Keeping people safe – whether it is a passenger or an employee – is always the underlying first priority for Knoxville Area Transit (KAT). That focused intention has garnered KAT the coveted 2018 Gold Award in Safety and Security from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
The competition, open to all fixed route bus systems in the United States and Canada, focuses on safety programs and policies which show results over three years and can be easily replicated by other transit systems. KAT received the Gold Award in the small transit system category – defined as systems carrying 4 million passenger trips or fewer annually. Some of the successes helping to secure the award included:
- A reduction in preventable accidents by 92%. Accidents defined as preventable were reduced from 74 in 2015 down to 6 in 2017. Preventable accidents can be as small as a scratched rear-view mirror to more major bus damage. This reduction in preventable accidents consequently also reduced the amount spent on preventable accident-related bus repairs, from $67,015 to $10,461 in just 3 years.
- A reduction in passenger falls on board buses. A small change in policy brought the number of incidents down to zero since the implementation of the new program in September of 2016.
- Zero preventable accidents during snow events for four years running. KAT proudly spotlighted winter weather successes – with ice and snow appearing on Knoxville’s city streets – there were zero reported preventable accidents during snow events from 2014 through 2017.
The reasons for the success include new driver training procedures, reminders to operators through internal radio announcements and decals posted at their driving stations such as “When in doubt, stop”; new intensive focus training for all operators to refresh their driving skills; new policies going beyond standard procedures for passenger safety; and an emphasis on driving defensively during weather events.
“We are very proud of what we’ve achieved,” says Odell Draper, KAT’s Director of Operations and Safety. “We have a great group of bus operators dedicated to focusing on safety every single day, and that clearly shows in these amazing results.”
Draper, along with the City’s Director of Transit Dawn Distler, will be accepting the award at an American Public Transportation Association event in May.
“Last year, APTA recognized KAT with the 2017 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award for small North American transit systems,” Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “I’m not at all surprised that KAT’s reputation for excellence continues to grow, this year with a prestigious international award recognizing its insistence on safety. KAT provides about 3 million passenger trips each year, and KAT employees’ top priority is always the care of their passengers.”
For more information on KAT’s routes and service, please visit www.katbus.com or call 865-637-3000.