September 26, 2013
Klara Baryshev, a TOC member with an extensive safety and engineering background, became the organization’s new Chair as of Sept. 20. Ms. Baryshev fills the role formerly held by James Benton, who departed the TOC last week to work in the private sector.
Ms. Baryshev joined the TOC earlier this year after more than two decades in the safety department at WMATA, making her background knowledge of the system beneficial for the TOC’s responsibility to oversee WMATA’s safety and security programs. She intends for the TOC to maintain the rigor of its program while increasing focus on oversight of WMATA’s safety certification for new projects; this includes additional monitoring and reviews of the upcoming Silver Line extension before it enters passenger service.
Ms. Baryshev, a District of Columbia Department of Transportation official, is scheduled to remain Chair for two years.
July 11, 2013
The TOC delivered a quarterly presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee today. The report highlighted the TOC’s recent accomplishments, plans for the future, and topics related to WMATA Metrorail incident investigations.
Among the highlights of the TOC’s recent activities:
For more information, the slides from the TOC’s presentation can be viewed here.
- The TOC has started a new cycle of independent safety and security audits of the Metrorail system; the Federal Transit Administration requires that these reviews occur once within a three-year timeframe. The first review, which concluded in May, examined WMATA’s implementation of its procurement processes. The next audit, covering several safety program topics, is scheduled for August.
- The TOC continues to monitor the Silver Line project’s progress toward certification for safety and security readiness. The TOC is now working together with the Federal Transit Administration to plan joint, final reviews of the project to occur later this year.
- In response to a TOC request in April, WMATA continues to investigate human factors related to passenger complaints regarding emergency intercom functionality on-board Metro trains. WMATA announced last month that compatibility of certain types of railcars was to blame for technical issues related to intercoms, and has since corrected that portion of the problem.
March 15, 2013
Recent media reports have described a Feb. 5 incident in which two WMATA employees were nearly struck by a train on the Orange Line between Vienna and Dunn Loring stations. The TOC would like to clarify that, contrary to news reports, this incident did not occur on the new Dulles Corridor/Silver Line. Although the train involved had been used for Silver Line testing, the incident itself relates to WMATA’s general practices and procedures but not the Silver Line. WMATA has been conducting a serious investigation into the incident, and the TOC continues to work with WMATA to prevent such an incident from happening again on the Metrorail system.
March 15, 2013
The TOC delivered a presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee on March 14. The TOC is invited to provide these status updates three to four times a year at the committee’s meetings. The report included the TOC's recent activities, a discussion of recent WMATA incident investigations, and improvements to the TOC's Corrective Action Plan tracking process. The presentation slides can be viewed here.
February 14, 2013
TOC met with staff from WMATA yesterday to discuss the preliminary results of the investigation into the January 30, 2013, train evacuation incident near Anacostia station on the Green Line. WMATA plans to share the preliminary results of its investigation conducted to date to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee today. The TOC and its executive leadership have expressed numerous questions and concerns regarding safety policies and procedures germane to this incident, and TOC members have been in regular contact with WMATA Safety Department personnel to obtain information about the investigation as it becomes available. Though WMATA's investigation remains ongoing, TOC is pleased with the thoroughness and level of detail of WMATA's investigative process to date. We believe that the early findings and recommendations relayed to the TOC thus far represent WMATA's ongoing commitment to improving the safety of the Metrorail system, a commitment shared with the TOC. As WMATA concludes its investigation, TOC will carefully review associated investigation reports to ensure that all safety oversight program requirements are adhered to.
December 31, 2012 * * *
The TOC will begin a new cycle of Three-Year Safety and Security Reviews of the Metrorail system in 2013. The last such reviews were conducted in 2010. These reviews are the TOC’s opportunity to verify through interviews, record inspections, and field reviews that WMATA is adhering to its safety and security plans and procedures. Through these audits, the TOC issues recommendations for improvements to safety and security programs. The TOC looks forward to working with WMATA as the new review cycle begins.
TOC representatives are troubled to hear news from New York City of a person killed after being intentionally pushed in front of a moving train on Thursday, December 27. This was the second such fatality at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority station this month. The TOC understands that although these incidents are extremely rare and did not occur in the Washington metropolitan area, they may cause some public concern. The TOC is working with WMATA to ensure they have appropriate measures in place to help prevent or mitigate such occurrences. Preventive measures may include police surveillance methods, technology, public service announcements, and assistance with those possibly in need of mental healthcare.
