Patrick J. Lavin has been appointed by Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey and Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca to be the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) chief safety officer. Lavin has 40 years of experience in transportation safety and operations, including as a subject matter expert and technical writer to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Safety Review Panel in 2019. He was previously executive vice president and chief safety officer for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), where he implemented the Agency Safety Plan, developed organizational policy to identify vulnerabilities and inefficiencies with operations and launched new initiatives involving fatigue management, improved employee safety via improved personal protective equipment and enhanced roadway worker protection processes, and senior director for operations in the Office of System Safety of New York City Transit (NYC Transit).
The MassDOT Chief Safety Officer is a new position created by Gov. Healey. In the role, Lavin will report directly to the secretary of transportation and MBTA general manager and serve as the primary representative for overall safety issues relating to transportation. He will be charged with ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all employees, passengers and the public in all modes of transportation, including rail, bus, commuter rail, paratransit and highway. Lavin will begin his new role May 8.
“Pat Lavin is a dedicated public transportation expert who shares our administration’s commitment to improving safety and reliability across our transportation system, including the MBTA,” Gov. Healey said. “We created this position to ensure we had a senior official coordinating efforts across all modes of transportation and driving strategies across the system to improve safety for riders and workers. I’m confident he will work closely with secretary Fiandaca and general manager Eng to deliver the service the people of Massachusetts deserve.”
“We’re excited to welcome Pat Lavin to Massachusetts at this critical moment for our public transportation system. It is so important that we have a proven leader at the helm who will make sure that safety is at the forefront of all of our decision making,” said Lieutenant Gov. Kimberley Driscoll. “Pat has a track record of delivering results at large, metropolitan systems across the country, and we know he will do the same here.”
Since May of 2019, Lavin has served as director of operations safety and investigations at K & J Safety and Security Consulting Services, where he has been responsible for performing risk-based operational safety assessments, developing agency specific incident investigation procedures and assisting transit agencies in addressing the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) safety advisories and directives.
Lavin led the K & J team in the development of the FTA’s Rail and Bus Guidelines for Accident Investigation. In addition, Lavin managed the creation of training plans and hazard analysis for the Bay Area Rapid Transit operations, the New York State Public Transportation Board, the WMATA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, the Memphis Area Transit Authority, Honolulu Rapid Transportation and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.
At WMATA, Lavin focused on employee safety by implementing the Advanced Mobile Flagger concept, which provides forewarning to train operators that employees are present on the right of way. He also focused on customer safety, initiating an occupational therapy evaluation to prevent injuries involving passengers with disabilities during boarding and installing video monitors to improve the view of train operators at entrances.
Lavin worked at NYC Transit for more than 30 years, ultimately serving as senior director of operations in the Office of System Safety, where he conducted system-wide investigations for trains and buses, primarily for collisions, derailments, serious injuries and fatal incidents. As a senior manager in operations, he led teams inspecting, testing, repairing and maintaining train control signals. In addition, he managed the budget, safety and employee development training, led the implementation of a train-the-trainer program for barcode reader technology and oversaw the response to signal interruptions and emergency conditions. Lavin’s experience included working on bus fires and mechanical failure incidents, leading the coordination of activities to address derailments occurring across the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s three rail agencies and leading an interdisciplinary team to identify and adopt new technologies to reduce serious employee injuries during the installation of rails.
Lavin is certified by the Federal Department of Transportation’s Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program and Transit Safety and Security Program. He is also certified by the World Safety Organization as a safety and security director. He received his Bachelor of Science in Labor Studies from Empire State College and a Master’s of Science in Transportation Planning and Management from Polytechnic University.