TRA is no stranger to conducting work remotely – over one-third of our consulting team routinely works from an office that is not the headquarters in Philadelphia. Amidst frequent travel and field work, it is part of our standard operating practice to remain accessible and productive through email, phone calls, and web conferences. Yet with the COVID-19 pandemic, TRA has had to adapt to new ways of doing business. Although the Philadelphia headquarters office is closed and travel on hold, TRA continues to meet clients’ needs in innovative ways.
As federal guidance and state stay-at-home orders necessitated over the past month, TRA Project Managers coordinated with clients to determine how to manage the need to conduct planned meetings, often taking the approach of performing virtual site visits. For State Safety Oversight (SSO) projects, this included communications with overseen transit agencies to ensure essential staff could meet the needs of employee and patron safety. Engagement with transit agency personnel is being prioritized to focus first on safety-critical, time-sensitive efforts such as updating agency responses to COVID-19. Meeting agendas are structured such that transit agency personnel can fulfill their current critical duties while also continuing to meet important safety compliance standards.
TRA is also working with SSO clients and transit agencies to hold virtual work sessions when possible. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) held an SSO meeting with the Kansas City Streetcar team to review Corrective Action Plans and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan development. Using web conference software, MoDOT, TRA, and KC Streetcar personnel were able to jointly view the same screen, share documents, and discuss feedback with one another. This functionality meant the meeting was more efficient and productive than a series of emails or a voice-only teleconference.
In lieu of site visits, TRA is working with SSO clients to arrange meetings via videoconference so that the SSO team can accomplish oversight activities that would normally be done with an in-person meeting or inspection. This includes audits of safety, security, and emergency preparedness program compliance, as well as safety risk management and Corrective Action Plan verification activities.