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VTA's Safety Culture


As part of National Rail Safety Month, we want to take the opportunity to remind the community that everything VTA does centers around safety and we are committed to consistently maintaining the highest level of safety performance.

VTA is committed to implementing, maintaining and consistently improving procedures to achieve this standard throughout a system that services close to 2 million people.  With 346 square miles of service area, VTA has 70 bus routes providing 29 million rides a year and 3 light rail routes providing 10 million rides a year.

At VTA, safety is a multi-tiered approach, where a number of components come together to create our safety culture.  Those components include how the divisions of VTA are organized with an eye toward safety; compliance with local, state and federal regulations; hardening our system with visual and auditory warnings (e.g. signs, lights, bells, horns, mirrors, cameras and wheel guards) that will make it as safe as possible; and continued safety training.

Here’s an overview of how it’s done:

  • VTA Office of Safety and Compliance works with the following Divisions and Teams:
    • Operations Division – to address hazards observed at operating facilities, conduct monthly facility inspections, and work with a union Safety Officer to quickly resolve safety concerns. 
    • Engineering and Program Delivery Team – to ensure projects comply with safety regulations in engineering and as delivered.
    • Business Services Division – to conduct Drug and Alcohol screening and to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • Sheriff’s Transit Patrol and Protective Services Teams – to protect the public riding our system and VTA assets.
    • Fare Inspectors Team – to report any unsafe conditions or incidents on the system.
VTA is regulated by a number of state and federal agencies including the Federal Transit Administration, California Public Utilities Commission, California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, California Highway Patrol, and State Office of Emergency Services.   VTA is also required to comply with various local regulations issued by the County of Santa Clara and the 15 cities within the county.

On our bus system, horns, multiple mirrors, cameras, wheel guards, and Mobile Eye obstacle detectors are some of the tools used to protect passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, in addition to VTA operators keeping a keen eye out to avoid any safety hazards on the roads.

VTA staff also engage in classroom training, field training, drills and functional exercises with other agencies to respond to large scale incidents on our system and throughout the region.

Another critical component of our safety culture is educating and engaging the public about our system.  We use multiple information platforms to share safety tips, education and announcements including our Headways blog, the VTA website, and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Multiple periodic campaigns, like the one we’re running this month, also serve as effective tools.  “See Something Say Something” encourages riders to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious or potentially dangerous situations.

At VTA, safety is a culture, a priority and a responsibility we take very seriously.

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