Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, TRA has worked with its clients to coordinate and transition scheduled onsite activities to virtual platforms when possible, for the safety of employees and our clients. Throughout May and June, TRA helped assist the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) State Safety Oversight Agency (IL-SSOA) conduct several components of a triennial audit of rail system maintenance at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The audit was originally scheduled to take place onsite at CTA in April 2020, which was arranged in advance of COVID-19 travel restrictions and state-wide stay at home orders. Rather than postponing the audit entirely, TRA worked with the IL-SSOA to reschedule the audit in several phases, including a remote review of pertinent documents, as well as virtual interviews and record reviews with CTA personnel.
The planning phases of the virtual audit required a great deal of coordination with IL-SSOA and CTA to accommodate remote activities and key stakeholder participation. The virtual interviews and record reviews were conducted by video teleconference, and equipment was tested throughout April and May to ensure all parties were comfortable with the software and that CTA personnel had remote access to share relevant documents. The audit team reviewed departmental responsibilities, maintenance practices, procedures, communications, hazard management, and safety protocols throughout the virtual sessions. In addition, CTA shared electronic inspection records, bulletins, procedures, and safety communications throughout each virtual session. The IL-SSOA team and CTA continue to plan for the onsite field review portion of the audit, which is tentatively scheduled for September 2020.