National Academies Press: OpenBook

Legal Issues in Public Transit Emergency Planning and Operation (2013)

Chapter: Legal Research Digest 44

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Suggested Citation:"Legal Research Digest 44." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Legal Issues in Public Transit Emergency Planning and Operation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22447.
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The Problem and Its Solution The nation’s 6,000 plus transit agencies need to have ac- cess to a program that can provide authoritatively re- searched, specific, limited-scope studies of legal issues and problems having national significance and applica- tion to their business. Some transit programs involve le- gal problems and issues that are not shared with other modes; as, for example, compliance with transit-equip- ment and operations guidelines, FTA financing initia- tives, private-sector programs, and labor or environmen- tal standards relating to transit operations. Also, much of the information that is needed by transit attorneys to ad- dress legal concerns is scattered and fragmented. Conse- quently, it would be helpful to the transit lawyer to have well-resourced and well-documented reports on specific legal topics available to the transit legal community. The Legal Research Digests (LRDs) are developed to assist transit attorneys in dealing with the myriad of initiatives and problems associated with transit start- up and operations, as well as with day-to-day legal work. The LRDs address such issues as eminent do- main, civil rights, constitutional rights, contracting, environmental concerns, labor, procurement, risk management, security, tort liability, and zoning. The transit legal research, when conducted through the TRB’s legal studies process, either collects primary data that generally are not available elsewhere or per- forms analysis of existing literature. Applications The goal of this study is to provide a synthesis and as- sessment of laws, regulations, and guidance from both the transit and homeland security industries to help tran- sit agencies understand their legal responsibilities with Legal Research Digest 44 TRansiT CoopeRaTive ReseaRCh pRogRam sponsored by the Federal Transit administration December 2013 legAl ISSueS In PublIc TrAnSIT emergency PlAnnIng And oPerATIon This report was prepared under TCRp project J-5, “Legal aspects of Transit and intermodal Transportation programs,” for which the Transportation Research Board is the agency coordinating the research. The report was prepared by nicholas Tomizawa, esq., Cem, URs Corporation, homeland security and emergency management group. James B. mcDaniel, TRB Counsel for Legal Research projects, was the principal investigator and content editor. responsible Senior Program officer: gwen chisholm Smith respect to emergency planning and operational issues. This study seeks to help transit systems be in or stay in compliance with requirements and guidance by: • Providing transit managers with guidance to navigate laws, regulations, and guidance from both the transit and homeland security/emergency management fields; • Summarizing, comparing, and contrasting transit and homeland security laws, regulations, and guidance; • Assisting transit managers to understand what docu- ments and activities are legally required and which are recommended; • Providing practical approaches and insight to address emergency planning requirements and guidance, ac- knowledging concerns over tailoring these programs to all sizes of transit systems and cost constraints; and • Providing an overview of legal issues pertinent to transit emergency management, including tort liabil- ity and immunities, understanding disaster public as- sistance programs, working with security-sensitive information, and developing memoranda of under- standing. It must be noted that the section entitled “The Role of the Attorney in Emergency Planning” is not just for lawyers, as it provides important plan- ning advice for transit managers to comply with emergency management requirements. With such knowledge, transit managers may make in- formed planning and response decisions to reduce their exposure to claims, protect their property, enhance the safety and security of their employees and the general public, and expand the range of services and capabili- ties of transit. As a synthesis, this study is informed by and refers to existing guidance and reports from the Transit Coopera- tive Research Program and other pertinent organiza- tions. TRanspoRTaTion ReseaRCh BoaRD OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Legal Research Digest 44: Legal Issues in Public Transit Emergency Planning and Operation synthesizes and assesses laws, regulations, and guidance from the transit and homeland security industries as a means to help transit agencies better understand their legal responsibilities with respect to emergency planning and operational issues. One of the goals of the report is to help transit systems remain in compliance with emergency planning and operations requirements and guidance.

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