The Federal Railroad Administration’s mission is to enable the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future.
FRA accomplishes this mission primarily through
- issuance, implementation, and enforcement of safety regulations,
- selective investment in rail corridors across the country, and
- research and technology development.
FRA’s $1.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2012 funded about 900 staff, safety and compliance activities, grant oversight and development, research and technology, and operating, capital, and debt service assistance to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak).
About 600 safety inspectors, specialists, and other staff work out of 8 field offices across the United States and 300 staff are based in Washington, D.C.
Today, FRA regulates more than 760 railroads (including 27 passenger, 8 switching and terminal, approximately 134 tourist/excursion/historical, and 640 freight railroads).
The railroad industry serves as a major U.S. economic driver and in 2011:
- hauled the Nation’s freight over 712 million train-miles;
- carried more than 650 million passengers over 20 billion miles;
- employed around 230,000 workers who logged more than 457 million employee-hours.
FRA’s activities have led to one of rail transportation’s safest decades ever. The number of rail-related accidents and incidents:
- declined by 22 percent;
- train accidents dropped by 28 percent;
- fatalities and injuries fell by 27 percent; and,
- highway-rail grade crossing incidents decreased by 36 percent.
From 2007 to 2010, FRA’s responsibilities grew from a primary focus on improving safety to a multidimensional core of safety and development activities. The Rail Safety Improvement Act, Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and subsequent appropriation acts transformed FRA with new requirements, initiatives, and more than $10 billion for rail corridor improvement, development, and planning grants.
The Administration is composed of 7 offices
- Office of the Administrator
- Office of Communications
- Office of Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer
- Office of Chief Counsel
- Office of Administration
- Office of Railroad Policy and Development
- Office of Chief Financial Officer
Eight Regional Administrators, under the supervision of the Chief Safety Officer, are primarily responsible for enforcement of all Federal laws and regulations related to railroad safety and developing, implementing and monitoring a regional safety program.