Center Report on Establishing a National Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program Now Available

Posted August 2014

For the past five years, the Center has worked to establish a nationally recognized qualification system for rail vehicle technicians, as part of an effort to develop standards-based training for all frontline technical occupations in US public transportation.  This work was made possible by funding from the Transportation Research Board (TRB).  Project director Chris Jencks states “The development and implementation of new rail vehicle technologies in transit systems around the country have had profound effects. While these technologies have greatly benefited customers and agencies alike, they also have led to difficulties. The internal training capacity of the transit industry has had trouble keeping up with the pace of innovation, and it has become increasingly difficult to hire new external applicants with the specialized skills needed for the new equipment. Upgrading the skills of the workforce that maintains this new technology and developing a system that does this on an ongoing basis is of the utmost importance to the industry.”

Key outcomes of this project include:

  Best practices of qualification programs across different occupations and countries.  Findings available in the Center report International and Domestic Comparisons: Building Capacity for Transit Training 
  Nationally recognized learning objectives, curriculum and courseware
  Drafting and approval of a nationally recognized rail vehicle technician apprenticeship program through the US Department of Labor
  A report on best practices for hands on instruction - Training for Transportation Technicians: Which Delivery Methods Work Best?
  Joint labor-management development and validation of assessments (Note that EDSI helped lead this process)
  A credential management system for tracking the qualification experience of technicians across the industry
  Pilots of the entire qualification process at transit locations across the country

For more information, read TCRP Report 170 on TRB’s website or contact Project Manager Mark Dysart.

Back to News & Events

Latest Publication

Providing Training for Zero Emission Buses

Read the full report here.

Related Links