• U.K. nuclear disaster exercise reveals worrisome lapses in emergency response

    Up to six times a year, U.K. nuclear weapons are transported in heavily guarded convoys between production facilities in Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, where the nuclear bombs are manufactured, and the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport on Loch Long in Argyll. The trips are required because scientists must regularly examine the 200 Trident missile warheads in order to make sure they are operationally reliable and properly maintained. Every three years, the U.K. Ministry of Defense (MoD) conducts a drill aiming to test how various agencies respond to an accident involving the convoy carrying the nuclear warheads. An internal report on the last drill notes many problems in the response to the simulated accident, including five-hour wait for weapons experts, confusion over radiation monitoring, and ambulance crews refusing to take contamination victims to hospitals.

  • Canada considered deporting train terror suspect – but he was stateless

    Raed Jaser, who is accused of planning an “al Qaeda supported” bomb attack aiming to derail a Canadian passenger train, was arrested nine years ago in Toronto and was facing deportation because he had a criminal record. Jaser is a Palestinian who grew up in the UAE. The UAE never gave his family a UAE citizenship, and they refused to take him back. The Canadian authorities say his case is not unique.

  • Experts: security of U.S. mass transit system must be tightened

    Counterterrorism experts are arguing that security on America’s mass transit lines must be tightened in light of the foiled plot to attack a Toronto passenger train. The plan to attack Canada’s transit system highlights security holes in America’s commuter system, and the challenges involved in securing this vast system.

  • Blast-resilient carriages to reduce impact of a terrorist attack on trains, metros

    Engineers have developed a blast-resilient carriages which are better able to withstand a terrorist attack and ultimately save lives. The engineers have e focused on two key areas — containing the impact of the blast and reducing debris — the main cause of death and injury in an explosion and the key obstacle for emergency services trying to gain access to injured passengers.

  • The potential for self-driving cars in the U.K.

    Researchers explored what it would take for driverless vehicles to become commonplace on U.K. roads; they highlight the potential benefits of self-driving cars, such as increased road safety and less traffic, but stress that a range of barriers need to be overcome before people buy them en masse

  • Students writing their own tickets

    Four students at the University of New South Wales say they have cracked the secret algorithm used in Sydney’s public transportation system, which will allow them to print their own tickets

  • Improving high-speed rail ties against freezing, thawing conditions

    Research project is helping high-speed rail systems handle the stress of freezing and thawing weather conditions; the 3-year study looks at the freeze-thaw durability of concrete railroad ties; the research is essential to developing safe and durable high-speed rail systems

  • New Jersey “Texting against Terror” program a success

    A $5.8 million federally funded program allowing New Jersey Transit commuters to “text against terror” has received 307 tips to the agency since the program started in June 2011; of those 307 messages, seventy-one have “referred to something regarding homeland security,” said Christopher Trucillo, chief of N.J. Transit Police

  • BART to adopt earthquake early warning system

    Thanks to assistance from the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system can now automatically brake trains when earthquakes threaten to rattle the Bay Area, allowing perhaps tens of seconds to a minute for trains to slow down before the ground starts to shake

  • More traffic deaths following 9/11

    In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, many Americans started driving more due to a fear of flying — and lost their lives in traffic accidents; why did this happen more frequently in some states than in others? Why did Spanish driving habits not change in the same way following the 2004 train bombings in Madrid? Psychologists offer an answer

  • DHS using Boston subway system to test new sensors for biological agents

    Bioterrorism is nothing new, and although medicines have made the world a safer place against a myriad of old scourges both natural and manmade, it still remains all too easy today to uncork a dangerous cloud of germs; DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has scheduled a series of tests in the Boston subways to measure the real-world performance of new sensors recently developed to detect biological agents

  • How to act if there is a fire on a high-speed train

    Researchers have used computer models to analyze the best way to evacuate the Spanish High Speed Train (AVE) in the case of fire; the involvement of the crew in organizing the fast transfer of passengers, completing the process before the train comes to a halt, and collective collaboration to assist those with reduced mobility are just some of the strategies to be followed

  • Engineering students build U.K. first hydrogen powered locomotive

    Engineering students and staff at the University of Birmingham have designed and built a prototype hydrogen powered locomotive, the first of its kind to operate in the United Kingdom

  • Bulgaria bus bombing underscores vulnerability of public transport: MTI experts

    The Mineta Transportation Institute’s (MTI) Database on Terrorist and Serious Criminal Attacks Against Public Surface Transportation records 3,159 attacks against public surface transportation between January 1970 and January 2012, in which 7,997 people were killed and 30,046 were injured; of these attacks, 47.4 percent were against buses, bus stations, and bus stops; they accounted for 55 percent of the fatalities and 41 percent of the injuries resulting from terrorist attacks during this period

  • Planning traffic routing in no-notice disasters

    Spontaneous evacuations of New York City and Washington, D.C. following the 9/11 terrorist attacks demonstrated that U.S. cities are not prepared to manage the sudden influx of traffic into roads and highways following a no-notice disaster