* * *
The TOC delivered a presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee in early December. The TOC is invited to provide these status updates three to four times a year at the committee’s meetings. The report highlighted the TOC’s recent accomplishments, plans for the future, and topics related to accident investigations and Corrective Action Plans. The presentation slides can be viewed here.
* * *
The TOC completed a special study of WMATA’s rules compliance programs in November. This study involved discussions, document reviews, and field observations with personnel responsible for checking whether Train Operators and other employees are following safety rules. In general, WMATA’s current rule compliance efforts mark a significant improvement over past practice. In early 2013, the TOC will issue a final report with detailed recommendations on how WMATA can strengthen its rule compliance programs.
September 13, 2012
Today, the TOC delivered a presentation to the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee. The TOC is invited to provide these status updates three to four times a year at the committee’s meetings. The report highlighted the TOC’s current activities, recent WMATA improvements to system safety, and progress on completing accident investigations and Corrective Action Plans. The presentation slides can be viewed here.
August 14, 2012
In recent months, WMATA has been confronted with many high-profile safety-related incidents, all of which have understandably generated significant public interest. As the oversight body responsible for monitoring WMATA’s investigations into these occurrences and its subsequent response, TOC has taken an active role in ensuring all necessary and appropriate steps are followed. At present, TOC continues to focus its attention on:
- Doors opening off-platform (both confirmed and unconfirmed instances)
- Escalator safety, including August 7, 2012 trip and fall accident
- July 14, 2012 Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) power outage
- The July 6, 2012 Green Line train derailment attributed to “heat kink”
- The July 3, 2012 self-evacuation of passengers from a stalled train, partially attributed to a loss of power from Pepco and the severe weather that plagued the Metro region.
- Four instances of the loss of friction rings (brake discs) from Metro trains from December 2011 through June 2012
- The May 29th striking of a WMATA employee by a train at Shady Grove Yard
Although each of these events is troubling, WMATA has been responsive to TOC questions and concerns throughout the investigative process. Having visited incident sites and reviewed relevant reports and written materials, TOC is of the opinion that WMATA is committed to addressing these critical safety-related issues. While TOC does not directly investigate incidents or implement corrective actions, it does maintain the authority to reject WMATA’s factual conclusions and proposed reactions when the agency has not sufficiently addressed all potential root causes or areas of concern. With respect to the incidents listed above, this step has yet to be taken. TOC will continue to work with WMATA to monitor these cases to a final resolution.
Further direct review of WMATA’s safety and security procedures will be provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which will be conducting its own independent audit of the agency – initiated in response to these same recent events – later this month. While TOC will be an active participant in these proceedings, it is not a direct subject of the audit. Nonetheless, the FTA’s findings will be an important source of information guiding TOC’s oversight moving forward.
July 10, 2012
TOC responded to the scene of a derailment on the Green Line that occurred on Friday, July 6, at approximately 4:45 p.m. 55 patrons were aboard the train at the time of the derailment, which occurred between the Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations. WMATA personnel and local first responders from Prince George’s County were also at the scene. Fortunately, no one was injured. Preliminary investigation results have identified “heat kink” as a probable cause of the derailment. Heat kink occurs when the rails expand and become warped or misaligned, and generally occur during very hot weather. In response to this finding, WMATA instituted a speed restriction on all above-ground segments of the Metrorail system, and WMATA employees have conducted additional inspections of the track and its alignment in order to help mitigate another such occurrence. As of Monday morning, July 9, WMATA lifted the heat-related speed restrictions on all lines. TOC believes that these are appropriate actions in response to this derailment. TOC will continue to monitor the investigation process.
TOC is also monitoring WMATA’s investigation of a Tuesday, July 3, incident in which passengers reportedly evacuated themselves from a train that had lost power between College Park and Prince George’s Plaza. A passenger reportedly activated an emergency handle to open a door, and approximately 200 passengers followed onto the unprotected track. TOC will work with WMATA to ensure the transit agency has and follows explicit procedures that employees must follow in the event of a disabling circumstance aboard trains, particularly during hot weather, to ensure that passengers stay safe and informed.
