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Homeland Security


Mass Transportation Security Systems

Security Enhancements Since September 11



U.S. Department of Homeland Security: The Department of Homeland Security's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection division and TSA and DOT's Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration have conducted comprehensive vulnerability assessments of rail and transit networks that operate in high-density urban areas. The risk-based assessments have provided information on where current and future security resources must be directed to reduce vulnerabilities to terrorism. As a result of these assessments, transit systems are producing robust security and emergency preparedness plans.

The Department of Homeland Security's grant program for improving rail and transit security in urban areas that has awarded or allocated over $115 million since May 2003.

The Department of Homeland Security also coordinates information and threat sharing through the Surface Transportation ISAC (Information Sharing and Analysis Center) managed by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) including deploying TSA personnel to the ISAC and hosting ISAC representatives at TSA's Transportation Security Coordination Center in Virginia.

The Department of Homeland Security's TSA has held numerous security exercises that bring together rail carriers, federal and local first responders, and security experts. TSA identified and is in the process of addressing gaps in antiterrorism training among rail personnel. Rail personnel have traveled to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to receive antiterrorism training.

The Department of Homeland Security screens high risk rail cargo entering the U.S. through the National Targeting Center (NTC) and through its border inspection workforce to help prevent rail lines from being used as instruments of terrorism delivery against transit.

DHS assisted in the deployment of biological and chemical detection equipment to some local transit districts. In the DHS FY 2004 appropriations, $285 million was allocated for efforts to develop biological countermeasures and $61.5 million for chemical and high explosives countermeasures. DHS Science and Technology has specifically dedicated some of these funds for rail security.

U.S. Department of Transportation and Amtrak: The Department of Transportation coordinates rail security-related projects including responding to bomb threats, monitoring incident databases for acts of sabotage and vandalism, and serving as a liaison to railroads regarding terrorist activity.

The Department of Transportation provides nearly $4 billion in transit formula grants to States and localities under the President's FY 2005 budget request. States and localities would have the ability to spend some of these resources on security-related projects. Formula grant funding would permit the local transit agencies to determine the optimum security strategy and to target funding to areas with the greatest need.

In 2002, Amtrak received $100 million for life safety and security improvements to the rail tunnels connecting Manhattan to New Jersey and Long Island. Amtrak has spent $76 million to date, and the New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad are also contributing to construction costs. The funding would support improvements for fire and emergency service access and communications.

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the Association of American Railroads, which represents the freight rail industry, prepared a classified security plan that identified risks and security measures. FRA has also contracted with the Rand Corporation to conduct a systematic review and assessment of Amtrak's security posture and current programs, focusing on the adequacy of preparedness for combating terrorist threats. The Federal Railroad Administration has reviewed these documents.

State & Local Transit and Rail Security Examples: Systems participated in exercises, protocols, and training for identifying the effects of a chemical/biological attack and have developed system-wide Employee Awareness Campaigns as well as deployed chemical and biological detection equipment.

All major state and local mass transit and rail commuter operators have completed vulnerability assessments since Sept. 11 with federal technical assistance to best determine where current and future security resources must be directed to reduce vulnerabilities to terrorism. Sample protective measures taken in response to the assessments by major metropolitan transit systems such as New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago are:

  • Perimeter barriers, high-tech fencing and lighting.
  • Intrusion detection equipment.
  • Alternative external communications capability for continuity of operations.
  • Increased number of uniformed and undercover patrols on light rail and subway systems.
  • Hazmat training for personnel.
  • Increased number of inspections of trash receptacles and other storage areas -- this also included securing, closing off, or removing some of these areas where things may be stored and removing some trash receptacles.
  • Increased number and frequency of bomb detecting canine teams.
  • Continued broadcast of public announcements to alert riders and citizens to be aware of the bombing in Madrid, watch their surroundings, and report any suspicious activities or abandoned property such as back packs, garbage bags, etc.
  • Increased video surveillance and review of such materials.
  • Procurement of personal protective equipment for emergency responders.



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Page last modified: 13-07-2011 12:51:14 ZULU