Transportation Alternatives president Ned Einstein began working on transportation safety almost from the inception of his career – authoring a Summary of the National Survey of Handicapped People submitted to Congress in 1976. Because the purpose of passenger transportation is effectively "safe mobility," safety has been a component of virtually every endeavor TA has been involved with, including his participation in six coordination projects and conduct of numerous other studies, directing USDOT's first nationwide study of transportation systems for elderly and disabled individuals (resulting in USDOT's publication of a three-volume manual authored by TA president Ned Einstein), the operation of TA's own 70-vehicle paratransit system for a full decade, and his coordination of the design efforts for a European-manufactured schoolbus and motorcoach introduced into the North American market.
Even while Mr. Einstein's career has shifted largely to the provision of forensic accident analysis and expert witness services, most of his intermittent consulting projects emphasized safety. Paramount among these:
- He served as a subcontractor to Circadian Technologies, Inc. on a USDOT-funded examination of driver fatigue, focusing on motorcoach operating environments and duty cycles as they relate to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Hours-of-Service Requirements.
- He participates regularly as a member of APTA's Access Committee – a special group that focuses on issues of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to the transportation of disabled individuals.
- As a subcontractor to Team Inc., TA helped develop technical specifications for a coordinated school/transit bus, and provided technical assistance about the operating and institutional barriers associated with its use, for an FTA-funded demonstration project.
- Mr. Einstein conducted workshops, and made conference presentations, at national, state and Provincial conferences on an array of subjects including: Vehicle selection and specification; transit and schoolbus crossing safety; driver and attendant assignment and training; system monitoring and evaluation; management and operations; system design; software applications; transportation safety and liability; driver and motorist fatigue; and forensic analysis and expert witness services
Mr. Einstein has shared his considerable expertise in safety with the transportation community for close to four decades. Beyond his several full-length publications for USDOT, Mr. Einstein has authored (and continues to author) an expanded monthly column on the subject of "Safety and Liability" for National Bus Trader magazine for more than a decade, and authored monthly articles on crossing safety ("The Crossing Guy") for School Transportation News from 2008 through 2013, in addition to preparing eight full-length papers published by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in the Proceedings of several of its annual Bus and Paratransit Conferences.
Largely from these experiences, Transportation Alternatives has evolved into a nationally-recognized expert in lawsuits involving the complete spectrum of public transportation services, and has served as a consultant and expert witness to attorneys for both plaintiffs and defendants in more than 400 lawsuits in more than 35 states. Reflecting the firm's background, these cases have involved a range of vehicle and service types, including
- transit buses
- standard paratransit vans
- vans and minibus "conversions"
- special education vehicles
- personalized van "conversions"
Mirroring this range of vehicles, TA President Ned Einstein's services as an expert witness in more than 400 personal injury, wrongful death, class action and labor-relations lawsuits have included the entire spectrum of non-rail ground transportation services, including:
- General and special education pupil transportation (i.e., schoolbus) service
- Transit service
- Paratransit service
- Shuttle service (airport, hotel and other)
- Motorcoach service
- Taxi and limousine service
- Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) service
And while Mr. Einstein is not an expert in rail services, he has even served as an expert witness in a number of passenger rail cases, in subareas of his particular expertise (e.g., ADA compliance, motorman fatigue, boarding and alighting, connecting and feeder services)..
While TA provides professional assistance in a broad range of vehicle-pedestrian accidents, the firm specializes in accidents involving passengers with special needs, including:
- elderly individuals
- physically challenged persons
- developmentally challenged persons
- children (particularly school children)
TA also specializes in cases involving large transit authorities, multinational corporations and operating agencies. While TA has defended both public agencies and private companies, it has helped plaintiffs seek damage awards against hundreds of small, medium, large and multinational agencies and companies. Among some of the most noteworthy, TA served as the technical consultant to the ACLU in its Class Action suit (Beauchamp v. LACMTA) against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and assisted the Amalgamated Transit Union in eight lawsuits to recover the value of nearly a decade of un-provided meal and rest breaks to the fixed route transit drivers of major contractors in the State of California. Mr. Einstein also worked among a team of experts -- for both plaintiffs and defendants -- on a number of major, catastrophic bus and motorcoach accident cases, including assisting one co-defendant in a case involving the deaths of 23 elderly passengers on a bus evacuating nursing home victims during Hurricane Rita.
TA does not accept all cases, will not help an attorney pursue a "frivolous" action, and will not misrepresent any facts or opinions. However, TA will assist any reasonable defendant -- if only to help it characterize and quantify the degree of exposure and develop a defense/settlement strategy in accordance with the facts, dynamics, legal and venue constraints and other technical and legal considerations. In all cases, TA operates according to a strict set of principles, with clear objectives for each type of client. (see Mission Statement).
For summaries of cases on which TA President Ned Einstein has been involved as an expert witness, see:
- Overview: Cases and Attorneys
- Cases, by Vehicle and Client Type
- Common Accident and Incident Scenarios
See also: Mission Statement