Additionally, the TOC continues to follow WMATA’s response to the TOC-WMATA Joint Fatigue Management Study conducted last year. The study focused on fatigue and hours of service for safety-critical WMATA employees such as Train Operators and maintenance personnel who work in the path of trains. Updates on proposed fatigue management initiatives are expected to be discussed during the WMATA Board of Directors Safety and Security Committee meeting on Thursday, July 12. Although WMATA has elected to perform a similar study of its bus system, the TOC only has oversight jurisdiction over WMATA’s Metrorail safety and security.
June 21, 2012
As the third anniversary of the June 22, 2009, Metrorail
collision at Fort Totten approaches, the Tri-State Oversight
Committee expresses its condolences to loved ones of the deceased
victims and to those who were injured.
Since the accident, the TOC and its Executives have strengthened
its safety and security oversight of Metrorail in key areas.
Some of these improvements and milestones include:
- Substantially increasing the TOC's available financial
resources, personnel, and technical expertise.
- Expanding lines of communication with key transit safety
stakeholders including the WMATA Board of Directors, senior
management, and the general public.
- Formalizing agreements between WMATA and the TOC member
agencies that increase TOC's efficiency and strengthen its
authority to respond to safety and security concerns, as
well as clearly communicating roles and responsibilities
for safety notification, hazard management, accident investigations,
and other activities with WMATA.
- Instituting a TOC Executive Committee of the top transportation
officials each from the District of Columbia, Maryland,
and Virginia, to set policy direction and ensure ongoing
and direct access to agency leadership on transit safety
- Launching special studies and investigations of safety
and security trends at WMATA, such as a 2009 investigation
of track worker safety, a 2010 evaluation of rule compliance
in maintenance yards, and a 2011 joint TOC-WMATA study of
fatigue among safety-critical Metrorail employees, as well
as several other reviews in 2012.
- Resolving all open findings from the Federal Transit Administration's
2010 audit of the TOC program.
- Continuing our active safety and security oversight of
major projects such as the Metrorail extension to Dulles,
the procurement of new 7000-series railcars, and Metro's
- Preparing for major audits in 2013, including a comprehensive
triennial TOC safety and security review of WMATA.
Working with WMATA, TOC looks forward to continuing our
pursuit of ongoing safety and security improvements to the
nation's second-largest rail transit system.
May 30, 2012
Yesterday at approximately 1:30 pm, WMATA's Safety Department
notified TOC that an employee had been struck by a train at
the Shady Grove rail maintenance facility. TOC staff responded
to the scene, confirmed the report, and met with WMATA Safety
representatives, as well as personnel from Metro Transit Police,
railcar maintenance, and federal agencies including the National
Transportation Safety Board. Over the course of the afternoon
and into the evening, TOC personnel supported investigation
activities including interviews, site inspections, and event
While it is fortunate that the employee in question appears
to have survived, yesterday's incident will require a thorough
evaluation of the adequacy of WMATA's yard safety policies
and practices. Though WMATA remains the lead agency, TOC is
ultimately responsible for approving the final accident investigation
report, as well as any WMATA proposals for corrective action
measures. With that in mind, TOC will continue to participate
in, and monitor the progress of, the investigation into this
May 15, 2012
At 9:41 am this morning, TOC was notified by WMATA safety
staff of an incident near the Van Ness Red Line station in
which some of the doors on a train set opened during movement.
While it is fortunate that no one was hurt, TOC program standards
clearly identify this as an unacceptable hazardous condition.
In response, TOC has met with WMATA safety and operations
staff in an effort to pinpoint the root cause of the failure,
and will participate actively in their ongoing investigation.
During this process, TOC will work to ensure WMATA's compliance
with the requirements of its hazard management program, and
will evaluate proposed corrective action plans as they are
April 24, 2012
At approximately 7:15pm, TOC was notified of a derailment
outside the Rosslyn Metro station. TOC personnel from
Virginia and the District of Columbia responded to the
scene to monitor and support WMATA's investigation,
which at this time is still underway. TOC will work
with WMATA to ascertain the root cause(s) of the incident
and to develop corrective actions as appropriate.
