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Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline (2012)

Chapter: Chapter Four - Case Examples

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Four - Case Examples." 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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27 chapter four Case examples The literature review and survey results provided a wealth of detailed information on the core issues related to bus operator safety programs. Following the review and analysis of this information, transit agencies were selected as case example sites. The case examples are intended to provide additional detail and insight on active and innovative practices and related issues on the use of reward and discipline to promote transit safety. The nine case example agencies included (see Figure 22): • Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas, Texas • Fayetteville Area System of Transit (FAST), Fayetteville, North Carolina • GO Transit, Ontario, Canada • King County Metro (KC Metro), Seattle, Washington • Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA), Twin Cities Area, Minnesota • River Cities Public Transit, Pierre, South Dakota • SouthWest Transit, Eden Prairie, Minnesota • Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Salt Lake City, Utah • Wind River Transportation Authority (WRTA), Riverton, Wyoming Dallas area rapiD TransiT, Dallas, Texas agency Description Founded in 1983, DART transit agency serves the city of Dallas, Texas, and extends into 12 nearby suburbs. The ser- vices provided by DART include bus, light rail, commuter rail, and paratransit services. Daily ridership nears 250,000 passenger trips. The bus system is comprised of an active fleet of 674 vehicles operating 113 routes out of three geo- graphically dispersed divisions. DART employs more than 1,100 bus operators. Organizational approach to safety DART’s mission statement includes the phrase, “. . . to build, establish, and operate a safe, efficient, and effective transpor- tation system . . .” The statement is displayed throughout the organization. A comprehensive SSPP covers the components of safety and assigns accountability and responsibilities. A bus safety committee comprised of labor and management representa- tives meets monthly to plan responses to current safety issues. Recently, DART implemented a series of initiatives to engage front-line employees in the goals of the organization through three primary methods: • The safety and training department, through safety meet- ings, attempts to enhance the communication with and between operators and supervisors. • DART has implemented performance incentive programs (with both team and individual reward components). • Management has designed a better process for hazard identification and resolution though interactive com- munication with employees. Until recently, DART held paid bi-monthly, mandatory, one-hour safety meetings with operators. Attendance was exceptional, ranging from 92% to 96%. The meetings were held three different times during the day at all three divisions in order to accommodate drivers’ schedules. Funding cuts have caused the frequency of those meeting to be reduced from bi-monthly to quarterly. agency Disciplinary practices DART employees participate in a progressive discipline pro- gram that is administered by management. Discipline steps include verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension and termination. The procedures are “endorsed” by the local Amalgamated Transit Union during a process called “meet and confer” where both labor and management come to the table with their proposals for changes and attempt to work toward agreement. This process is different than collective bargaining, as Texas is a right-to-work state. agency incentive/rewards program Through DART’s Employee Performance Incentive Program, operating divisions compete to achieve goals for on-time per- formance, late pull-outs, unscheduled absences, complaints, ridership, cost-per-mile an hour, and accidents per 100,000 miles. The winning division receives recognition each quar- ter, including a catered lunch. Additionally, individuals can qualify for bonuses if they do not have any safety infractions,

28 preventable accidents, or corrective/disciplinary actions dur- ing the quarter. Within each division, problem-solving teams comprised of front-line hourly employees, salaried super- visors, and management staff members develop strategies to improve divisional performance. summary Front-line employee communication and engagement has been identified as critical elements of the DART quality improve- ment effort, including efforts directed to improve bus safety. As detailed previously, DART has implemented a series of interrelated programs and initiatives that target these elements. As a result of these initiatives, DART reports a reduction in vehicle collisions of nearly 10%, an almost 16% reduction in passenger accidents, and a significant improvement in pas- senger perception of safety. FayeTTeville area sysTem OF TransiT, FayeTTeville, nOrTh CarOlina agency Description FAST operates in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and provides services within the Fayetteville city limits. The system is characterized as urban with one million annual riders and pro- vides both fixed-route and ADA-complimentary paratransit services. FAST is a non-unionized shop (see Table 4). Organizational approach to safety FAST’s priority is safety. Since 2008, it has had a dedicated safety and training coordinator who is involved in all areas of the organization’s safety program. Its mission statement includes specific language addressing the organization’s cul- ture towards safety and security, and this mission statement serves as the organization’s backbone. Although FAST has a recently developed new-hire train- ing program that directly addresses safety in all elements of training, the monthly safety training meetings are central to the organization’s commitment to safety. Each month, the safety and training coordinator and the superintendent of operations hold mandatory safety training meetings. These meetings, attended by all of FAST’s opera- tors, offer employees the opportunity to learn more about the organization’s safety status and policies, and to receive train- ing. The agency offers the meetings three times on the desig- nated day to allow employees to plan attendance around their work schedules. By allowing operators multiple meeting times, the agency helps its employees avoid safety-related fatigue issues. Issues discussed in the monthly safety meetings include elevated safety concerns, a review of near misses, possible bus route redesigns, customer complaint reviews, compli- ance items, and review of any new policies. The agency has observed that their operators want to know more about how and why the company adopts policies and procedures. They FIGURE 22 Location of case examples.

