The Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation (CTSSA) Program
This is a program designed to promote the safety and security of the customers of community and public transportation systems and also to promote the safety and security of the women and men who deliver these services and provide mobility for the riding public every day. CTAA is accomplishing this goal by working with member agencies, our board of directors, and experts in the field to determine standards for safety and security and by developing a program to assess an organization's achievement in meeting those standards.
Keeping employees, customers, and communities safe and secure is a top priority for all community transportation agencies. There are at least three reasons why this is true:
CTAA offers the Certified Safety and Security Officer (CSSO) and the Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation (CTSSA) programs to provide transit systems with the comprehensive set of tools necessary to meet this critical safety, security, and emergency preparedness responsibility and to recognize individual and agency mission accomplishments.
As a partner to the Federal Transit Administration's Bus Safety and Security Memorandum of Understanding, CTAA has developed the CSSO and CTSSA programs as a two-part process to provide education, support, and recognition to individuals and transit organizations in the critical areas of safety and security.
What Is Accreditation?
For CTAA, accreditation is a process by which community and public transit systems, not individuals, are reviewed to determine whether they meet certain standards of quality. Accredited status is not permanent; it has to be renewed through periodic review on a three-year basis.
Accreditation is both a status and a process. As a status, accreditation provides public notification that an institution or program meets standards of quality set forth by an accrediting agency, in this instance CTAA. As a process, accreditation reflects the fact that in achieving recognition by the accrediting agency, the institution is committed to self-assessment and external review not only to meet standards but also to continuously seek ways in which to enhance the safe and secure transportation services your customers expect and deserve.
Having the CTSSA seal of approval demonstrates your commitment to meeting these standards.
What Is a Standard?
Accreditation standards are statements that define and set expectations about fundamental essentials for quality. In this case the standards are specifically set to determine achievement in the area of safety and security.
Why Is This Accreditation Important?
This accreditation is important for several reasons:
The greatest value of accreditation lies in the process itself. It encourages self-evaluation and voluntary monitoring of your transit organization to ensure the highest quality in the areas of safety and security.
Steps to Accreditation
Each agency that seeks to be accredited must first have a CSSO (Certified Safety and Security Officer) on staff. This individual will begin the accreditation process by conducting a structured series of interviews and examinations, in the eight areas at the core of the CSSO training program.
The CSSO will then share the results within the organization. If the organization decides to proceed to accreditation, they will submit a summary report (also known as the reviewer accreditation checklist) to CTAA for review.
The Association will then conduct a "desk review" of the completed accreditation checklist. This review will consist of a thorough review of the application, including telephone and e-mail inquiries to clear up any questions and to ascertain the applicant's preparedness for the on-site review.
CTAA and the applicant organization will then arrange for an on-site review, which may take two to three days. The CTAA reviewer will inspect the facilities and vehicles of the applicant organization, interview relevant staff, board members, and other officials, and inspect related files and documents. The reviewer will prepare a written report on the findings of the on-site review and submit that to the applicant agency for review and comment before submission to the CTAA Accreditation Committee.
The CTAA Accreditation Committee will review this report. Assuming all eight areas meet the program's benchmarks, CTAA will then issue the organization a Community Transportation Safety and Security Certificate of Accreditation, valid for three years. Should the organization not meet the benchmarks in 1 or more areas, the CTAA accreditation panel will issue a report identifying any deficiencies and recommending steps to correct them. Once an organization has completed those steps, they may request another on-site inspection to achieve accreditation.
CTSSA accreditation is valid for three years and reaccreditation requires that all steps in the original application be repeated.
What Are the Fees Associated With the Accreditation Process?
The total cost of the accreditation process is $6,000. This can be broken down as follows:
Who Are the CSSOs and How Are They Qualified?
The CSSO personnel are critical to the success and integrity of this safety and security program. What is essential is that the reviewers are fully qualified and certified through a rigorous process modeled after the existing professional credentials that CTAA has designed for the community transit industry. The potential reviewer must meet the criteria outlined by the CSSO application, attend the two-day CSSO training workshop, and pass all sections of the qualifying examination.
Governance: Who Maintains the Program's Quality and Integrity?
There are three levels of oversight and program management to the Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation Program:
All accreditation documents are to be submitted over the signature of the organization's chief executive officer and be accompanied by a resolution or similar document from the governing body of the organization endorsing the submission.
Confidentiality: All documents submitted to the CTAA National Certification Council shall be received, processed, and maintained as confidential.