April 20, 2012
On April 16, 2012, a Metrorail passenger suffered an
apparent heart attack aboard a train, and despite the
aid of bystanders and the Arlington County Fire Department,
was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. As this was
a fatality on Metrorail property, and therefore a reportable
incident, WMATA notified TOC through normal channels
of communication with the Safety Department and Metro
However, late in the afternoon on April 19, 2012, TOC
was advised that during the initial response to this
incident, a passenger had attempted to use the Automated
External Defibrillator (AED) and found its batteries
to be non-functioning. Follow-up conversations with
senior WMATA Safety staff confirmed these facts. WMATA's
immediate response to this situation has been to inspect
all AEDs systemwide, expand their deployment, and formulate
checklists and procedures for their inspection. The
functionality of emergency equipment within Metrorail
facilities is of critical importance and with that in
mind, the TOC plans to review the proposed inspection
procedures and independently evaluate their adequacy.
March 23, 2012
TOC continues to be activly engaged in monitoring the safety and security certification program for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, one of the largest and most complex transit projects in the United States. Phase I of the Dulles Corridor will branch off the existing Metrorail Orange Line just east of the West Falls Church Station, and will run through Tysons Corner to Reston. The photo below is of the Wiehle Avenue station in Reston, under construction. TOC representatives participated in a construction site tour as part of the most recent Federal Transit Administration quarterly meeting.
Crane hoisting pre-cast segments of the aerial structure into place along Route 7.
February 1, 2012
TOC is aware that WMATA will be closing the south entrance to the Dupont Circle Red Line station, starting today and continuing through October 2012, to conduct escalator repair and replacement. WMATA has responded to TOC requests for information regarding fire/life safety measures taken to support this action, including additional staffing, evacuation planning and pre-positioning of emergency resources. TOC staff also observed a recent full-scale drill, conducted by WMATA in concert with DC Fire & EMS, to test emergency response plans. TOC will continue to monitor WMATA’s safety activities on this project.
January 30, 2011
TOC has been actively monitoring WMATA's investigation of two recent incidents involving friction rings (brake components) that came loose from Metro trains. Although there were no injuries resulting from either of these incidents, they constitute a potentially hazardous condition. Consistent with our mandate to oversee Metro's hazard management process, TOC has and will continue to work closely with WMATA to ensure this matter is appropriately addressed. In the last 30 days, TOC representatives have responded to incident sites, conducted on-site observations of railcar inspections, and reviewed component service bulletins. Senior WMATA staff have provided TOC with multiple briefings on the progress of their investigation, as well as their interim safety mitigation measures. This information has been shared on an ongoing basis with senior leadership from the three TOC jurisdictions. TOC will continue our work to oversee the investigative process and to help ensure that both root and contributing causes are fully addressed.
December 20, 2011
The TOC was notified of an incident at the L'Enfant Plaza station that occurred earlier this morning. TOC personnel are en route to the scene of the incident and will actively participate in the investigation, alongside WMATA safety and maintenance personnel.
November 17, 2011
TOC, along with the WMATA Safety Department, presented the results of the Joint Fatigue Management Study to the WMATA Board of Directors on November 17, 2011. The final report from that effort can be viewed here, and the presentation made to the Board can be found here. The intent of the study was to examine current WMATA policy and practice for safety-sensitive employee hours of service and fatigue management. The study was begun as a result of several factors cited by the WMATA Board of Directors, including NTSB recommendations, APTA standards, and existing scholarship and research on employee fatigue. TOC and the WMATA Safety Department worked closely to ensure a joint-approach, with buy-in from all affected stakeholders. WMATA demonstrated transparency and willingness to support the goals and needs of the study.
Separately, TOC has posted minutes from the most recent monthly meetings on this site. They are available for download in the Meeting Minutes section.
June 24, 2011
Yesterday at the WMATA Board Safety & Security Committee meeting, the TOC presented a brief overview of our assessment of WMATA's yard rule compliance programs. In short, effective practices exist and are being implemented, but not consistently so. TOC formally transmitted the report to WMATA, and we will work with them to resolve the identified concerns. The TOC's summary report can be found here, or in our web site's Program Documents section.
April 15, 2011
On March 30th, the TOC formally transferred the position of Vice Chair to James Benton. Mr. Benton is a full-time TOC member representing the Maryland Department of Transportation, and joined the TOC in July 2010. Prior to the TOC, Mr. Benton was an employee of the Maryland Transit Administration for more than 26 years. We are pleased to have Mr. Benton serving in the capacity of Vice Chair.
