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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) on June 19 recognized four transit agencies for their excellence in safety and security programs and operations. APTA's annual safety/security awards ceremony was held at the association's 2016 rail conference in Phoenix.In the heavy-rail category, the Maryland Transit Administration received the gold award for security. The agency was recognized for its "Zone Enforced Unified Sweeps" (ZEUS) Program, which has led to a 49 percent reduction in "major crime" on the subway, according to an APTA press release. The Maryland agency also received the gold award for light-rail safety — there have been no on-track-related employee injuries or fatalities since the agency implemented its Light-Rail Railroad Worker Protection Program.In the commuter-rail safety category, MTA Metro-North Railroad took home the gold. The agency implemented a new procedure for protecting track workers: Under the system, only the foreman in the field can release the track for trains with a unique code, one the train dispatcher doesn't have.Also, two systems received certificates of merit for light-rail safety: San Diego Metropolitan Transit System for its "Building on a Foundation of Safety" initiative; and the Utah Transit Authority for its "TRAX Light Rail Pedestrian Treatments and Enhancements" program.Meanwhile, APTA also announced the winners of its 24th annual International Rail Rodeo competitions, which are held concurrently with the rail conference.Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority won the Rail Transit Team Achievement Award, which is given to the system with the highest rail operator and maintainer team combined score. The Regional Transportation District of Denver won first place in the operators' competition, which measures skills such as train operation, knowledge of safety regulation, train equipment, and track right-of-way rules and procedures. Additionally, Bay Area Rapid Transit won the maintainers competition, in which participants are evaluated on their ability to troubleshoot maintenance problems.
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