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Transportation System Security

In light of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, enhancing the security of our transportation system is expected to be one of the highest priorities of transportation agencies. TRB and The National Academies have generated extensive information on this issue in recent years. This website brings together much of this information. Also included are links to other related websites that contain discussions of issues, actions which can be taken, guidance and training opportunities. This website, which is being sponsored by the TRB Task Force on Critical Infrastructure Protection, will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. If you have comments or recommendations on other items that should be included in this website, please contact Joedy Cambridge (

This website contains information arranged in the following categories:

General Transportation Security

Aviation Security

Surface Transportation Security

Seaport/Maritime Security

General National Security Websites

General Transportation Security

Transportation Security: Agenda for the 21st Century
Stephen E. Flynn (TR News 211, November-December 2000)
Criminals plan to exploit and terrorists plot to disrupt the U.S. transportation system. Because both activities are escalating, transportation security must become a national priority, according to this author. The solution requires global initiatives that complement concerns about cost and competitiveness.

Cargo Security: High-Tech Protection, High-Tech Threats
Ed Badolato (TR News 211, November-December 2000)
Computer-savvy criminals, backed by syndicates and assisted by corporation insiders, are manipulating the new shipping technology for illicit gains. Security professionals must maintain the expertise to anticipate and prevent sophisticated theft at every link in the worldwide supply chain.

Statewide Critical Infrastructure Protection: New Mexico's Model
Daniel J. O'Neil (TR News 211, November-December 2000)
Programs to protect statewide, regional, and local infrastructure are necessary to complement - and adapt - federal initiatives. New Mexico provides a pioneering example.

U.S. Military Preparedness: Jammed in the Traffic?
Bob Honea (TR News 211, November-December 2000)
The economic boom has the U.S. transportation system operating near capacity. Can commercial activities afford to make room for military transportation in a national emergency? A panel of military and civilian experts presented insights at two TRB conferences.

Vulnerability Assessment of the Transportation Infrastructure Relying on the Global Positioning System
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released the results of a study assessing the vulnerability of the national transportation infrastructure that relies on the Global Positioning System (GPS). The report, Vulnerability Assessment of the Transportation Infrastructure Relying on the Global Positioning System, has been made available to the public to improve user awareness of the vulnerabilities of GPS and avoid over-reliance on GPS in safety-critical situations.

Global Intermodal Freight: State of Readiness for the 21st Century
In February 2000, TRB hosted one in a series of intermodal conferences. The goal of this conference was to assess the current state of readiness of the intermodal freight system from the perspective of the government, military, and private sectors. Issues relating to transportation system security were addressed in plenary sessions and were the focus of the following two panel sessions.
      National Security and Defense - Recognizing that the wartime planning strategy against which the Department of Defense sizes its mobility forces is based on the ability to fight two nearly simultaneous major fatal wars on opposite sides of the globe, clearly mobility and transportation are a key part of that. This session included presentations from the USDOT Office of Intelligence and Security, the Maritime Administration, the U.S. Air Mobility Command, and the Military Traffic Management Command.

      Cargo Clearance, Security and Safety - Issues such as border and port of entry clearance, international equipment and safety standards, efficient transfer of goods, cargo liability, cargo crime, and security arise from a number of factors, including traffic congestion, multiple users of the transportation system, and the intermodal aspect of both domestic and international trade. This session included presentations from the insurance sector, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Technology Asset Protection Association, comprised of security directors from the top high-tech companies in the U.S.

National Academy Press
Terrorism and Security
Recent attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have intensified concerns worldwide about the threat of terrorism. A collection of National Academies reports examines anti-terrorism measures, including technologies for screening airline passengers, better designs for buildings that may be targets of terrorist attack, and preparation for the civilian medical community in responding to chemical or biological threats.

CERT Coordination Center
The CERT Coordination Center, part of the Networked Systems Survivability Program of the Software Engineering Institute, started in 1988 after the Morris Worm incident crippled approximately 10 percent of all computers connected to the Internet. The center develops incident-response teams, coordinates response to large-scale incidents, trains incident-response professionals, and researches security vulnerabilities, system improvements, and the survivability of large-scale networks.

Center for Defense and International Security Studies
The interdisciplinary Center for Defense and International Security Studies explores, promotes, and stimulates debate on defense and security issues.