29 also benefit from general information-sharing: learning more about the agency’s safety data, updates internal to the agency, and general information about the industry. This open forum helps satisfy the needs of the operators to feel connected to the organization and to feel as though information is being funneled to them in a timely manner. One of the more important aspects of the meetings is that operators are provided the opportunity to sound off about issues, problems, and concerns. The agency firmly believes that by keeping an open line of communication with their employees about the issues and concerns they confront on the road, and addressing those issues and concerns immediately, they effectively acknowledge and validate their employees. The agency’s ability to use the employees’ input has resulted in many changes in the organization, such as route modifica- tions that help improve and maintain safety. It is important to note that lunch or dinner were regu- larly provided at FAST’s monthly safety meeting; however, because of city budget cuts, this practice has ceased. agency Disciplinary practices FAST practices a very traditional approach to progressive discipline as it relates to accidents. Within a three-year period, an operator’s first offense results in a one-day sus- pension; the second offense results in a three-day suspen- sion; and, a third offense is grounds for termination. How- ever, if an operator is guilty of gross negligence or violates an organizational policy (such as using a cell phone while driving), the driver may be dismissed. agency incentive/rewards program FAST currently does not have any individual or group rewards or incentives related to safety performance. The reasons cited were the limited budget and the possibility of initiat- ing a department-oriented incentive program that would be inconsistent with other city departments. summary FAST is clearly vested in its employees. The employees play active roles in understanding and instituting safety throughout the organization. The agency actively seeks input from its employees and responds to input (suggestions and concerns) immediately. In addition, employees are publicly recognized at the agency’s monthly safety meetings for reporting safety concerns or suggestions and for “outstanding customer service.” Although the agency’s policy on discipline is progres- sive, its vision is to one day have enough funding and sup- port to proactively change employees’ safety behaviors through progressive rewards. From its perspective, motivat- ing employees to follow policies rather than just expecting them to and punishing them for not doing so, will dramati- cally affect the culture of the organization and thus improve safety. FAST has researched other industries (such as freight delivery) that have employed this philosophy and have deter- mined that reward-based and behavior-based proactive safety programs yield even higher safety program effectiveness. 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Miles Driven 1,142,948 1,076,749 1,201,983 1,137,493 1,151,919 Passengers 1,336,156 954,977 985,341 1,060,756 1,287,047 No. of Passenger/Driver Injuries Requiring Immediate Medical Attention No data No data 3/0 13/ 0 13/ 0 No. of Chargeable Accidents with over $2,500 Dam age No data 8 3 1 1 Accidents per 100,000 Miles 1.89 1.68 1.39 0.76 0.83 Cost of Chargeable Accidents No data $35,350.00 $30,178.00 $10,445.00 $9,050.00 Vehicle Breakdowns/Miles Between Events No data No data No data 40/ 24,083 41/ 24,505 Num ber of Work-Related Injuries Reported (lost time) 1 1 2 0 2 TABLE 4 FAyETTEVILLE TRANSIT STATISTICS

30 GO TransiT, sOuThern OnTariO, CanaDa agency Description GO Transit is a regional public transit system in southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, providing more than 57 million passengers trips a year by means of 70 locomotives, 495 commuter rail cars, and 359 buses. GO Transit runs 180 train trips and 2,075 bus trips daily, carrying 217,000 passengers on a typi- cal weekday (180,000 on the trains and 37,000 by bus). A unionized organization, GO Transit exists as a division of the provincial crown agency Metrolinx. Metrolinx is governed by a board of appointees of the province. Organizational approach to safety GO Transit has both internal mission statements that extend to “charters” with passengers, as well as focused mission state- ments that apply to individual business units within the orga- nization. Both are posted throughout the organization. Safety is an essential component of all of the statements. A compre- hensive SSPP targets safety issues, defines roles, and assigns responsibilities for safety. Input to the SSPP is gathered from all organizational work partners, and adherence is monitored through individual work units. Labor and management both manage the safety program process through committee. Safety is a primary topic of new operator training, a sys- tematic three-year recurring training program and remedial training, and special training can be assigned after observed safety breaches. Recent changes in the organizational approach to safety appear to have contributed to a nearly 12% decrease in the number of all types of collisions per million kilometers trav- elled. With a stated goal of changing behaviors, GO Tran- sit shared responsibility with supervisors, as administrators of discipline, to a system whereby the safety and training department was involved. This change is believed to have resulted in a level of continuity that did not exist before, pri- marily in the conveyance of expectations to operators. agency Disciplinary practices Both the maintenance and transportation departments partici- pate in a progressive discipline program jointly administered by labor and management. Roles are spelled out in the collec- tive bargaining agreement. Progressive discipline steps include verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension, and termination. agency incentive/rewards program Also recently implemented were incentive-type safety pro- gram elements that incorporated competition between divi- sions and increased discussion and awareness of safety issues. Rewards are administered five times per year in con- junction with regular operational “markup” or “picks.” This newly revised reward program replaced a program that had previously been in effect and unchanged since 1992. summary Contributing factors to improved safety at GO Transit have been identified as good labor/management relations; continuity in the administration of discipline, including the active involve- ment of the safety and training departments; supportive manag- ers; superior interdepartmental communications; a comfortable organizational culture; good equipment; and the quality of pas- senger behavior, most of whom are regular commuters. KinG COunTy meTrO, seaTTle, WashinGTOn agency Description KC Metro Transit is located in Seattle, Washington, which borders the northern edge of Seattle. KC Metro serves greater King County and downtown Seattle. The system is charac- terized as urban, suburban, and rural, providing fixed-route, paratransit, light rail/streetcar, and bus rapid transit to its 112,000,000 annual passengers. KC Metro is county-operated and has a unionized shop, with the exception of executive administrators and “executive at will personnel” (see Table 5). Organizational approach to safety KC Metro’s safety program describes the policies, procedures, and requirements to be followed by management, maintenance, and operating personnel to provide a safe environment for agency employees (and volunteers) and the general public. All personnel are expected and required to adhere to the policies, procedures, and requirements and to properly and diligently perform safety-related functions as a condition of employment. The agency has a sincere concern for the welfare and safety of its employees (and volunteers) as well as the public it serves. The goal of its safety program is to eliminate the suffering and costs of avoidable personal injury and vehicle accidents. All agency employees and volunteers are expected to promote accident prevention by actively supporting the safety program. As a provider of various public transportation services, Metro’s foremost concern is that safe operations precede all other performance criteria. All vehicles, machines, and activ- ities are operated or performed in a manner that reflects the highest regard for safety to the public, the employees, and the property of their citizens and organization. In the operation of fleet vehicles, every courtesy and consideration is given to other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians with whom they share the streets and highways.

