Transit Security Updates

Sept. 19, 2011

We are reminded at every turn of how fragile our security can be. Tributes and remembrances on this 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks bring back memories of the horrors of that day, and news stories highlight broadened security efforts around this date.

Earthquakes and hurricanes recently disrupted service along the east coast, and protest crowds threatened to halt train service on the west coast. Read the RTA story in this issue to learn about the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans and our rail security story starting on starting on page 76 to learn about the complexities involved in strategizing against future attacks.

Transit managers are continually challenged to plan for all potential adverse events and yet funds are barely sufficient to cover capital budget requirements and day-to-day operations of transportation. This is a juggling act where nothing can be fumbled and everything is high-priority.

Transit agencies are really in the people business – serving a variety of transportation needs – from delivering commuters to and from work to bringing in crowds to sporting events. A culture of safety is common in agencies to make these everyday operations as free from peril as can be foreseen and to protect those who have entrusted us to get them to their destination without incident.

In contrast to safety, security is planning for the unexpected and emergency preparedness is working on worst-case scenarios. In the past decade these tasks have grown exponentially in complexity, in the need for expertise, and in the resources available to agencies both from industry suppliers and federal agencies.

To provide additional and more timely coverage of these important subjects we've launched the semi-monthly Transit Security Update e-newsletter. If you subscribe to our daily Transit News Updates you should have received the first three issues of the newsletter and an opt-in link to continue receiving at no charge.

Mass Transit has also joined several security-related publications to host a series of Secured Cities conferences, the first with a transit track coming up November 10th and 11th in Baltimore, Md. Mass Transit editor Leah Harnack has worked with SecurityInfoWatch editor-in-chief Geoff Kohl to create a full roster of seminars and presentations specifically for transit security management. You can find conference details at Three additional conferences are planned for 2012 with locations and details coming soon.

Safe travels to all,