“We currently have something in the order of 1,700 contacts in the IPAC program that arranges not just within the U.S. but outside of the U.S. as well, and the other thing that was developed was a number of resources through the National Transit Institute; we felt that there was a need to standardize security training for transit systems,” explains Hull. “The National Transit Institute developed collaboratively with the FTA, with the industry and with APTA a series of training programs on security awareness for frontline employees, for supervisory personnel and directed specifically toward the different modes – direct toward bus, toward rail, toward commuter rail. That program carries forward to this day.”
September 11 also raised the discussions about whether or not to engage the public. Would engaging the public frighten the public in regards to riding public transit, or would it serve the better interest? “As you well know now, as you travel around you see whether it’s Washington Metro, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, virtually all the public transit systems have adopted the concepts of public awareness, public engagement,” says Hull.
Hull explains that public engagement was initially accomplished through a sharing of best practices and was incorporated into a program developed by the FTA – and now jointly through the FTA and TSA – called Transit Watch. Through Transit Watch, transit agencies can download, free of charge, outreach materials that they simply need to put their logo on and then of course carry out the programs internally with their own employees and public. “It’s kind of evolved over time to the concept of extended eyes and ears, see something, say something. Interestingly, that concept of “See something, say something,” which had a truth in public transit has been picked up by the Secretary of Homeland Security and now is being applied across all infrastructures across the United States,” Hull says.
Four years ago, APTA added security standards development to its array of standards programs. APTA focuses on four different areas of security: infrastructure, risk management, emergency management and cyber security.
“I think that as we have seen the continuing evolution of security for transit in this post 9/11 world; I think what we have seen is that we are seeing security based on four particular areas,” Hull comments. He says these areas are: people, procedures, communication and information, and capital investment.
“While we have certainly in that time frame immediately following 9/11 had a very strong focus on countering terrorism, what we have seen a continual progression toward is the realization that countering terrorism is part of the continuum, of course terrorism being at the extreme end, but the base for security is really on what we do on a day-to-day basis,” Hull says. “We’ve realized that attending to those day-to-day quality of life issues that help our riding public feel safe and secure by knowing that personnel are available, by seeing that facilities are well designed, well lit and that as anything might occur there is quick response to situations all create for a day-to-day feeling of the riding public that they are in a safe and secure environment.”
Hull compares this focus on the day-to-day to the concept of the broken window theory. If there is a broken window or graffiti that isn’t attended to, then it causes the general public and/or people who might want to hard the general public through either criminal or terrorist means to get a feeling that this is an easy target.
“Within that whole picture we have certainly not taken our eye off the need to be attentive toward potential terrorism, in fact we know through studies that have been conducted through the Mineta Transportation Institute and certainly through reports through the GAO that it’s been cited that one third of all acts of terrorism are carried out on or around transportation infrastructure,” explains Hull. “So we are very much aware of the potential threats that are out there. We have been very fortunate up to this time in the U.S. that while we haven’t had acts carried out effected upon transit; there certainly have been individuals that have been incarcerated, people whose plots have been found out. So to that degree we have been fortunate to this point in time. It causes us to appreciate that we need to be ever vigilant.”
While prior to 9/11 we had did indeed have security and policing measures in place, we have become more sophisticated in our approaches, refining our procedures and plans. Hull says we are now at a point that we are seen Congress and the federal government understanding the need to support these approaches toward security.