Department of Transportation State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program

The rail transit industry has a strong safety record. A small percentage of transportation fatalities that occur in the United States are attributed to commuter rail, heavy rail and light rail. When this number is further broken down to include just rail transit fatalities, only 0.2 percent of all transportation fatalities are rail transit-related. However, significant accidents continue to occur, and the accident rate has not shown substantive improvement in recent years. Moreover, recent accidents have highlighted specific issues that need prompt government and industry attention. 

In addition, the strong growth of rail transit and highway traffic continues to drive up the exposure of motorist, pedestrians and trespassers at highway-rail grade crossings and along the right-of-way. The State Safety Oversight Program (SSOP), currently managed by The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Safety Review within the Office of Transit Safety and Oversight (TSO), is charged with delivering programs that ensure the highest possible level of safety and security for the nation’s public transportation systems. 


With a focus on the development of standards, criteria, plans, procedures, and processes for implementation by states and rail transit agencies (RTAs), Longevity supports safety oversight activities of State Safety Oversight (SSO) programs, and supports TSO-20’s core functions – collecting safety data on rail transit agencies (RTA), conducting audits of SSO agencies State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOA) that oversee RTAs, and providing outreach and technical assistance to those same RTAs and SSOAs. 

With continuous evaluation of each state program, Longevity’s agile teams provide programmatic and technical support (monitoring, technical assistance, networking, and dissemination of context, data analysis, and training across relevant fields), as well as training, guidance, and a forum for idea exchange. 


By evaluating the development and implementation of state oversight and rail transit agency safety and security programs as per applicable regulations, requirements, and FTA guidance, we have impacted the development, and delivery of technical assistance and training, which guides state and rail transit agency program development and implementation. This has resulted in increased response rates to industry and government inquiries and needs related to FTA’s safety and security program implementation, as well as smooth coordination with other FTA programs to ensure quality delivery of its safety and security program.

  • Increased program monitoring and technical assistance for special projects and interventions, which can include investigations or inspections at RTAs, on-site inquiries or investigations at SSOAs, direct administration of an SSO program, and imposing prohibitions or restrictions on an RTA.
  • Improvement in performance of inspections of transit agency facilities and infrastructure such as track and power systems. 
  • Continuous monitoring and evaluation of hazard and corrective action plan (CAP) identification and resolution has improved investigation of accidents and incidents, as well as the development and documentation of procedures for performing safety oversight. 
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