Transportation

  • Experts warn of growing threat to aviation: pilot fatigue

    Safety expert criticizes EU proposals to relax flight-time limits; his study of pilots’ work found that over 20 percent of them said that by the time they completed their shift, they had been awake for twenty-eight hours or more

  • GPS technology helps track, monitor airfield anomalies

    When we hear the term “airfield anomalies,” we may think of something serious such as a fire on a runway or a terrorist plot’ most of the time, however, the term could mean something as minor as birds on the runway; a new reporting system makes it easier to track and record such anomalies

  • U.S. cuts budget for nuclear monitoring at foreign ports

    In 2003 the United States decided to install radiation detection equipment in 100 large ports around the world, and train local personnel in using the equipment, so that ship containers could be scanned for nuclear material before the ship left for the United States; so far, equipment has been deployed in forty-two ports; after GAO criticism of the quality of the scanning equipment and of lack of coordination between two similar container scanning programs, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s 2013 budget will be cut by 85 percent, and further installations will be canceled

  • Modeling terrorism risk to the air transportation system

    RAND recently evaluated a terrorism risk modeling tool developed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Boeing to help guide program planning for aviation security; the Risk Management Analysis Tool, or RMAT, simulates terrorist behavior and success in attacking vulnerabilities in the domestic commercial air transportation system, drawing on estimates of terrorist resources, capabilities, preferences, decision processes, intelligence collection, and operational planning

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  • Terahertz waves for explosives detection

    The chips generate and radiate high-frequency electromagnetic waves, called terahertz (THz) waves, which fall into a largely untapped region of the electromagnetic spectrum — between microwaves and far-infrared radiation — and which can penetrate a host of materials without the ionizing damage of X-rays; when incorporated into handheld devices, the new microchips could enable a broad range of applications in fields ranging from homeland security to wireless communications to health care, and even touchless gaming

  • 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

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  • Improved technology to detect hazardous chemicals

    Scientists have developed a system quickly to detect trace amounts of illegal drugs, explosives, pollutants in rivers, or nerve gases released into the air; the new system can pick out a single target molecule from 10,000 trillion water molecules within milliseconds, by trapping it on a self-assembling single layer of gold nanoparticles

  • Mathematicians offer new way for aircraft boarding

    Air passenger transportation in China has increased to 200 million in 2010 from less than 10 million in 1950; the increase of the supply of air transportation, however, is much slower than that of its demand; thus, in practice, conflicts between supply and demand often occur, leading to airline congestions, passenger-luggage congestions, and mixed traffic problems; researchers offer a solution to the problem

  • 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 the sensitivity of airport security screening

    Scientists are reporting a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations; scientists concluded that swab fabrics could be improved to collect smaller amounts of explosives by peppering them with hydroxyl, phenyl and amine functional groups

  • Face-recognition e-Gate at Amsterdam airport moving passengers at rapid pace

    E-Gate, the automated border control system developed by Accenture and Vision-Box for the Netherlands Ministry of Internal Affairs, is on target to process its one-millionth passenger at Schiphol Airport  in December

  • 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

  • TSA replaces backscatter scanners with millimeter wave scanners at some airports

    TSA is replacing some backscatter scanners at large U.S. airports with millimeter wave scanners; backscatter scanners were criticized for violating travelers’ privacy, and risking travelers’ health by emitting high levels of radiation

  • CNN commentator complains of inappropriate TSA pat down

    A CNN commentator says she was molested by TSA agents when a routine security pat-down ended with federal agents repeatedly touching her private parts and refusing her a public screening

  • The human factors in airport security

    The capstone event, which will be held in Brussels on 29-30 November, will conclude three years of extensive research conducted in European airports