Center for Security Policy
The Center for Security Policy stimulates and informs the national and international debate on aspects of security policy related to the foreign, defense, economic, financial and technology interests of the United States.

Chemical and Biological Defense Information Analysis Center
The Chemical and Biological Defense Information Analysis Center provides scientific and technical information to Department of Defense (DOD) organizations, other government groups, and approved contractors. Service to others is limited to the publicly accessible information on the website.

Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office
The Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office coordinates national planning activities related to critical infrastructure protection, develops awareness of sound security practices in the private and public sectors, and supports the development of a public-private partnership through outreach and other activities.

Defense Threat Reduction Agency
To protect the United States and allies from nuclear, biological, chemical ,conventional, and special weapons attack, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) pursues technology security activities; cooperative threat reductions programs; arms control treaty monitoring; and on-site inspection; force protection; nuclear, biological, and chemical defense; and counterproliferation. DTRA also supports the U.S. nuclear deterrent and provides technical support to DOD on issues involving weapons of mass destruction.

EmergencyNet News
EmergencyNet News provides 24-hour news, analysis, and reference information on crisis, conflict, and emergency services.

Federal Computer Incident Response Capability
The Federal Computer Response Capability (fedCIRC) coordinates and analyzes computer security for the federal government's civilian agencies and departments. Through FedCIRC, federal agencies cooperate to handle security incidents, share information, solve common security problems, and also collaborate with National Infrastructure Protection Center to plan protection strategies and deal with criminal threats to the critical information infrastructure.

Institute for the Advanced Study of Information Warfare
Information warfare is the offensive and defensive use of information and information systems to deny, exploit, corrupt, or destroy a military or business adversary's information-based-processes, systems, and computer networks. the Institute for the Advanced Study of Information Warfare addresses these actions in both military and civilian settings.

International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism
The International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism researches and develops innovative public policy solutions to international terrorism, encourages cooperation among agencies involved in the fight against terrorism, and advises policy makers.

National Infrastructure Protection Center
The National Infrastructure Protection Center assesses threats, warns of vulnerabilities, and provides comprehensive analysis as well as law enforcement investigation and response.

National Security Agency
The National Security Agency (NSA), the nation's cryptologic organization, coordinates, directs, and performs specialized activities to protect U.S. information system and to gather foreign intelligence. NSA is a pioneer in communications technology and data processing and is an important government center for analysis and research in foreign languages.

National Terrorism Preparedness Institute
Founded in 1998 as a result of the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act, the national Terrorism Preparedness Institute trains the nation's first responders to survive and mitigate terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction.

Overseas Security Advisory Council
The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) fosters the exchange of security related information between the U.S. government and the American private sector - including colleges and universities - operating abroad. OSAC provides timely information for corporate decisions on protecting investments, facilities, personnel, and intellectual property.

Rapid Response Information System
The Rapid Response Information System (RRIS) is a reference guide, training aid, and planning and training resource for response to a chemical, biological, or nuclear terrorist incident. RRIS comprises several databases, including information about chemical and biological agents and radiologic materials, first aid, federal response, hotlines, and other resources about countering weapons of mass destruction.

Terrorism Research Center
The Terrorism Research Center website covers terrorism and information warfare, featuring essays and opinions on current issues, as well as links to other documents, research, and resources on terrorism.

U.S. Customs
This website includes the status and wait times for both trucks and passenger vehicles at U.S. Border Crossings in the wake the events of September 11.

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety
The Office of Hazardous materials safety recommends regulatory changes for the multimodal transportation of hazardous materials, implements long- and short-term plans and schedules for regulatory options and initiatives based on the social, economic, technological, environmental, and safety impacts of hazardous materials transportation.

U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center
The Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) provides leadership and guidance in threat assessment, offering timely, useful, and effective advice to law enforcement organizations.

U.S. State Department, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism works to improve cooperation with foreign governments on counterterrorism. The coordinator has primary responsibility for developing, coordinating, and implementing U.S. counterterrorism policy.

Aviation Security

Information Systems Security: The Federal Aviation Administration's Layered Approach
Daniel J. Mehan (TR News 211, November-December 2000)
FAA is establishing a security system reinforced at every level, ensuring the safety of U.S. airspace and airports and protecting one of the world's largest and most complex information-centric critical infrastructures.

