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The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) yesterday shared its recently published study that shows its safety culture assessment (SCA) process is transferrable from freight to commuter railroads.
The report also suggests that commuter operations would benefit from SLSI's services, institute officials said in a press release.
The SLSI conducted a pilot study with a commuter-rail operator last year by using the SCA process. The study's purpose was to investigate the extent to which the SCA process could be adapted and applied to commuter or transit-rail operations.
Two notable changes were made to protocols and procedures to conduct the study. Despite those changes, the study found the SLSI's SCA model is transferable from freight to commuter operations, according to a Federal Railroad Administration report on the study.
An analysis of the methodology and results of the SCA conducted at the commuter railroad indicated that the process was able to produce the same result as an SCA performed at a freight railroad. The SLSI assessor team helped the commuter railroad find opportunities for improvement that may ultimately improve safety on its properties, SLSI officials said.
"Based on the study results, we are excited about the possibility of providing support to commuter operations, as a demonstrated, strong safety culture is an industry-wide mission [that's] not limited to just freight railroads," said SLSI Executive Director Tom Murta.
The SLSI has been conducting voluntary, nonpunitive and confidential SCAs on short-line and regional freight railroads since 2015. The SCA is an evaluation based on the U.S. Department of Transportation Safety Council's Ten Core Elements for a Strong Safety Culture.
After the SCA is completed, the institute offers technical assistance to railroads interested in making changes to improve the safety cultures at their organizations.