“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.
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences
18.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences