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U.S. Department of Homeland Security TSA/FTA Security and Emergency Management Action Items for Transit Agencies FTA Logo

Updated  FTA has added key reference documents associated with some of the TSA/FTA Security and Emergency Management Action Items for Transit Agencies.  Select a specific action item to view related documents and links.  Please keep checking this page as more documents are posted periodically.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 ushered in a new era for security and emergency preparedness in the United States. As a result, Federal, State and local governments and transit agencies continue to assess their capabilities to manage the risk environment. The subsequent bombings of passenger rail systems in Madrid, London, and Mumbai underscore the threats and vulnerabilities associated with public transportation.

The following list of voluntary Security and Emergency Management Action Items is an update to the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Top 20 Security Program Action Items originally released in January 2003. The update has been developed by FTA and the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Office of Grants & Training (OGT), in consultation with the public transportation industry through the Mass Transit Sector Coordinating Council, for which the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) serves as Executive Chair. The updated Action Items address current security threats and risks that confront transit agencies today, with particular emphasis on priority areas where gaps need to be closed in security and emergency preparedness programs. Though this update consolidates the previous 20 items into 17, the purpose, scope, and objectives remain consistent. Significantly, the updated Action Items provide improved guidance for their implementation and assessment. This revision includes the incorporation of:

  • visibility, randomness, and unpredictability into security deployment activities;
  • regional coordination among transit agencies and other governmental entities; and
  • action items whose assessment results could assist in developing security program priorities, including guidance in applicable grants programs.

Under the Top 20 program, FTA led the Federal assessment of implementation of the security action items. With its field presence through the Surface Transportation Security Inspection Program (STSIP), lead responsibility for assessments has transitioned to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). A detailed checklist guides the STSIP assessments, encompassing review of security plans, programs, and procedures employed by transit agencies in implementing the recommended Action Items. Advance coordination and planning ensures the efficiency of the assessment process. Transit agencies may obtain the checklist in advance from TSA and conduct self-assessments of their security readiness using the 17 Action Items as an inventory framework.

FTA, TSA and OGT collaborate at the headquarters, regional and field levels to ensure cohesive and consistent Federal guidance to the transit industry in implementing the Action Items. The 17 Action Items are listed in both a logical as well as a general priority order. For example, the first program element is "Management and Accountability", which lays the foundation by outlining the prerequisites a transit agency should employ to put security priorities into effect. An agency needs to have security plans and a management system (personnel and resources) in place in order to establish and advance security priorities. An outline of the transit security program elements covered by the Action Items is as follows:

Program Element Security Action Item(s)
Management and Accountability:  1 to 4
Security and Emergency Response Training  5
Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS)  6
Public Awareness  7
Drills and Exercises  8
Risk Management and Information Sharing  9 to 11
Facility Security and Access Control  12 and 13
Background Investigations  14
Document Control  15 and 16
Security Audits  17

In summary, Security and Emergency Management Action Items for Transit Agencies aim to elevate security readiness throughout the public transportation industry by establishing baseline measures any transit agency should employ. This product is intended to be dynamic, with regular review and coordination between the Federal government and the transit community, and updates as necessary to ensure that the recommended measures address current security realities.

Action Item List

Management and Accountability
  1. Establish Written System Security Programs and Emergency Management Plans
  2. Define roles and responsibilities for security and emergency management.
  3. Ensure that operations and maintenance supervisors, forepersons, and managers are held accountable for security issues under their control
  4. Coordinate Security and Emergency Management Plan(s) with local and regional agencies

Security and Emergency Response Training

  1. Establish and Maintain a Security and Emergency Training Program

Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS)

  1. Establish plans and protocols to respond to the DHS Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) threat levels

Public Awareness

  1. Implement and Reinforce a Public Security and Emergency Awareness Program

Drills and Exercises

  1. Conduct Tabletop and Functional drills

Risk Management and Information Sharing

  1. Establish and use a Risk Management Process to assess and manage threats, vulnerabilities and consequences (Note: Risk management includes mitigation measures selected after risk assessment has been completed)
  2. Participate in an information sharing process for threat and intelligence information
  3. Establish and Use a Reporting Process for Suspicious Activity (internal and external)

Facility Security and Access Controls

  1. Control Access to Security Critical Facilities with ID badges for all visitors, employees and contractors
  2. Conduct Physical Security Inspections

Background Investigations

  1. Conduct Background Investigations of Employees and Contractors

Document Control

  1. Control access to documents of security critical systems and facilities
  2. Process for handling and access to Sensitive Security Information (SSI)

Security Audits

  1. Audit Program
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