Improving Surface Transportation Security:: A Research and Development Strategy

Front Cover

The surface transportation system is vital to our nation's economy, defense, and quality of life. Because threats against the system have hitherto been perceived as minor, little attention has been paid to its security. But the world is changing, as highlighted by dramatic incidents such as the terrorist chemical attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995. As a consequence, security concerns are now attracting more attention--appropriately so, for the threat is real, and responding to it is hard. Although the surface transportation system is remarkably resilient, it is also open and decentralized, making a security response challenging. Research and development can contribute to that response in important ways.

Some important themes emerge from analysis of this strategy. First, a dual-use approach, in which security objectives are furthered at the same time as other transportation goals, can encourage the implementation of security technologies and processes. Second, modeling could be used more to develop a better understanding of the scope of the security problem. Third, DOT can play an important role in developing and disseminating information about best practices that use existing technologies and processes, including low-technology alternatives. Finally, security should be considered as part of a broader picture, not a wholly new and different problem but one that is similar and closely connected to the transportation community's previous experience in responding to accidents, natural disasters, and hazardous materials.

  

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Contents

Introduction and Background
3
THE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
4
FEDERAL SECURITY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
7
CHARACTERISTICS OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
8
RELATED EFFORTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION POLICY
10
THE ORGANIZATION OF THIS REPORT
12
Assessing Vulnerability
13
ASSESSING INTERDEPENDENCIES AND STRATEGIC VULNERABILITY
20
SUMMARY
42
Applying the Methodology Some Specific Research and Development Topics
43
PREVENTION
45
MITIGATION
48
MONITORING
53
RECOVERY
56
INVESTIGATION
57
SYSTEMS RESPONSES
58

SUMMARY
27
Establishing a Research and Development Strategy
28
DEFINING THE PROBLEM AND OBJECTIVES
29
IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVES
35
EVALUATING ALTERNATIVES
36
DECIDING ON A COURSE OF ACTION
37
PROTECTING SENSITIVE INFORMATION
40
SUMMARY
60
A Vision of the Future
61
References
64
Background on Systems Theory
69
The Likely Course of Development of Chemical and Biological Attacks
71
Biographical Sketches of Committee Members
74
Copyright

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Page xi - Committee recognized a number of central questions for which research is required, its compact schedule did not permit a systematic ordering of needs. Research priorities should be assigned with respect to the uncertainties identified in the present report. Acknowledgement The Committee wishes to express its appreciation to the many individuals who generously provided information and views on uncomfortably short notice, to Meredith Jones of the Smithsonian Institution for making available his comprehensive...