• Russia spending $1.6 billion to bolster transportation security

    The Russian government announced that it would spend about $1.6 billion over the next three years to beef up transportation security; roughly $410 million will be spent on increasing metro security; Transportation Minister Igor Levitin says the metro is the weakest link in security efforts; there are 300 entrances in the Moscow metro alone; last year two female suicide bombers detonated bombs in Moscow’s busy metro system killing forty people and injuring more than 100; Moscow has the second busiest subway system in the world, second only to Tokyo

  • Dramatic expansion of DC surveillance camera network

    Washington, D.C. is proposing a plan that would add thousands of surveillance camera feeds from local businesses to the city’s homeland security agency existing command center; the city already monitors more than 4,500 cameras placed in its public transportation system and schools; critics say that this is a poor use of resources and violates civil liberties; cities like New York, London, and Baltimore already employ this practice

  • United States susceptible to Moscow-style bombing

    The TSA has invested $212 million to train hundreds of Behavioral Detection Officers (BDOs) in the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program; the program is supposed to train security personnel to notice suspicious behavior by people in crowds, but lawmakers and academics question its value

  • China Looks to Invest in California's High Speed Rail

    China looks to add California’s extensive high-speed rail project to its resume; with experience in rail projects both at home and throughout Asia, China can also bring financing to the table as well as project expertise

  • N.Y.-N.J. PATH tunnels bomb-proofed

    If a small explosive — with enough power to blast a 50-foot hole in a tunnel — were detonated, more than a million gallons of Hudson River water per minute would surge into the PATH tubes; the Port Authority is hardening the tubes against terrorist attacks — placing water-absorbing pads around the tunnels, ringing the inside of the tunnels with blast-resistant steel, and building huge floodgates to seal off a tunnel in case water comes gushing in after a blast

  • GPS system keep track of busses

    When we think of the Transportation Security Administration, we usually think of their work done to protect air travel; they are also involved, however, in other forms of transportation, like charter buses; DHS administers a grant to help charter companies install GPS tracking systems in their coaches — and Trailways used to money to equip its 2,000 buses with GPS

  • Senator Udall calls on Napolitano to consider TTCI's rail security contributions

    Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) calls on DHS to consider the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) when making decisions on how best to carry out the DHS mission; TTCI conducts research and tests on track, locomotives, rail cars, and other rail equipment

  • Securing rails: doable, if complicated, endeavor

    For a long time, the primary concern when it came to rail security was people wanting to steal a freight train’s contents, shoot the crew or rob the passengers; the U.S. post-9/11 focus on security, however, is shining a new spotlight on other hazards surrounding railroads; the desire to protect the railroads, their employees, and passengers must be balanced by what can really be done given that rail is used to move large numbers of people and large quantities of goods; railroad security — whether for passenger rails, commuter lines, or freight trains — is thus a complicated endeavor

  • Napolitano says scanners may be used for trains, subways, and boats

    DHS secretary Janet Napolitano says that full-body scanners may be deployed in train stations, on subway platforms, and in marinas; experts point out that terrorists would not necessarily need to board a train to do damage: train graffiti is one indication how easy it to access parked trains — and trains roll on miles and miles of exposed track in open landscapes

  • U.K. railways threatened by changes in rainfall patterns

    Some of the U.K.’s railway infrastructure was built in the nineteenth century on unprepared foundations, before engineers understood soil mechanics; rail embankments are structures made of soil and rock, which are always be affected by climate — particularly rainfall patterns

  • NYPD commissioner: tighter security needed at Trailways bus depot

    During the past decade, a New York man stole more than 150 buses from an unsecured Trailway bus depot in Hoboken New Jersey; the doors were open, the key were left in the ignition, and he just drove off the lot, using the coaches for everything from fast-food runs to jaunts to North Carolina; he was finally collared last week after he stole a bus, drove to Manhattan, and took a group of flight attendants to Kennedy Airport

  • Obama proposes ambitious $50 billion infrastructure program

    President Barack Obama unveiled an ambitious 6-year infrastructure investment program; its goals include building or repairing 150,000 miles of roads, 4,000 miles of rail lines, and 150 miles of airplane runways; the plan also includes a new air-traffic-control system designed to reduce flight delays, and an “infrastructure bank” that will help determine the worthiest projects

  • Transportation industry eager for more details of infrastructure plan

    The White House released an information sheet that tells in broad strokes how the administration plans to use the money but did not say how much it will spend on different transportation segments or how soon it will ask Congress for the money; industry groups want to know

  • Railroads do not let HAZMAT teams know what is on train

    Lethal chemicals roll through the backyards of cities and towns without the knowledge of these towns; residents; railroads do not share information about the schedule and contents of HAZMAT cargo with these towns’ emergency services, so the services cannot prepare for catastrophe; if chlorine or ammonia were to escape from a punctured tanker — in an accident or derailment — it would form a toxic cloud; a compromised 90-ton rail car of chlorine could create a plume fifteen miles long by five miles wide; the U.S. railroad industry transported some 75,000 tank cars of toxic inhalants nationwide in 2009

  • New baggage screening system from Morpho Detection evaluated

    Unlike most baggage-screening systems that create two-dimensional images of objects inside luggage, the CTX 9800 DSi scanners from Morpho Detection create three-dimensional images that can be digitally manipulated by personnel when a bag is deemed to be suspicious; the machines also use advanced software to detect suspicious items; Mineta San Jose International Airport once used 28 machines to process 1,800 bags an hour, but the new system will be able to process the same number of bags using eight machines and require fewer employees to supervise the process; the technology reduces reliance on human observation and interaction with the bags; for the majority of bags, employee contact is only required when a piece of luggage is placed on or taken off the conveyor belt