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At its rail conference yesterday in Montreal, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced the winners of its annual Rail Safety and Security Excellence Awards, which recognize North American transit-rail agencies for excellence in safety and security programs and operations. Receiving APTA Gold awards were Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Virginia Railway Express (VRE), MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Receiving certificates of merit were the Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) and Metro Transit in Minneapolis."These transit systems have found ways to harness new technologies, develop new approaches, and establish best practices to create safer environments and mobility options for the riding public," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy in a press release.In the heavy rail category, STM's Gold Award for Security recognized the agency's efforts to find a new way to systematically address the presence of homeless people in their underground stations, while WMATA's Gold Award for Safety recognized its efforts to rebuild its safety program over the past four years to reduce incidents involving right-of-way workers.In the commuter/intercity/regional rail category, VRE's Gold Award for Security honored the agency's effort to improve existing joint emergency drills conducted with area first responders; VRE re-evaluated and revamped its drill program. LIRR's Gold Award for Safety recognized the railroad for innovative, behavior-based approach to risk-reduction that targets safety rules violations through management “intervention.”In the light-rail category, MBTA's Gold Award for Security honored that agency's June 2013 opening of a new, state-of-the-art public transit emergency training facility. Constructed with U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant funds, the center was developed to revamp MBTA's emergency preparedness training program.Also in the light-rail category, RTD's Certificate of Merit for Safety acknowledged the agency's efforts to work with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to create a joint audit process that focuses on performance-driven results. Meanwhile, Metro Transit's Certificate of Merit for Safety recognized the agency for using the anticipated opening of its new Green Line to revisit procedures and training for on-track worker protection on the right of way.
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