• Rail Transit Safety and Security

    The CPUC has safety and security regulatory authority over all rail transit agencies (RTAs) in California, and works in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the RTAs to enhance public safety and security. The CPUC's State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program was approved and certified by the Federal Transit Administration in accordance with the requirements of Federal public transportation safety law (49 United States Code §5329(e)) and FTA's SSO regulation (49 Code of Federal Regulation Part 674), on October 23, 2018. The CPUC’s Rail Transit Safety Branch (RTSB) implements the Commission’s program, and focuses on verification of compliance with the System Safety Program Plan, System Security Plans, and Safety Certification Plans of each RTA to ensure that these plans meet all state and federal rules and regulations, and that RTAs are effectively implementing those plans and the RTA's adopted policies and procedures. 

    RTSB’s engineers and analysts conduct continuous review and safety oversight of design and construction of capital projects, operations, emergency response, accident reporting, and incident investigation.  The RTSB inspectors conduct on-site visits to inspect infrastructure and vehicles, monitor operations, evaluate maintenance practices, and other activities to identify noncompliance, safety concerns, and unsafe conditions. 

    The CPUC also prescribes safety and security requirements for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of heavy rail transit, light-rail transit, trolleys, and funicular systems in its General Orders, and assures those are carried out through RTSB activities and Commission Resolutions and Decisions pertaining to rail transit matters. The CPUC ensures that all rail transit system extensions and new construction projects undergo a safety certification review and approval.

    On August 3, 2016, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox sent a letter to Governor Brown asking that all states attain Federal Transit Administration-approved safety certification for rail transit safety programs.  The CPUC's rail transit program is one of only two programs in the nation that is already certified based on the CPUC's existing rail transit safety oversight jurisdiction and the technical capacity of our program.

  • FTA Certification Letter
    CPUC's SSO program was approved on October 23, 2018

    CPUC State Safety Oversight Agency Program Standard Procedures Manual
    Program Standard dated September 14, 2018, approved with FTA Certification

    Safety and Security Reviews
    Reports summarizing comprehensive safety and security reviews of rail transit agencies conducted by CPUC staff

    Rail Transit Incidents Overview
    Number of rail transit incidents, injuries and fatalities

    Rail Transit Citation Program
    Provides information about CPUC's rail transit citation program and CPUC's citation appeal program

    2015 CPUC Annual Report: Rail Transit
    Some highlights of Rail Transit Safety Branch activities in 2015

    Rail Transit Safety Rules and Regulations
    Rules and regulations about rail transit safety and security

    Websites on Rail Transit
    Websites of rail transit agencies and other government agencies involved in rail transit safety


    Rail Transit Safety Branch Contacts
    List of Names, responsibilities, mailing address, phone number, and email address for Rail Transit Safety Branch staff


    OSHA Factsheet on Whistleblowers
    Read the “Whistleblower Protection for Public Transportation Agency Workers” factsheet prepared by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

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  • CPUC also regulates the safety of both publicly and privately owned railroad and rail transit companies/agencies, and rail crossings.

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