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Transit Security Design Considerations



DOT logo        
U.S. Department
of Transportation
  Administrator    400 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20590
Federal Transit

Dear Colleague:

I am pleased to enclose an electronic copy of the recently completed Transit Security Design Considerations.  These considerations are the latest in a series of technical assistance aids to make transit systems safer and are intended to provide design strategies that will reduce the vulnerability of transit systems to acts of terrorism.  They address the intrinsic challenge of transit systems—how to safely move more than 14 million passengers in an inherently open travel environment—an environment that is a high-risk, high-consequence target for terrorists.

This document:

 -- Provides security design guidelines for the major assets of transit systems – bus vehicles, rail vehicles, transit infrastructure and communications – as well as a preliminary assessment of the vulnerabilities to various methods of attack inherent in each asset. 

-- Addresses access management, systems integration, and communications – all crucial to the protection of transit assets.

-- Discusses major threats such as arson, explosives, weapons of mass destruction, violent incidents, hostage situations, and physical tampering.

Transit Security Design Considerations assembles the experience of many stakeholders and practitioners and presents this information in a structured manner that will be useful to the entire transit community.  The work was sponsored and prepared by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation and Office of Program Management. These guidelines are the result of work performed by many dedicated industry representatives who agreed to serve on technical working groups, and whose role was to contribute their experience and provide feedback to the FTA. The effort involved 10 working groups with 147 members.  Other contributors included the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the Transportation Research Board Transit Cooperative Research Program, the Community Transportation Association of America, and the American Public Transportation Association.  We are delighted to report that the industry response to a preliminary issuance of this document has been extremely positive; reviewers have indicated that the document is an excellent synopsis of the factors that should be considered in transit design.

The transit industry has made significant progress in strengthening security and emergency preparedness, but the work must continue.  These considerations represent a significant milestone in the FTA’s effort to support transit industry efforts to make transit systems safer and more secure.  The FTA offers these security considerations as suggestions rather than mandates.  Transit agencies across the country differ greatly in their size, location, and requirements, so I encourage you to review, select, and adapt the information herein to suit your needs and environment.

Transit Security Design Considerations emphasizes the concept that public transit systems are in fact systems, connected not only physically but also through an intricate network of technology, law, and regulation, linked together and to other elements of the regional transportation network.  Our work continues to evolve.  In keeping with Secretary Mineta’s directive to find “safer, simpler, smarter transportation solutions,” we will continue to refine these design considerations and make them as useful as we can to the transit community.  As always, feel free to contact your FTA Regional Administrator with general questions regarding safety and security.  Your responses and ideas, as this work continues, will be valued.

Sincerely, Jenna L. Dorn



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