Airline Passenger Security Screening: New Technologies and Implementation Issues (NRC Policy Study)
This book addresses new technologies being considered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for screening airport passengers for concealed weapons and explosives. The FAA is supporting the development of promising new technologies that can reveal the presence not only of metal-based weapons as with current screening technologies, but also detect plastic explosives and other non-metallic threat materials and objects, and is concerned that these new technologies may not be appropriate for use in airports for other than technical reasons. This book presents discussion of the health, legal, and public acceptance issues that are likely to be raised regarding implementation of improvements in the current electromagnetic screening technologies, implementation of screening systems that detect traces of explosive materials on passengers, and implementation of systems that generate images of passengers beneath their clothes for analysis by human screeners.

Detection of Explosives for Commercial Aviation Security (NRC Policy Study)
This book advises the Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA) on the detection of small, concealed explosives that a terrorist could plant surreptitiously on a commercial airplane. The book identifies key issues for the FAA regarding explosive detection technology that can be implemented in airport terminals. Recommendations are made in the areas of systems engineering, testing, and technology development.

Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report (NRC Policy Study)
This report assesses the operational performance of explosives-detection equipment and hardened unit-loading devices (HULDs) in airports and compares their operational performance to their laboratory performance, with a focus on improving aviation security.

Commercial Aviation Security: Integrating People and Equipment to Improve Threat Detection (Upcoming NRC Policy Study Report)
Commercial Aviation Security examines technologies for detecting explosives and weapons and offers recommendations to assist decisionmakers as they tackle the critical problem of preventing terrorist attacks against commercial aviation. It includes details on:
  • Security technologies, including methods for detecting bulk and sheet explosives, chemical vapor screening for detecting trace explosives, and magnetic portals for weapons detection.
  • Selecting, training, testing, maintaining, and reviewing the performance of security screening personnel and, most important, integrating human operators into total security systems.
  • Issues in equipment deployment at airports, including the balance between encouraging technology innovation and ensuring the peak performance of deployed equipment.

Securing Intermodal Connections: Meeting the Challenges of Rail-Aviation Passenger Facilities
Annabelle Boyd and Jim Caton (Paper presented at the conference on Facility Security: Protecting Infrastructure and Special Events.)
In the coming decades, linking aviation and rail transportation systems together into a more efficient and seamless intermodal system will not only be a convenience, but a necessity. This paper:
  • Describes the trends driving rail-aviation links to the forefront of urban planning strategies
  • Highlights the special challenges that these linkages present for security management within the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) national planning framework
  • Offers recommendations for intermodal facility design and management.

FAA Security Regulation 107 and FAA Security Regulation 108 (set to go into effect on November 14, 2001)

Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Civil Aviation Security
FAA's Office of Civil Aviation Security works to protect users of commercial air transportation from terrorist and other criminal acts; to prevent the unsafe transport of hazardous materials or other dangerous goods; and to secure FAA's critical infrastructure.

Surface Transportation Security

Improving Surface Transportation Security Through Research and Development
Daniel F. Morgan and H. Norman Abramson (TR News 211, November-December 2000)
This article summarizes the NRC Policy Study below. The federal government must set priorities for research and development to secure the surface transportation system, avoiding duplications of effort, coordinating findings among agencies, and implementing and assessing improvements, according to a National Research Council study.

Improving Surface Transportation Security: A Research and Development Strategy (NRC Policy Study)
TRB participated in a study in 1999 entitled, Improving Surface Transportation Security: A Research and Development Strategy. This study provided guidance to the USDOT on how it might organize and focus an R&D program designed to assist the owners and operators of the surface transportation system in responding to terrorist threats. This report can be accessed and read online.

TCRP Synthesis 21--Methods For Improving Transit Security
This synthesis will be of interest to transit agency general managers, police and security, operations, training, and human resources staffs, and to local police officials. It offers information on a variety of approaches to improving transit security. The nature and extent of transit crime, effective strategies to combat problem situations, and case studies of specific control practices deemed successful by transit agency professionals (with no distinctions drawn between bus and rail modes) are discussed.

Emergency Preparedness for Transit Terrorism
Annabelle Boyd and John P. Sullivan (TR News 208, May-June 2000)
This article summarizes the TCRP Synthesis 27 (below). Transit police and security and operations personnel, in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, employ a variety of security programs to protect transportation agencies, their customers, and employees. Collectively, these programs have been quite effective in reducing violent crime and improving customer perceptions of security. Now, however, these programs, designed to address traditional security concerns, must deal with the emerging threat of transit terrorism.

