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Healey taps 'nationally recognized' transit safety expert for new MassDOT safety chief role

Gov. Maura Healey has tapped a former executive and safety leader of major transit systems in Washington, D.C. and New York City to a brand new state role as head of safety for all transportation in Massachusetts.

Patrick Lavin (Courtesy Gov. Maura Healey's office)
Patrick Lavin (Courtesy Gov. Maura Healey's office)

Patrick Lavin will be the chief safety officer for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, or MassDOT, Healey announced Monday.

Lavin, who has 40 years of experience in transportation safety and operations, will be tasked with "ensuring a safe and healthy environment" for all employees and passengers "in all modes of transportation" in the state, according to a release from the governor's office.

He begins on May 8 and will report to Secretary of Transportation Gina Fiandaca, as well as the T's new general manager, Phillip Eng, who started in the role earlier this month.

This appointment comes just a week after Healey replaced three members of the MBTA's Board of Directors, including the chair.

Lavin, the statement said, is no stranger to the safety woes that have plagued Boston's aging transit system, having previously served as a "technical writer" for the MBTA's Safety Review Panel in 2019. Lavin notably was the executive vice president and chief safety officer for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and senior director for safety operations for New York City Transit, where he worked for more than 30 years.

Most recently, Lavin spent almost four years working as director of operations safety and investigations at K & J Safety and Security Consulting Services, according to the statement. He conducted safety assessments and assisted transit agencies in addressing safety directives from the Federal Transit Administration.

Last year, federal regulators ordered the beleaguered MBTA to address dozens of issues after conducting a safety management inspection. The FTA continues to monitor the T's progress, and just last week sent the agency an order to improve safety for work crews after noting five recent "near misses" between trains and workers.

“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,” Healey said in the statement. “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."

Fiandaca noted in the release that Lavin is a "nationally recognized expert in the field of transportation safety," adding that he "has led collision and derailment investigations, evaluated organizations for compliance with regulations, managed multi-million-dollar budgets, and developed and implemented safety programs for public transportation systems."


Lisa Creamer Managing Editor, Digital
Lisa Creamer is WBUR's managing editor for digital news.



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