31 KC Metro’s philosophy emphasizes the “three S’s”— safety, service, and security, with each department respon- sible for administering and monitoring one or two of the three S’s. However, every department coordinates with the safety department regardless of its primary function or pur- pose. KC Metro’s dedicated base safety officers are assigned to one of seven operating bases as well as LINK Light Rail (1.5 safety officers for light rail). Base supervisors work with base chiefs to manage operators with general ratios of 100 to 125 operators per chief. Base safety officers meet regularly to discuss safety-related issues and updates. They also address Washington Industry Safety and Health Administration reviews of occupational injuries at each base, review green (incident) cards, and hold round-table discussions to address general issues. Base safety officers also work cooperatively with neigh- boring transit systems (Sound Transit, Snohomish County and Pierce County) to form the Transit Integration Group. The purpose of this group is to collectively explore how each separate entity can potentially improve operations- related safety. KC Metro also incorporates the use of a Safety Awareness Team, an appointed group of transit operators who use a tool- box of field trips, posters, and/or activities to promote safety awareness with their peer group. Current budget issues have limited the scope of KC Metro’s team, but historically it had one planning meeting and one general meeting each quarter, depending on budget and safety-related issues. agency Disciplinary practices All personnel driving KC Metro vehicles (revenue or non- revenue) are subject to an accident review, and all prevent- able events are evaluated using a point system. Prevent- able accidents are assessed as minor, major, or severe, with points of 5, 7, and 25 assigned accordingly. Discipline is based on a matrix of points aggregated over a rolling four- year calendar with 25 points in one year as the threshold for dismissal. All preventable accidents are eligible to be reviewed at the request of the operator (within five days of counseling) for a “reread.” If the original verdict stands, the employee can file an appeal with the Accident Review Board. The board is the final step in the appeal process, unless there is a tie vote; tie votes are submitted to the National Safety Council. KC Metro’s dis- cipline process for preventable accidents is designed to be a positive/progressive one that assumes skill levels need to be addressed and enhanced. In the event an operator experiences a second retraining (following a fourth minor accident in one year), he/she will receive a three-day suspension. Operators who drive 12 months without incident after their last prevent- able accident will earn three points to reduce their accident point accumulation; this continues each successive year until they achieve zero points. Other performance issues that are safety-related are treated as two-, three-, and five-point infractions. Operators on proba- tion have their performance and preventable accident record on a single ledger, with a cap of 15 points for purposes of determining continued status. Once a new hire has completed probation, these two elements are separated and are assessed independently. agency incentive/rewards program KC Metro has been utilizing the National Safety Council’s reward/incentive program for more than 40 years. Transit oper- ators receive a recognition award for each successful year of 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Miles Driven 46,347,313 47,683,415 48,017,143 48,755,920 48,398,159 Passengers 102,893,053 110,185,406 118,042,666 111,067,940 108,850,926 No. of Chargeable Accidents with over $2,500 Dam age 15 17 23 25 24 Accidents per 100,000 Miles 4.62 4.31 3.65 3.25 3.04 Vehicle Breakdowns/Miles Between Events 4,576 5,220 5,568 5,631 5,391 Num ber of Work - Related Injuries Reported (lost time) 447 386 415 431 381 TABLE 5 KC METRO TRANSIT STATISTICS

32 safe driving, supplemented by the agency’s incentive reward, which features special recognition levels. • Three years—belt buckle • Five years—plaque • Ten years—watch • Fifteen years—jacket or plaque • Twenty years—ring • Twenty-five years—jacket or plaque • Thirty years—mantel clock • Thirty-five years—brass-etched book plaque with the driver’s image and recognition statement • Forty to forty-five years—VCR, camcorder, etc. KC Metro recognizes its operators quarterly, and a list of awardees is displayed at the agency’s main base. The agency’s general manager personally presents safety rewards to those operators who receive 40-plus-year rewards. summary KC Metro’s safety goal is the elimination of all accidents and injuries. KC Metro expects all of its employees to conduct themselves appropriately and be guided by the criteria and standards set forth in their policy statement. Employees are encouraged to work in harmony and actively support the safety policy with the goal of making KC Metro the safest public transportation organization in the country. KC Metro has been very satisfied with the incorporation of the National Safety Council’s reward program and plans to use it for many years. The reward program, in tandem with active safety awareness teams, regular base safety officer’s meetings, and a dedicated safety program help KC Metro meet its orga- nization’s mission to eliminate the suffering and cost of avoid- able personal injury and vehicle accidents, and to provide safe working conditions for all employees and volunteers. minnesOTa valley TransiT auThOriTy, TWin CiTies area, minnesOTa agency Description MVTA was founded in 1990 as a Joint Powers Authority of the cities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount, and Savage, Minnesota (the southern suburban Twin Cities area). Providing more than 2 million passenger trips a year, MVTA utilizes 118 buses that operate from two garages. An eight-member board of directors from five cities and two counties oversees an executive director who is sup- ported by 11 staff members. These staff members oversee a private contractor that provides both fixed-route and ADA paratransit service. The contract with the service provider contains detailed performance expectations that were devel- oped and continually modified before each contract rebid. Organizational approach to safety MVTA’s operations motto is “safety is number one.” The orga- nization has focused on building camaraderie among operators to promote an improved safety culture. A mission statement incorporates the promotion of a safe and secure environment for public transit riders, workers, and the public at large. MVTA has a designated safety officer that oversees the safety program and a safety committee consisting of the safety officer, lead trainer, transit supervisors, and managers that addresses all safety-related incidents. The safety committee handles discipline and follow-up; the contractor is subject to fines on a monthly basis for unsafe acts, and receives incentives when performance exceeds standards. Those standards have recently been expanded to include fleet maintenance in addition to late and missed trips. Current safety standings for contractors with regard to target standards are posted on bulletin boards at the garages and discussed at driver meetings. Recent advances in safety performance began with an analy- sis of accidents that revealed that the majority of safety-related incidents occurred within three months following new operator training. The agency established a goal of a 20% reduction in those accidents within two years. Among the safety improvement strategies implemented at MVTA was an extension of the training period from 62 to 70 hours, depending on prior experience, to 96 hours regard- less of prior experience. Other strategies included an enhanced behind-the-wheel period, the inclusion of a five-day “cadet- ting” period, final certification by the lead trainer, appointment of a safety officer to oversee the safety program, and the cre- ation of a safety committee to review incidents and take cor- rective action. The new-hire criteria for operators were also made more stringent with regard to prior moving violations and accidents. Operators who have more than one prevent- able accident or moving violation in a 12-month period are removed from service. In addition to contract penalties and incentives that are applied collectively to operators, individual awards and rec- ognitions are presented to operators who consistently display safe behavior. Even though miles driven and number of trips increased from 2007 to 2009, these enhancements, particularly the penalty/incentive component for performance, have helped reduce safety-related incidents by 30% since implementation. agency Disciplinary practices MVTA’s progressive discipline program is handled by a safety committee. Progressive discipline steps include verbal warn- ings, written warnings, suspension, and termination.

