grams to improve safety for bus operations. Chapter five includes a summary of lessons learned, pre- sents conclusions, and offers suggestions on future research. Appendix A is a copy of the survey as it appeared online. Appendix B provides a list of the transit agencies that par- ticipated in the survey.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 97: Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline addresses the practices and experiences of public transit agencies in applying both corrective actions and rewards to recognize, motivate, and reinforce a safety culture within their organizations.


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