April 7, 2011
The TOC has been notified that the National Transportation Safety Board has opened the dockets for three rail accident investigations at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Specifically, these are the investigations of the November 2009 West Falls Church yard collision, the January 2010 track worker fatalities near Rockville, and the February 2010 Red Line train derailment at Farragut North station. While NTSB is publicizing their findings of fact, they have not yet determined probable cause nor issued recommendations. Since the investigation processes are therefore still ongoing, and in light of TOC's participation as a party to said investigations, all requests for comment or information on these reports should be directed to the NTSB.
March 28, 2011
On Friday, March 25th, TOC personnel visited the WMATA rail facility at West Falls Church to assess compliance with the safety rules that govern train movement in yards. TOC interviewed WMATA rail operations and safety staff, reviewed forms and procedures, looked at records and conducted firsthand observations.
This was the first of a planned series of such visits to different rail yards. The data gathered from Friday's activities will be analyzed, along with that of future evaluations, in partnership with WMATA to identify best practices as well as areas for potential improvement. The TOC appreciates WMATA's cooperation and participation in these activities.
At right, a TOC member observes as a WMATA Safety Officer uses a radar gun to assess rule compliance in a rail yard.
March 23, 2011
The Tri-State Oversight Committee is preparing for our March 24, 2011 presentation before WMATA's Board Safety & Security Committee. We plan to discuss a range of issues, noting significant progress as well as areas in need of improvement. One of the latter, a concern over safety rule compliance in rail yards, was the subject of recent media coverage, which erroneously concluded that the TOC was "blaming" rail operators. As WMATA's oversight agency, the TOC is obligated to identify trends, analyze them, and follow up with WMATA for resolution. We do not assign blame or fault.
Any statement that TOC is solely faulting front-line Metro employees for rail yard rule compliance problems is inaccurate, and fails to consider other factors such as supervision, training, and audits. As noted publicly, we are satisfied with WMATA's initial response, and believe our concern over this specific issue should be viewed in the broader context of the significant safety progress noted in our full presentation.
March 3, 2011
On Tuesday, March 1st, TOC members met with representatives of the Federal Transit Administration, as well as WMATA staff, to discuss the resolution of open findings and recommendations from FTA's March 2010 audit report of the TOC/WMATA safety oversight program. TOC was able to provide justification for FTA to close four open audit findings, with two additional items that can likely be closed in the near future. WMATA was also able to close out some FTA recommendations addressed to their agency. TOC and WMATA will continue to work together to ensure long term resolution of the FTA's original findings, and to institutionalize organizational and cultural progress made over the last two years.
February 18, 2011
At 10:40am on today's date, TOC was notified of an escalator malfunction at the Foggy Bottom/GWU Blue-Orange Line Metrorail station, which had originally occurred around 9:15am. No Metro employees or patrons were injured. A TOC representative arrived at the scene within an hour of notification to speak with WMATA staff, take pictures and inspect the site.
While this was not a technically reportable accident, Metro Safety staff agreed that this incident might qualify as a potentially unacceptable hazardous condition as specified by their System Safety Program Plan, pending further investigation. TOC will work with WMATA's Safety Department to monitor the progress of that investigation.
February 3, 2011
On Monday, January 31st, the Tri-state Oversight Committee and contractor support staff visited the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and Dulles Transit Partners (DTP) personnel organized the visit, which took the group to sites such as the future Wiehle Avenue station, the Tyson's Corner tunnels, and the O-1 Guideway linking the Orange Line to the future Silver Line.
While TOC members and contractors regularly participate in the project's safety certification program, this was the first opportunity for the Committee as a whole to conduct firsthand observations and evaluations of the project's first phase. TOC's involvement in the Dulles project will increase as construction continues and operational testing begins.
The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project's two phases will eventually link Dulles International Airport to greater Washington via the WMATA rail network. MWAA is constructing the future Silver Line, but upon completion, will turn the new rail line over to WMATA for operation and maintenance.
January 12, 2011
On January 6th, the three TOC jurisdictions signed the 2011 TOC Program Standard & Procedures, or PS&P. This document, rooted in the federal regulation 49 CFR Part 659, lays out TOC's most current requirements and guidance for WMATA in their development of system safety and system security programs. The 2011 PS&P incorporates guidance from the Federal Transit Administration, new appendices such as the TOC-WMATA MOU, input from WMATA management and staff, and revisions identified as necessary by TOC members and contractors in 2010. It is available for public review here.