33 agency incentive/rewards program MVTA reviews incidents in three categories on a monthly basis—driver complaints (including safety-related incidents), missed trips, and fleet maintenance. Based on the number of substantial incidents, performance is rated “superior,” “accept- able,” or “non-acceptable.” Incentives are given for “accept- able” and “superior” and penalties are imposed for “non- acceptable” service. This program was developed in 2003 with operator input. Additionally, safety awards are presented to operators who consistently display safe behavior. Two operators from this pool are selected as “Operators of the year” and are hon- ored at an awards ceremony and banquet. summary MVTA has developed a safety-focused culture through a comprehensive safety program that requires employees to put safety first. river CiTies publiC TransiT, pierre, sOuTh DaKOTa agency Description River Cities Public Transit is a private, nonprofit agency pro- viding transportation services to individuals with disabilities, senior citizens, low-income residents, and the general public in 11 counties in central South Dakota. Service is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to the service area of 30,000 residents. River Cities Public Transit currently provides 320,000 annual one-way trips. River Cites Public Transit coordinates transportation for numerous community agencies and businesses, is a Medicaid- licensed transportation provider, serves two Native American reservations, and provides a variety of other services. Organizational approach to safety River Cities Public Transit puts a priority on safety. It is addressed in the organization’s mission statement and is one of the system’s seven core values: “Practice safety in all work activities.” All new bus operators are trained with the CTAA Passen- ger Service and Safety module. Additional training focuses on defensive driving identifying potential abuse and neglect of passengers. All new hires ride for two weeks with senior lead drivers and are observed during their first week of driving on their own. River Cities Public Transit also uses the Dakota Transit Association (i.e., North and South Dakota) for training and professional development opportunities. For the past two years, the agency has employed consul- tant services two days per month whose sole concern is the safety program. agency Disciplinary practices River Cities Public Transit uses an accident review committee to review all accidents and incidents and to make a determina- tion as to whether the event was preventable. Bus operators are represented on the committee. In the past year, River Cities Public Transit has imple- mented a cash penalty for any bus operator charged with a preventable accident. The fine is $250 if the bus operator promptly reports the event to management, and $500 if not. agency incentive/rewards program Working with the safety consultant, the agency has created a committee for the purpose of recommending employee recognition programs. Currently, River Cities Public Transit does not have any employee recognition programs with the exception of a Driver of the year award. summary As shown by the inclusion of safety in its mission statement and core values, River Cities Public Transit places a priority on safety. The agency is working progressively to develop a strong safety program, including a process to address both rewards and corrective actions. sOuThWesT TransiT, eDen prairie, minnesOTa agency Description SouthWest Transit is located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The system is suburban and provides fixed-route service to communities southwest of Minneapolis. Its annual ridership is approximately one million. SouthWest Transit is operated under a joint powers agreement (public agency) with pri- vately contracted transit operators (drivers) and street opera- tions management staff (First Transit). SouthWest Transit’s transit drivers are unionized (see Table 6). Organizational approach to safety SouthWest Transit’s commitment to safety, security, and agency performance emphasizes as the overriding objective in the agency’s strategic plan, to “Provide reliable, safe, comfort- able, and customer friendly service.”

