Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, planning - safety/accidents, organisation - management, organisation - workforce planning, mode - bus


Case studies, Discipline, Employees, Interviewing, Literature reviews, Personnel performance, Rewards, State of the practice, Surveys, Transit operating agencies, Transit safety


This synthesis addresses the current practices and experiences of public transit agencies in applying both corrective actions and rewards to recognize, motivate, and reinforce a safety culture within their organizations. The synthesis may be used to aid public transit agencies and other stakeholders in deciding how to proceed in this area. A literature review summarizes reports and documents, addressing the connection between employee safety performance and reward programs, as well as the effectiveness of reward/discipline initiatives in transit organizations. The survey of selected transit agencies yielded an 83% response rate, 25 of 30. Follow-up telephone interviews held across the country included a range of small to large transit agencies, rural and urban, and multimodal systems and addressed such issues as organizational commitment to safety, engagement of the work force, labor partnerships, safety standards and practices, rewards and discipline, and operations and maintenance. Nine case studies offer additional insight on active and innovative practices and related issues on the use of reward and discipline programs to promote and improve bus transit safety. Case study agencies were: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Texas); Fayetteville Area System of Transit (North Carolina); GO Transit (Ontario, Canada); King County Metro (Seattle, Washington); Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (Twin Cities, Minnesota); River Cities Public Transit (Pierre, South Dakota); SouthWest Transit (Eden Prairie, Minnesota); Utah Transit Authority (Salt Lake City, Utah); and Wind River Transportation Authority (Riverton, Wyoming).


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.