December 17, 2010
The TOC was pleased to note the WMATA Board's passage of the TOC-WMATA MOU at their meeting of December 16th, 2010. The MOU serves to codify roles and responsibilities between TOC and WMATA as they pertain to safety oversight of the rail system. These include sharing of information, time frames for investigations and hazard analyses, and enforcement mechanisms in the event of a critical safety hazard which cannot be otherwise resolved. The WMATA Board's approval of the MOU marks the culmination of months of work by TOC and WMATA staff, and we believe it represents a noteworthy achievement in formalizing the safety advances that WMATA and TOC have made in the last 18 months.
November 9, 2010
Since TOC released our final report from the 2010 Triennial Safety and Security Review, several media outlets have cited a finding from that report (available on this website) incorrectly and out of context. Specifically, news media outlets have stated that during the Triennial Safety and Security Review Process, TOC found that the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Extension is "in need of a post-9/11 security upgrade." This is misleading, and represents an inaccurate interpretation of the finding.
TOC has an oversight role in the safety and security certification process for the extension, and we are confident that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and WMATA have already included appropriate security features into the design of the project. Rather, the finding in question (Area of Concern 5-3) concerns the process for updating the WMATA Design Criteria. Those criteria should generally include the processes, design features, and equipment that are current standard practice for the Metrorail system; however, WMATA had not updated its Design Criteria to reflect current standard practice.
Since the old Design Criteria were referenced in the design-build contract, WMATA and MWAA negotiated for such security features as changes to the contract. Further questions on this matter should go to WMATA or MWAA. TOC's original finding was fundamentally a concern about a business process and is only tangentially related to the security of the Metrorail system, which we take very seriously. The full text of the finding is below:
Area of Concern 5-3. WMATA Design Criteria updates are incomplete. On the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project (DCMP), the version of WMATA Design Criteria referenced in the initial Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) design-build contract did not include current WMATA criteria. Subsequent changes required negotiations with the design-build contractor. Since then, WMATA produced new versions of the Design Criteria following P/I 4.14/1, Design Control Board, but it appears that Security Design Criteria have not been updated to reflect the additional process (threat and vulnerability assessment), design features (intrusion and WMD detection), and equipment (DVRs/CCTV/smart video systems) that are used in a "post-9/11" environment. This issue is problematic and should be addressed in cooperation with MTPD.
To close this finding, WMATA must:
- Update its security design criteria in cooperation with MTPD to reflect the additional processes, design features, and equipment necessary in a "post-9/11" environment.
- Provide the updated security design criteria to TOC.
November 3, 2010
In response to an escalator incident on October 30, 2010 in which several patrons were injured, the TOC was notified of the incident by the WMATA Safety Department's on-call safety officer. In accordance with our role as the State Safety Oversight (SSO) agency, any time two or more people require hospital treatment for an incident occurring on Metrorail property, we require WMATA to conduct an investigation in compliance with SSO requirements. Such an investigation must identify the root cause of the incident, and identify what corrective steps WMATA will take to prevent such an occurrence in the future. This incident clearly met those criteria, and upon the completion of the investigation, TOC will carefully review it to determine whether we can adopt that investigation, or whether WMATA needs to collect and provide additional information.
Since the investigation into the escalator incident of 10/30/2010 is currently ongoing, we cannot yet draw any meaningful conclusions about the general state of the escalators from this one occurrence. However, our Triennial Safety & Security Review (recently posted on our website) as well as an internal review conducted by Metro, did identify deficiencies in their escalator maintenance practices. Without speculating as to the cause of the 10/30 incident, we plan to monitor any proposed corrective actions WMATA will take as a result of the incident, as well as corrective actions that address the escalator maintenance issues identified during recent reviews and audits.
Though this investigation is not yet complete, TOC continues to monitor and verify the investigative process, and the steps that WMATA has taken, and will continue to take to address this serious safety issue.
October 12, 2010
On October 8, 2010, TOC submitted the Final Report from the 2010 Triennial Safety and Security Review to WMATA and FTA. After an extensive review and comment period, TOC is pleased to publicly release this report, which we believe will help both TOC and WMATA work toward our shared goal of improving the safety and security of the Metrorail system. TOC will work with WMATA to monitor the implementation and completion of Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) that address the findings contained in the report. TOC will support WMATA in its continuing efforts to improve overall system safety.