34 Within this objective are key metrics that are reviewed and discussed at each monthly management meeting. These metrics include: • Achieving a chargeable accident rate at less than 0.75 per 100,000 miles driven, • Having no more than one employee injury resulting in lost time for the year, • Maintaining an on-time performance record of 99% or better, • Maintaining the vehicle in service breakdown rate at or better than 1 per 25,000 miles operated, and • Maintaining a customer service satisfaction rating of 97% or better annually. Driver safety meetings are also held monthly to review safety and security concerns including: MSDS, blood-borne pathogens, evacuation procedures for facilities and buses, inci- dent communication radio codes, self-protection for drivers, suspicious object recognition and procedures, disruptive pas- senger training, disabled passenger lifting procedures, prevent- ing passenger trips and falls, visitor and security awareness, safe driving tips, and the safe use of bus shoulders. A lunch is provided when the number of days without an accident exceeds 45. A multi-disciplinary Safety Solutions Team (SST) has monthly meetings and group presentations to review acci- dents, incidents, safety tips, and suggestions. Team meetings are attended monthly by two levels of management and pro- vide an opportunity for staff to present driver safety sugges- tions. The SST team leads the effort in planning monthly safety campaigns and contests. Monthly safety campaign topics include the use of mirrors and reference points, quizzes and rewards, and required accident and incident retraining. A daily safety message board, seen as the drivers leave the yard, includes the number of days without an accident or incident, and a safety reminder as recommended by the SST. All new drivers are evaluated based on driving and back- ground checks, and are put through a minimum of 72 hours of initial training consisting of classroom, behind-the-wheel training, cadet training, customer service training, and emer- gency preparedness training. Driver credentials are checked every four months to ensure no new violations have occurred off the job, and criminal records are checked annually. The reference check frequency was increased by 50% after 2008, owing to concerns over economic conditions that produced a general increase in stress. A track- ing system provides early alerts on any driver’s license or DOT health card expirations, and logs ride-along and audit frequency. A very important driver incentive program rewards each operator with up to $2,000 in extra pay for reaching the safety and customer service goals. The agency’s budget for this program is $162,000, and the average annual payout is 78%. Drivers who achieve top performance for four calendar quarters are issued leather jackets with the SW logo, and gold driver nameplates instead of the standard black background so the customers can recognize them. With longer service and clean safety performance records, operators receive a custom jeweled gold pin, and then a leather tote to go along with the leather jacket. Operations managers are required to perform a minimum number of ride-along and ride-behind evaluations of routes, with every driver being evaluated at least once per year. Each operations supervisor is required to perform 61 hours of road and ride-along observations per month. TABLE 6 SOUTHWEST TRANSIT STATISTICS 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Miles Driven 1,387,257 1,475,052 1,621,059 1,770,791 1,508,736 1,548,774 Passengers 800,020 900,227 953,573 1,146,829 1,011,974 1,002,382 No. of Passenger/Driver Injuries Requiring Immediate Medical Attention 0 0 0 0 0 0 No. of Chargeable Accidents With over $2,500 Damage 15 13 9 5 3 2 Accidents per 100,000 Miles 1.08 0.88 0.56 0.28 0.20 0.13 Cost of Chargeable Accidents $34,414 $23,231 $18,125 $12,500 $15,197 $14,332 Vehicle Breakdowns/Miles Between Events 17,560 24,000 31,780 26,314 28,467 36,122 Number of Work-Related Injuries Reported (lost time) 1 1 2 1 4 1

35 Drivers and managers carry a small booklet titled “Injury Protection Program,” which provides tear-out notes for com- mendations or safety concerns. Managers are required to record good or bad safety habits and behaviors. agency Disciplinary practices SouthWest Transit has a standard approach to progressive discipline which includes a series of verbal and written coun- seling steps. Its discipline program, specified in the employee handbook, outlines a series of three categories of disciplinary infractions. • Class 1 infractions are dischargeable offenses and include, but are not limited to, felony convictions. Class 1 infrac- tions also include such safety-related issues as rear-end collisions, failure to properly secure a mobility device, and roadway violations. • Class 2 infractions are serious violations of the orga- nization’s performance code. They include, but are not limited to, excessive absenteeism, tardiness, reporting to work unfit, and violating operating regulations. Class 2 infractions subject employees to suspension and final warning for the first offence in a rolling 12-month period. Two safety-related violations in 12 months or three in 36 months will result in discharge. • Class 3 infractions are considered secondary violations of the organization’s performance code and include such issues as failure to report safety hazards or accidents. An employee’s first offense results in a written warning, the second evokes a final warning, and a third offense within a 36-month period leads to discharge. • Class 4 infractions are considered lesser violations of the organization’s performance code that result in disciplin- ary action depending on the circumstances or repeated violations. Class 4 infractions include dress code vio- lations, improper personal appearance, and poor work habits. agency incentive rewards program SouthWest Transit has two safety and performance incentive programs that operate in tandem. The Best Employees Suc- ceed Together (BEST) program focuses on the concept that employees will help meet the agency’s mission of safety by succeeding together. The BEST program offers employees a financial bonus from fixed or variable pools. SouthWest Transit’s 2010 driver incentive plan had a fixed budget of $100,000, which was split into two compo- nents; one fixed amount earnable per operator and a variable pool that was available to be shared by all eligible operators. Eligibility for the program is extended to all operators who have completed at least 30 days of revenue service and have worked a full scoring calendar quarter without committing a “team failure event.” Recipients are required to be active employees of record when the payment is made. Part-time employees and those on leave have their awards pro-rated for the time they worked as a percent of total full-time hours. “Team failure events” disqualify the individuals from earn- ing any award in the quarter in which they occur, and disqual- ify them from sharing in the annual variable award pool. These events are actions that have a negative effect on the organiza- tion as a whole and include, but are not limited to: • A chargeable, preventable accident or incident of any value • A missed route • Any proven act of violence, harassment, theft, or docu- mented misrepresentation. Fixed Pool The fixed incentive pool consists of $1,300 per operator, which is paid in equal quarterly installments ($325.00) based on scor- ing for each individual (or is pro-rated on a quarterly basis as described previously). A mixed task force of managers and operators scores key performance factors subject to SouthWest Transit’s approval. Factors include such aspects of the organi- zation’s mission including, but not limited to: customer care, safe operation, following rules and policies, and attendance. If an award is not granted for a specific quarter, operators are eligible the following quarter. Team failure events may make an operator ineligible for the end of year variable pool award. Variable Pool At the beginning of the year, the variable pool award bud- get is $25,000. Any savings from the fixed pool is added to it; however, any chargeable accident costs will be deducted from the variable pool. Once the task force has evaluated the final quarter, the remaining amount in the pool will be shared by all eligible participants. The shares are progres- sive in nature, so those on the lower end of the pay scale are awarded a higher amount than those on the top. This is based on the relationship of the pay to the average of all drivers. As an example, if the pool was $40,000 at the end of the year, shared by 57 drivers, the top hourly wage drivers earning 116% of the average would be awarded $587.58 on top of their quarterly $325.00, and the drivers who earn 79.3% of average pay would be awarded $847.20 on top of their quar- terly award. Part-time employees are not pro-rated for this variable pool, as they are for the fixed pool. The BEST program was updated in 2011 to include provi- sions for consistent yearly recognition. Operators who con- sistently meet the requirements of the driver incentive plan receive a “Gold Driver” designation that allows them to dis- play a special name plate on the bus that includes the opera- tor’s name, the organization’s strategic plan, and the title

