As assaults at transit agencies have skyrocketed recently, the Biden administration is taking action to try to curtail the crimes.
Calling the levels of assaults at transit agencies “unacceptable,” federal regulators have proposed requiring all transit agencies to conduct a worker safety assessment.
In a Wednesday press release, Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, said:
“Everyone deserves a safe workplace, including and especially the frontline transit workers who keep our nation moving. Assaults on transit workers are unacceptable, and I look forward to working with leaders across the transit industry on ways to further enhance the safety of these essential workers.”
The Federal Transportation Agency of the Department of Transportation published a new General Directive proposal this week. It states that all transit agencies must create an Agency Safety Plan within 60 days of the directive being issued.
That will fall under a much wider regulation program that’s called the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans.
In addition, the agencies have to take other actions, including conducting a risk assessment “related to assaults on transit workers on the public transportation system.”
The press release outlined that, between 2008 and 2021, there were 241 reportable assaults on transit workers on average.
In the release, Nuria Fernandez, the administrator of the FTA, said:
“Each day, transit workers nationwide are responsible for moving millions of Americans to their jobs, schools and other daily activities, and we must ensure that their safety remains a top priority. This proposed General Directive is part of FTA’s ongoing comprehensive efforts to improve transit worker safety.”
Earlier in the year, the Biden administration created a road map that includes massive investments in public transportation around the country. This new General Directive is part of that, officials said.
The road map is an outline of how the overall transportation sector can lower their emissions through 2050. It applies to multiple federal agencies and includes policies that apply to the short term and the long term.
Some of that includes selling even more electrical vehicles, investing in public transportation and rails, making biking and walking safer, and providing more convenient options for transportation.
There are several “levers” built into the road map that will help the sector get to net-zero emissions, according to the Biden administration. This includes regulations at the local, state and federal levels, and investing in infrastructure, research and development.
The Biden administration has been aiming to get the entire country to a carbon-neutral status by 2050, though that would require significant reductions in emissions across many industries.
Yet, the focus is on transportation, since the sector was estimated to be responsible for 27% of all emissions back in 2020 — the largest of any single sector in the U.S.
In a statement, Buttigieg commented:
“Transportation policy is inseparable from housing and energy policy, and transportation accounts for a major share of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so we must work together in an integrated way to confront the climate crisis. Every decision about transportation is also an opportunity to build a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.”