September 17, 2010
The presentation used by the TOC Chair at the September 16, 2010 WMATA Board meeting of the Customer Service, Operations & Safety subcommittee is now available on the TOC website .
September 16, 2010
On September 13th, the TOC Executives (the Secretaries of Transportation for Maryland and Virginia and the DC Director of Transportation) signed a revised TOC Memorandum of Understanding. The TOC MOU has established and empowered the oversight committee since 1997, and the current revision includes a number of improvements originally laid out in the April 2010 TOC White Paper.
These include formalizing communication between the TOC members and TOC Executives, additional authority for the TOC Chair, and the institution of meaningful authority to compel WMATA's compliance in the event of a critical unresolved safety issue on the rail system. The revised MOU now includes a provision in which the TOC Executives committed to additional enforcement authority, including (in the unlikely event that all other options had been fully exhausted) the delay, suspension or cancellation of state capital funding.
The new MOU responds to the some of the specific concerns identified in the Federal Transit Administration's March 4th, 2010 audit regarding TOC authority and responsiveness. TOC will submit it to the FTA as part of our regular audit updates. In addition, the signing of this MOU will help address the NTSB's recommendation to TOC to fully address the findings of that FTA's audit.
August 31, 2010
The TOC was pleased to note today that WMATA has moved forward with the signing and implementation of a new Roadway Worker Protection manual. The document provides safety guidance, rules and procedures for employees working on the Metrorail tracks. WMATA began developing it in partnership with TOC in December 2009, after a special audit by the Tri-state Oversight Committee found systemic problems with Metro's rules and practices for keeping track workers safe. Two roadway fatalities in January 2010 only emphasized the need for a better way forward.
TOC has participated regularly in WMATA's Roadway Worker Protection task force, offering our advice and input along with federal agencies, other transit systems and railroad companies. WMATA's process for soliciting and incorporating best practices from peer agencies, regulators and the private sector can be used as an effective model for improving track safety programs nationwide. While we plan to audit and evaluate this program once its implementation is complete, we at TOC believe the new Roadway Worker Protection Manual will help WMATA provide a higher level of track worker safety than ever before.
July 28, 2010
On Tuesday, July 27th, members from the three Tri-State Oversight Committee agencies (including the Chair and Vice-Chair) attended the NTSB's public meeting regarding the June 22, 2009 Red Line crash on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metrorail) system.
Since the day of the collision, the TOC has worked closely with the NTSB as a party to their investigation. Our committee fully supports the NTSB's determination of probable cause, and acknowledge that the TOC has faced challenges in discharging our oversight responsibilities due to the structure of the TOC program and to limited regulatory authority. The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have committed to strengthening the TOC program, and have pledged additional resources for oversight activities.
We concur with the NTSB's recommendations and look forward to working with FTA, WMATA, the NTSB and our other partner safety organizations in the region to quickly and effectively implement them.
July 23, 2010
The TOC is pleased to announce the appointment of our second full-time member, James Benton, representing the Maryland Department of Transportation. Mr. Benton brings 26 years of experience in the rail transportation industry from his previous employment at the Maryland Transit Administration's Light Rail and subway operations.
July 6, 2010
On Friday evening (July 2, 2010) the TOC received a notification from WMATA's Chief Safety Officer, that a condition raising concerns about the safety of door control motor assemblies on 4000-series Metro railcars. We were informed that WMATA would be immediately removing those railcars from service until that condition could be corrected on each vehicle.
On Saturday, July 3rd, TOC members and consultant support staff participated in a conference call to discuss the identified problem with the 4000-series doors. Senior WMATA leadership as well as the Chief Safety Officer and support personnel were also on the call to provide information and respond to the TOC's questions and concerns.
On Sunday, July 4th, a TOC vehicle engineer met with WMATA's Chief Safety Officer and acting Deputy General Manager for Operations to conduct a field inspection of the 4000-series door motor overhaul process at the Greenbelt rail yard. As of Tuesday, July 6th, TOC has requested some additional information on this effort to help us independently analyze this hazard, as well as to assess WMATA's efforts in mitigating it.
