Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Penn State study suggests ways to improve US rail safety

04.07.2007
A new study conducted by two Penn State faculty members highlights the potential threats to America’s railroad system, examines the response of government and the rail industry to the post-9/11 security responsibilities, and suggests ways in which public policy and rail operations can be better directed to meet the challenges of security in an age of terrorist activity.

“Efforts to secure the nation’s rail system have been undertaken by federal, state, and local government agencies and by private rail operators,” say Jeremy Plant, professor of public administration and public policy, and Richard Young, professor of supply chain management at Penn State’s Harrisburg Campus.

Although these activities differ fundamentally between the passenger and freight services, the North American rail network is characterized by those services often sharing the same infrastructure.

“Resources currently directed to rail security are inadequate, given the potential for catastrophic loss of life or economic disruption from attacks on the rail system,” researchers say. “The growing use of rail systems for work-related passenger travel and the critical role played by freight railroads in the U.S. and global commerce makes insuring their security a matter of urgent public concern.”

The study, “Securing and Protecting America’s Railroad System: U.S. Railroad and Opportunities for Terrorist Threats,” was supported by Citizens for Rail Safety, Inc., a national nonprofit public interest organization. Among the other findings in the study are:

Traditional approaches to rail security, focusing on policing and cordoning of rail assets, are inadequate to provide security against post-9/11 terrorist threats. The North American rail network is too vast and diverse to be protected simply through more policing, surveillance or anti-trespass measures.

Responsibilities for rail security remain divided among a number of federal agencies, between federal and state agencies, between government and the private sector, and between shippers, users, and providers.

The role played by the rail industry in intermodal shipments, especially those involving the movement of cargo from and through port facilities, represents a major area of risk that the railroad industry may find difficult to prevent.

Terrorist acts directed against freight railroads pose a range of threats from destruction of freight and infrastructure to doing harm to the economy at large.

Among the recommendations from Dr. Plant and Dr. Young are:

Congress needs to pass comprehensive rail security legislation and allocate adequate financial and administrative resources to enhance current security efforts.

Passenger operations in major urban areas, in particular those that have been targets of past terrorist acts, should receive increased percentages of all funds expended for rail security.

Coordination between the array of law enforcement agencies and railroad police needs to be improved. The role played by the railroads and their own police forces is a recognized strength that needs to be further leveraged and not displaced by government resources.

The liability borne by railroads for the safety of trespassers needs to be addressed. Moreover, the penalties imposed on those trespassing needs to be put on the same footing as for other modes.

A congressionally established National Commission on Rail Security should be created and empowered to study the state of rail security.

Efforts to involve the general public and the rail enthusiast should be supported and expanded.

The lessons learned from efforts to protect other modes of transportation should be examined for their potential to enhance rail safety, whether it be for passengers or freight.

Enhanced training of rail personnel to deal with both the prevention of terrorism and its aftermath is necessary and should be a shared public and private responsibility.

The full report is available on the Citizens for Rail Safety Web site at http://www.citizensforrailsafety.org/home.php.

Steve Hevner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu
http://www.citizensforrailsafety.org/home.php

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>