TCRP Synthesis 27--Emergency Preparedness For Transit Terrorism
This synthesis provides information on the current practices of transit agencies to prevent and respond to terrorism and acts of extreme violence. It integrates information gathered from a review of the literature, and from surveys, site visits, and telephone interviews with personnel from transit police and security departments, local police agencies, transit authorities, and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). In addition, to provide a useful perspective on mass transit preparedness, this synthesis contrasts transit perspectives to those of general service police through a review of relevant literature.

Securing Intermodal Connections: Meeting the Challenges of Rail-Aviation Passenger Facilities
Annabelle Boyd and Jim Caton (Paper presented at the conference on Facility Security: Protecting Infrastructure and Special Events.)
In the coming decades, linking aviation and rail transportation systems together into a more efficient and seamless intermodal system will not only be a convenience, but a necessity. This paper:
  • Describes the trends driving rail-aviation links to the forefront of urban planning strategies
  • Highlights the special challenges that these linkages present for security management within the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) national planning framework
  • Offers recommendations for intermodal facility design and management.

FTA's "Transit Security Handbook"
To support on-going implementation of State Safety Oversight security requirements, FTA has prepared the Transit Security Handbook. This Handbook explains the security provisions specified in Part 659 and provides a comprehensive description of the system security process.

FTA's Critical Incident Management Handbook and Appendices
These guidelines have been designed to provide practical assistance to transit personnel with responsibility for planning, managing, and recovering from emergencies and disasters.

Incorporating Security into the Oversight Program
FTA's recommended procedure for threat assessments.

Transit Terrorism Preparedness
A briefing on transit terrorism given at FTA's 4th Annual State Safety Oversight Conference in Denver, CO, in October 2000.

American Public Works Association
This website contains current public works related information, including advisories being released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Current phone numbers and points of contact are provided.

Federal Transit Administration, Office of Safety and Security, Transit Security Programs
FTA encourages all transit systems to develop and implement proactive security plans to protect passengers, employees, revenues, and property. FTA's Safety and Security Program supports system security efforts with guidelines and best practices, training, and voluntary audits, to achieve the highest practical level of safety and security for all modes of transit. (Also accessible at this website is Transit Security Newsletter: Newsletter/news_sec.stm)

Seaport/Maritime Security

Status of Individual U.S. Ports
A listing of the port security situation at major U.S. ports (POISE - Port Operations Information for Safety and Efficiency) may be accessed via the U.S. Coast Guard Website. While the information is the latest available, situations may change. Updates are available from local Captains of the Port (COTPs).

Seaport Security: Training, Equipment, and Research Needs
Lennie Cross, International Security Systems
A presentation on seaport security given at the 26th Annual Summer Ports, Waterways, Freight & International Trade Conference in Galveston, Texas, June 24-27, 2001.

Report of the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports
This report of the Seaport Crime and Security Commission, describing the security vulnerabilities in U.S. port security and control measures for contraband entering the U.S. via maritime commerce, can be found under the "Current News" section of this website.

Maritime Security Council
Representing ocean cargo carriers, cruise lines, ports, and related industries, the Maritime Security Council (MSC) works to prevent illegal drug trafficking, stowaway, theft, privacy, terrorism, and hijacking. Adviser to Interpol, MSC works closely with the Overseas Security Advisory Council and recently became the U.S. State Department's technical advisor on maritime security and counterterrorism.

American Society for Industrial Security
ASIS is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security practices by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security concerns as well as specific security topics. The ASIS website includes publications relating to physical security, terrorism, global security, and emergency planning.

General National Security Websites

The ANSER Institute for Homeland Safety
This website contains links to reports on terrorism and national security including those of the Hart/Rudman Commission and the Gilmore Commission. Other resources such as the "Journal of Homeland Security" are also available.

Government Accounting Office
GAO, commonly called the investigative arm of Congress or the congressional watchdog, advises Congress and the heads of executive agencies (such as Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Department of Defense, DOD, and Health and Human Services, HHS) about ways to make government more effective and responsive. The GAO website includes links to 103 reports on terrorism and 31 reports on Aviation Security since 1980.

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