WMATA has so far cooperated fully with the TOC on this matter, and based on the preliminary information gatghered by our organization, their decision to suspend the 4000-series railcars from passenger service appears to be a prudent and necessary measure. The TOC will continue to evaluate the situation and review Metro's safety efforts in accordance with our oversight responsibilities.
July 2, 2010
June 14, 2010
On Friday June 25, 2010, the TOC held a short out-briefing with WMATA to mark the conclusion of the on-site portion of the 2010 Triennial Safety and Security Review of the Metrorail. The TOC thanked WMATA for their cooperation and openness for the duration of the review. The TOC review team provided a brief verbal presentation of some preliminary findings observed during the on-site review. The findings described during this meeting were preliminary in nature; the TOC is still in the process of analyzing all of the information collected while on-site, and formulating some of its findings.
The Triennial Safety and Security Review is, by design, a "snapshot" of WMATA's implementation of its System Safety Program Plan (SSPP) and Security & Emergency Preparedness Plan (SEPP). A primary function of the Triennial Safety and Security Review is for the TOC, as an independent oversight body, to document whether WMATA is operating in accordance with its SSPP and SEPP, and other WMATA plans, policies, procedures, and adopted standards. The TOC also uses the review to make recommendations for improving plans, policies, and procedures, as well as the appropriate use of resources.
The review areas that will be discussed in the written report generally include, but are not limited to:
* Implementation of the Security and Emergency Preparedness Plan
* Implementation of the System Safety Program Plan
* Hazard management program
* Accident investigation process
* Internal safety and security audit program
* Rules and procedures compliance and enforcement
* Right-of-way worker protection program
* Facilities and equipment inspections
* Maintenance and inspection programs for safety critical systems
* Training and certification programs for front line employees
* Drug and alcohol testing program, and general employee fitness for duty
The TOC is fully aware that WMATA has faced challenges in recent times. WMATA has taken a number of positive steps to address safety-critical issues in recent months, and TOC will work closely with WMATA to ensure that WMATA continues to address safety and security issues, and that all of TOC's findings are addressed appropriately.
In the coming weeks, TOC will be developing a written report. The report will lay out the Triennial Safety and Security Review process, describe the functional areas reviewed and current conditions observed, and list a series of findings designed to help WMATA in its efforts with continuous improvement of overall safety and security of the Metrorail system. In accordance with TOC's requirements, WMATA will develop and implement corrective actions to address each of TOC's findings. As with previous such reviews, TOC will monitor implementation of these corrective actions to ensure that WMATA abides by its own specified activities and timetables.
The TOC is entering the third week of its Triennial Safety and Security Review of the WMATA Metrorail system. TOC members and consultants continue this effort with interviews, site visits, field inspections and document reviews. Last week's review activities included:
* Field observations and maintenance-personnel interviews relating to elevator/escalator systems
* Assessing WMATA's compliance with Federal Transit Administration drug-and-alcohol testing requirements
* Records reviews pertaining to WMATA's traction and facilities power systems
* Interviews regarding Rail Operator, Supervisor and Controller training and certification program requirements
* Discussions with WMATA engineers and project managers about safety certification in major capital projects.
This week, TOC members and consultants will meet with WMATA personnel to evaluate additional rail transportation programs, as well as track inspection, on-track safety and security/emergency preparedness programs.
The TOC again wishes to recognize WMATA's cooperation and support throughout this important effort.
June 9, 2010
The TOC's Triennial Safety & Security review of the WMATA Metrorail system continues this week as TOC members and consultants meet with WMATA personnel, conduct field inspections, and audit the rail transit agency's compliance with its rules, policies and procedures. Last week's review activities included, among others:
* Ride checks and rule compliance evaluations on the Red and Green Lines
* Observations at the Rail Operations Control Center
* Discussions with WMATA managers regarding capital programs, rulebook revisions and safety data collection
* On-site vehicle maintenance inspections at the Alexandria and West Falls Church rail yards
* Document reviews pertaining to the Automated Train Control system
* Tunnel and structural component inspections on the Blue, Yellow & Red Lines.
This week's review activities will examine procedures for rail operations and training programs, power systems, elevator and escalator maintenance, communications infrastructure and drug/alcohol testing, among others.
TOC appreciates WMATA's continued efforts in providing the support, access and information necessary to complete a comprehensive and accurate safety and security review.