36 “Gold Driver.” All of the awards are presented in public at the Hennepin County Commission meetings. summary SouthWest Transit definitely believes that its Driver Incen- tive Plan is helping it meet its safety goals outlined in the agency’s strategic plan. Based on the data reported, a pattern appears to have emerged that validates the agency’s belief that reward programs are effective tools to improve safety. In addition to having a proactive and unique safety reward program, SouthWest transit also has implemented a few addi- tional policies which contribute to the organization’s safety and service programs. It is SouthWest Transit’s policy and mission that all customer complaints be investigated within 24 hours of receipt. Although SouthWest Transit has up to nine surveillance cameras in each bus, the video footage is not reviewed unless a customer or employee complaint is filed or an incident occurs. SouthWest Transit’s management does not notify the employee that camera footage is being retrieved unless the investigation identifies that corrective action is necessary. This distinctive measure avoids unnecessary inquiries of operators on company time and also avoids upsetting opera- tors for unfounded claims. uTah TransiT auThOriTy, salT laKe CiTy, uTah agency Description UTA is located in Salt Lake City, with business units in Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden. The system is characterized as urban, suburban, regional, and rural, providing fixed-route, paratransit, light rail/streetcar, bus rapid transit, and com- muter rail to four million passengers annually. UTA is a government special service district overseen by a board of trustees. It serves the residents of Salt Lake, Weber, and Davis counties and select cities within Utah, Box Elder, and Tooele counties. UTA’s nonadministrative personnel are unionized (see Table 7). Organizational approach to safety UTA’s mission statement summarizes the organization’s approach to safety and its commitment to employees and customers: “UTA strengthens and connects communities, enabling individuals to pursue fuller lives with greater ease and convenience by leading in partnering, planning, and wise investment of physical, economic and human resources.” UTA’s operational structure includes five (regional) busi- ness units, four that operate bus and rail service and the fifth providing paratransit service. UTA’s organic approach to organizational safety and service requires each business unit to be responsible for maintaining safety and reporting stan- dards. Each business unit has a dedicated regional general manager, operations manager, and maintenance manager. Safety committee meetings are held bi-monthly and issues followed up immediately. A member of UTA’s union par- ticipates in safety meetings. Table 7 provides data on UTA’s miles driven, number of passengers, chargeable accidents, and vehicle breakdowns over the past three years. agency Disciplinary practices The purpose of UTA’s accident policy is to emphasize the importance of safe operations, defensive driving skills, and re-training. It classifies accidents based on their severity and the corresponding consequences. Through consistent imple- mentation, UTA’s policies support its goal of transitioning employees involved in vehicular accidents or incidents back to a productive, safe work status while not diminishing the excellent safe driving record established over many years by UTA employees. UTA’s accident classification schedule categorizes the severity of an accident from 1 to 4 based on total damages and personal injury costs, as well as number of occurrences. Dis- cipline is imposed in a progressive manner. The only excep- tion is if a preventable accident’s total damages and personal injury costs exceed $10,000, in which case, employees may be subject to immediate termination. 2008 2009 2010 Miles Driven 4,063,039 4,890,041 3,798,187 Passengers 3,453,594 3,334,062 3,381,634 Accidents per 100,000 Miles 0.95 1.05 0.96 Vehicle Breakdowns/Miles Between Events 12,387 10,230 9,764 TABLE 7 UTA TRANSIT STATISTICS

