Road 3 -- Safety Education, Outreach, and Training

Road 3 -- Safety Education, Outreach, and Training

In addition to promulgating safety standards, it is necessary to provide education on the application of DOT standards and regulations as well as outreach and training on best practices. As a part of this education, outreach, and training function, DOT maintains a strong relationship with the Nation's safety and first responder communities, i.e., police, fire, emergency medical services, etc. These communities have daily contact with the public and will have a strong influence on advising which technologies will be integrated into society.

Prior to mass deployment of hydrogen vehicles and the supporting transportation infrastructure, effective hydrogen safety education must be rigorously provided. First responders must have the proper knowledge and training to best respond to an accident. The long-term operation and safety of the transportation system also depends on having an appropriately trained workforce to conduct the inspections and execute the maintenance and repairs to meet the public's safety needs.

Anticipated Long-Term Outcomes

The long-term outcome for safety outreach and education is strong public confidence in the safety of hydrogen vehicle systems and infrastructure. This also will be reinforced by the comfort level among first responders who are confident that they have the knowledge and ability to effectively respond to incidents. The approach taken to foster these outcomes is program outreach and education to develop well-trained first responders and inspection and maintenance forces, as well as efforts to educate state and local regulatory authorities, operators, and the general public.

Challenges and Requirements

As hydrogen use expands from an industrial commodity to consumer and commercial applications, it will be necessary to train a variety of individuals, groups, and communities in the operation, maintenance, use, and handling of hydrogen systems. Proper techniques for avoiding and managing unintended releases, spills, and accidents must also be taught.

Pathways, Projects, and Products

An organizational flow chart for Road 3 (Figure 4) illustrates the major DOT-wide pathways, projects, and products, and their interrelationship with the other Roads. The primary activity is the development of first responder, maintenance, and end-user educational and training materials. These materials will be integrated into the existing training and outreach programs for the responsible handling of hazardous materials.

Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (RITA)

RITA, through various partnerships and initiatives, will expand its already extensive training and outreach activities on hazardous materials transportation, including pipeline safety, to encompass the new risks and responsibilities associated with a hydrogen economy. For example, RITA is working with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) in communities where hydrogen pipelines and infrastructure may be located. The partnership outreach programs will also improve the fire services' capabilities to respond to accidents and incidents involving hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles. This activity is an extension of the existing partnership between PHMSA and NASFM in regards to natural gas pipelines outreach and education. This expanded partnership will complement the broader DOE Education Subprogram, and will focus on the environmental, technical, economic and social aspects of the hydrogen economy.

The Transportation Safety Institute 3 (TSI) in Oklahoma City, will also offer related safety and security education. TSI is RITA's premier training organization for transit, aviation, pipeline, motor carrier, highway safety, hazardous materials, and risk management both nationally and internationally

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

PHMSA, NHTSA, and RITA will develop and advise on Train the Trainer materials for first responders and hazardous material cleanup crews. DOT will work with DOE to identify additional hydrogen-specific safety concerns and to develop methods for mitigating and responding to these potential events. These concerns and response methods will be shared with communities for broad outreach and education through DOT-DOE partnerships.

The regularly revised Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) will include expanded material on container systems developed for hydrogen storage and transport. In addition, PHMSA, in conjunction with RITA, will evaluate data generated under the auspices of the DOE program and conduct research (if warranted) on plume modeling to update and expand the ERG. Novel storage materials and systems used for hydrogen may pose unique or different first responder risks than conventional fuels. DOT will regularly assess the need for expanded and improved first responder training programs to address these new technologies. In many instances, DOT may be able to leverage the development of these new programs with the ongoing RDD&D efforts of DOE and industry.

Maritime Administration (MARAD)

MARAD plans to develop a hydrogen and fuel cell transportation laboratory at the federally-owned United States Merchant Marine Academy. Although approximately half of the students are trained as marine engineers, the intermodal aspects of the maritime industry result in many graduates entering related transportation fields. The fuel cell transportation laboratory will train students in state-of-the-art hydrogen technologies and serve as a venue for community and professional outreach.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

FTA is developing training manuals and educational programs for transit agencies operating fuel cell buses. These programs will address the safe operations and maintenance of all fuel options, including compressed and liquid hydrogen, methanol, ethanol, metal and chemical hydride storage, and other advanced storage technologies. Similarly, training manuals and programs will be developed to ensure the safe operations and maintenance of the high voltage systems of fuel cell buses. This effort builds upon earlier efforts conducted by FTA with SunLine Transit in Coachella Valley, CA, and the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, CA.

Other DOT Administrations

Consistent with decades of effective communication and outreach activity, the DOT operating administrations will continue coordination with other authorities having jurisdiction. In addition to training early adopters, operators, repair and maintenance personnel, and consumers, there needs to be a systematic documentation of safety-related incidents in a manner that supports the efforts outlined in Roads 1, 2 and 4. One approach to accomplish the reporting of incidents in each transportation mode is through NHTSA's ARTEMIS 4 database system. Another complementary approach is to use the One DOT reporting center to document hydrogen incidents.


Trained professionals will be required as deployment proceeds. Consequently, training and outreach programs on hydrogen fuel need to be implemented ahead of large-scale commercial deployment of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The development of these training programs, beginning with the review of available information and identification of knowledge and program gaps, will begin in FY05. Effective education and outreach programs are anticipated to be in place during the 2010-2015 timeframe.


DOE has an extensive program focused on all aspects of hydrogen education. It currently supports the development of curricula for all grade levels, the general public, policymakers, and local officials. Specific audiences, such as first responders, require specialized safety-related training, the development of which will benefit from close collaboration with DOE. In addition, MARAD will develop university programs and curricula specific to marine applications based in part on materials developed in cooperation with DOE.

3 The Transportation Safety Institute is an office within RITA that develops and conducts safety, security, and environmental training, products and services for all DOT agencies, other government agencies, and the private sector:

4 The Early Warning Reporting System (EWRS) identifies vehicle defects. The database that houses this information is called ARTEMIS: Advanced Retrieval (Tires, Equipment, Motor Vehicles) Information System.