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Compliance means meeting or exceeding the requirements of the regulatory framework that is designed to ensure high levels of safety on the rail transport system. The Transport Agency carries out its regulatory activities in a manner which is responsive, transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent.

The Transport Agency expects that rail participants will operate in a safe and compliant manner and accept the obligations embodied in the act and associated requirements (such as a safety case and safety systems). Full and timely compliance is achieved when the following are met:

  1. The rail participant is aware of their regulatory responsibilities.
  2. The rail participant is willing to comply.
  3. The rail participant is able to comply.

The Rail Safety team has a range of tools and functions available when it carries out safety interventions. These are depicted in the pyramid of options below, with the most rarely used, directive tools at the top.

The pyramid reflects the use of education and advice as a primary activity to ensure compliance.

Figure 1. Rail Safety intervention tools and functions

The VADE model, below, illustrates how the Transport Agency’s application of compliance activities and regulatory tools is responsive to the context of the situation. VADE stands for “voluntary, assisted, directed, enforced”; it is used by a number of New Zealand regulators.

Figure 2. VADE