37 agency incentive/rewards program The Ogden Business Unit at UTA has seven incentive reward programs: Rising Star, Perfect Attendance, On the Spot, Peer to Peer (P2P), Golden Snitch Award, Road Call Achievement Recognition and Reward, and the Complaint Reduction Pro- gram. UTA reported that the initial start-up cost for its incen- tive rewards programs was $10,000 (in 2009), but that since then the program’s budget has been approximately $3,000. The reward program budget is included in the agency’s oper- ating budget. Rising Star was developed as a way to recognize both short- term and long-term improvement in employee performance. Recipients are chosen at the supervisor’s discretion based on job performance. To be considered for this award, an employee is required to demonstrate significant improvement in a spe- cific area such as business unit goals and objectives, reliability, attendance, attitude, accident prevention, complaint preven- tion, policy adherence, and driving habits. Each supervisor is responsible for selecting a Rising Star candidate by the seventh day of each month. If no team mem- bers meet the criteria, the supervisor is not required to submit a candidate for consideration. The recognition and rewards team leader is responsible for obtaining gift cards and post- ing recipient names on the Rising Star bulletin board in the operator lounge. Perfect Attendance rewards employees who have had no short notice events or sick days and no miss-outs or late reports in a calendar year. Employees who earn Perfect Attendance rewards receive $5 gift cards in addition to a certificate and pin. On the Spot rewards immediately reinforce positive behav- iors within the business unit and develop a culture where employees are recognized, valued, and rewarded. Any posi- tive behavior, action, or attitude can qualify for this recogni- tion. “you’ve been spotted” stickers as well as “On the Spot” comment slips are assigned for basic recognition. Tangible rewards ranging from candy or gum up through three tiers of progressively valued rewards are available to recognize higher levels of achievement. Peer to Peer (P2P) rewards promote mutual support between coworkers by recognizing positive behaviors, actions, and attitudes. An employee who notices a coworker’s positive perfor- mance can fill out a P2P slip (available throughout the busi- ness unit) and personally deliver the slip to the employee or leave it in his/her mailbox. A third (and least preferred) option is to deposit the slip in the drawing box. Recipients of a P2P slip have the option of placing the slip in a designated box located in the maintenance office coordi- nator’s office or on the operator counter in the operations train room. At the end of each month, a drawing is held from the deposited slips. Both the employee who wrote the slip and the one being recognized receive an award if their slip is drawn. There are no limitations on what actions can be recognized or how many times an employee can be recognized in the month. The Golden Snitch Award allows any maintenance depart- ment employee to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of other employees, whether in the maintenance department or elsewhere in UTA. The Road Call Achievement Recognition and Reward pro- motes teamwork and unity among maintenance employees by rewarding improvements in increasing the number of miles between road calls. Managers and supervisors in the maintenance depart- ment determine, on a semi-annual basis, goals for the aver- age number of miles between road calls. (UTA’s current goal is 10,000 miles between calls). When the monthly road call goal is met or surpassed, rewards are provided to the maintenance workers ranging from a snack/refreshment to a full lunch. If the goal is met or surpassed for three months in a row, a steak lunch will be provided. If this level continues for another three months (a total of six months) a prime rib lunch will be provided. If the road call level drops below the miles between road call goal, the cycle starts over. Rewards and levels of achievement are reviewed on a semi-annual basis. Complaint Reduction is an incentive program to reduce the number of customer complaints received in each business unit. Rewards for the reduction of complaints are based on the unit’s goal. The current goal is four complaints per opera- tor per year. Eligible operators may not have received more than one complaint per quarter. Supervisors are monitored on a monthly basis to ensure par- ticipation in UTA’s employee recognition programs. Recogni- tion and rewards metrics are submitted to the business unit’s leadership teams for monthly review. In addition to UTA’s reward and incentive programs, the organization maintains an extensive health and wellness pro- gram that is free to employees. The contracted health and wellness program, called Participation Activity Commitment Evaluation, offers the employees regular health and risk man- agement services customized for each employee. Full fitness testing (cardio, height, weight, and blood pressure) and coun- seling is offered annually, and each business unit has a fully equipped exercise gym that is available to UTA employees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Wellness consultants and over- the-counter medications are available to employees on site. Employees who participate in quarterly health challenges receive deposits in their health reimbursement saving accounts.

38 Employees can also earn up to $250 per year for their health reimbursement accounts by participating in health risk apprais- als, annual fitness appraisal, disease management programs and healthy behavior programs. summary UTA’s goal in implementing its reward and incentive pro- gram was to “change the organization’s culture.” It is UTA’s belief that a paradigm shift was necessary to improve morale and safety. By recognizing good performance, and provid- ing tools for healthy living, UTA encourages employees to benefit the organization, themselves, and the community. UTA believes that healthy, happy employees are absent less frequently and have better work attitudes. UTA’s philosophy toward employee motivation has report- edly succeeded. The agency reports very low turnover rates and indicates that the majority of their employees only leave the organization when they retire. WinD river TranspOrTaTiOn auThOriTy, riverTOn, WyOminG agency Description WRTA, Fremont County’s public transit system, offers a variety of services in and around Fremont County and central Wyoming. This includes fixed bus routes, paratransit services, airport shuttles, and special group excursions. WRTA’s fixed routes offer morning and afternoon bus service for commuting to jobs, schools, and Central Wyoming College. WRTA operates 14 transit vehicles and provides an aver- age of 9,000 passenger trips per month. The system provides service coverage to approximately 70% of the 9,157-square- mile Fremont County. WRTA is a county government agency. Organizational approach to safety WRTA emphasizes bus operator training and safety. As a small transit agency, WRTA relies on Wyoming Public Transit Authority (referred to as WyTRANS) resources to assist these programs. WyTRANS is a private, nonprofit organization consisting of more than 50 public transit and social service agencies from every county in Wyoming that provide public transportation services. WyTRANS provides manager and driver training for transit agencies, using funds provided by the Wyoming DOT. WyTRANS offers top-notch, national training programs and certifications in Transportation Safety Institute’s Para- transit Operator Trainer Training Program, at very nominal costs to WyTRANS members. WyTRANS also provides training materials and information on drug and alcohol testing services and FTA requirements. WyTRANS employs a “train the trainer” philosophy, which supplies a group of qualified train- ers from the agencies to assist with the local training sessions. WRTA requires new bus operators to have some prior experience in public transportation and what it considers a good attitude before being hired. All new bus operators are given 16 hours of classroom training; all drivers periodically attend WyTRANS bus operator classes. agency Disciplinary practices WRTA utilizes a progressive discipline process. All accidents are examined by a peer review committee. For accidents determined to be avoidable, the first accident results in a dis- ciplinary reprimand, the second in a one-year suspension, and a third accident within a 12-month period results in discharge. Following each avoidable accident, WRTA assigns a super- visor to ride with the culpable bus operator upon his/her return to provide advice and retraining. agency incentive/rewards program WRTA recognizes bus operators with good safety records in a variety of relatively low-cost programs. For drivers reach- ing special “plateaus,” such as five years accident-free driv- ing, WRTA provides sandwiches. WRTA also recognizes other employee achievements not directly related to safety. An example would be the annual “Clean Bus Award” that earns the winning driver a dinner cer- tificate at a local restaurant. summary WRTA puts a strong focus on safety, employee training, excel- lent service, and being an asset to the community. WRTA sets high employee standards and provides its employees with the needed resources. As a small transit agency, WRTA is an active member in WyTRANS and uses the state transit association to provide professional and up-to-date training and professional devel- opment classes and sessions. summary The following provides some of the highlights from the case examples by subject area. Organization and safety • Recently, DART implemented a series of initiatives to engage front-line employees that:

39 – Sought to improve communication with and between operators and their supervisors with safety meetings – Implemented performance incentive programs at both individual and team levels – Focused on an improved hazard identification process. • DART conducts regular mandatory one-hour safety meetings with operators. • FAST designated a dedicated safety and training coor- dinator in 2008 to improve focus on safety, including monthly safety training meetings. • FAST encourages all employees to provide their input on safety issues, problems, and concerns. • GO Transit uses internal mission statements that spec- ify “charters with passengers,” including safety. • GO Transit’s safety plan was developed with input from all levels of employees. • GO Transit has a systematic three-year reoccurring bus operator training program. • GO Transit focuses on changing behaviors and devel- oping a level of continuity. • KC Metro focuses on three S’s—safety, service, and security. • KC Metro has dedicated base safety officers at all of its operating bases. • KC Metro established a safety awareness team consist- ing of an appointed group of bus operators. • MVTA has focused on building an improved safety cul- ture around its operations motto of “safety is number one.” • MVTA has a designated safety officer who oversees the safety program and manages the safety committee. • MVTA focuses on new bus operators in their first three months of employment and has recently expanded the length of its bus operator training program. • River Cities Public Transit, a small rural transit agency, places a priority on safety, with a strong bus operator training program. • River Cities Public Transit uses a consultant to identify safety issues and develop a safety program. • SouthWest Transit has a strong commitment toward safe and reliable service, with monthly measures and the review of five metrics: – Chargeable accident rates – Employee injuries – On-time performance – Vehicle break-downs – Customer satisfaction. • SouthWest Transit holds monthly driver safety meet- ings and monthly safety solution team meetings. • UTA assigns organization and safety requirements to its five operating units. Each conducts bi-monthly safety committee meetings. • WRTA, a small rural transit agency, places a strong emphasis on safety and employee training and relies on the state transit association to assist in their safety and training program. Organizational policies related to safety Discipline • All of the case example agencies used some form of progressive discipline to address safety-related perfor- mance deficiencies and to correct behaviors that have led to unsafe acts. • As detailed previously in the report, progressive disci- pline specifies a series of consequences, increasing in severity over time, which encourages an employee to modify any negative behavior, including misconduct, poor performance, violations of company policy, absen- teeism, and tardiness. • In addition to imposing disciplinary consequences after accidents, most transit agencies also require the involved driver to receive some form of re-training. • KC Metro uses a point system that assigns values to the severity of the accident and then sets a threshold of points that can be accumulated over a 48-month roll- ing period. Bus operators who thereafter have no acci- dents receive a credit of three points for each year of accident-free driving. • River Cities Public Transit implemented a cash penalty for any bus operator charged with a preventable acci- dent. The penalties are $250 per preventable accident if the bus operator promptly reports the event and $500 if the event is not promptly reported to management. safety incentives and awards • Through DART’s Employee Performance Incentive Program, operating divisions compete to achieve goals for on-time performance; fewer late pull-outs, unsched- uled absences, and complaints; increased ridership; bet- ter cost-per-mile an hour rates; and fewer accidents per 100,000 miles. The winning division receives recogni- tion, including a catered lunch, each quarter. • Additionally, DART recognizes individual drivers who can qualify for bonuses if they do not have any safety infractions, preventable accidents, or corrective/ disciplinary actions during the quarter. • GO Transit recently implemented incentive type safety program elements including competition between divisions and increased discussion and awareness of safety issues. Rewards are administered five times per year in conjunction with regular operational “markup” or “picks.” • KC Metro has been using the National Safety Coun- cil’s reward/incentive program for more than 40 years. Transit operators receive a recognition award for each successful year of safe driving, supplemented by the agency’s incentive reward, which features special recognition levels. Operators are recognized quarterly and a list of awardees is displayed at the agency’s main base. • MVTA reviews incidents in three categories on a monthly basis: driver complaints (including safety- related incidents), missed trips, and fleet maintenance.

40 Incentives are given for “acceptable” and “superior” rat- ings and penalties are imposed for “unacceptable” ser- vice. This program was developed in 2003 with operator input. • MVTA presents safety awards to operators who consis- tently display safe behavior. Two operators from this pool are selected as “Operators of the year” and are honored at an awards ceremony and banquet. • SouthWest Transit has two safety/performance incentive programs that operate in tandem. The BEST program focuses on the concept that employees will help meet the agency’s mission of safety by succeeding together. The BEST program offers employees a financial bonus from fixed and variable pools. • BEST was updated in 2011 to include provisions for consistent yearly recognition. Operators who consis- tently meet the requirements of the driver incentive plan receive a “Gold Driver” designation. The Gold Driver designation allows them the opportunity to dis- play a special name plate on the bus. • The Ogden business unit at UTA has seven incentive reward programs: Rising Star, Perfect Attendance, On the Spot, Peer to Peer (P2P), Golden Snitch Award, Road Call Achievement Recognition and Reward and the Complaint Reduction Program. • UTA maintains an extensive health and wellness pro- gram called Participation Activity Commitment Evalu- ation that is free to employees. • WRTA provides recognition for bus operators with good safety records through a variety of relatively low-cost programs. It provides sandwiches for bus operators reach- ing special “plateaus,” such as five years of accident-free driving. • Although data and documentation on the effectiveness of incentive and reward plans are limited, three of the case examples provided these positive results: – As a result of its initiatives, DART reported a reduc- tion in vehicle collisions of nearly 10%, in passenger accidents of nearly 16%, and a significant improve- ment in passenger perception of safety. – Recent changes to GO Transit’s organizational approach to safety appear to have contributed to a nearly 12% decrease in the number of all types of collisions per mil- lion kilometers travelled. – SouthWest Transit reported that even though miles driven and number of trips increased from 2007 to 2009, safe behavior policy, particularly the penalty/incentive contingent for performance, has helped reduce safety-related incidents by 30% since implementation.

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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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