Potential Vulnerability of our Transit Systems to Terrorist Threats

Number C-02-10

U.S. Department
of Transportation
Federal Transit


400 Seventh St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Colleague:

As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day in the Nation’s capital and around the country, we must continue to be mindful of the potential vulnerability of our transit systems to terrorist threats and the need to ensure that our systems are as secure as possible. Since the tragic events of September 11, each of you has devoted countless human and financial resources to protecting the assets of the nation’s transit systems, and I thank you for your steadfast commitment.

While it is difficult to recommend a detailed counter-strategy without specific threat information, together we must increase the level of vigilant security. I want to assure you that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is continuing to coordinate information about potential threats with various sectors of the Federal government. Should there be a credible alert, we will immediately notify the general managers and security directors at the appropriate transit agencies.

At the same time, it is critical for your agency to develop and maintain relationships with local FBI and law enforcement so that you have access to information about potential security and terrorist threats in your community. Active participation in the local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force is the most effective way to ensure that your agency receives timely information of relevant threats in your local area. In our discussions with the FBI at the national level, they have encouraged the participation of transit agency staff in the local task forces, and have offered to help facilitate these relationships. Please let us know if you have encountered obstacles in this regard so that we may intervene.

As we continue to coordinate efforts at the national level, we are moving forward with the aggressive security initiative launched last fall. The FTA has completed 31 of the 32 security assessments of the largest transit systems. To address the security gaps that have been identified through the assessments, we are deploying Technical Assistance Teams to select transit agencies to assist in revising security and emergency response plans, and to develop customized site-specific training programs.

Please take advantage of the additional resources that have been made available as a result of these assessments:

The first two forums, which were held in Orlando, Florida, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were very successful, and I am confident that they will be similarly received in future cities. I heard first-hand from transit agencies – particularly small to mid-size agencies – as well as emergency responders, that both the relationship-building and informational content of the forums were invaluable.

For additional information about these and other resources, please visit our website at [http://www.transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/] or contact Amy Jernigan in the FTA’s Office of Safety and Security at 202-366-6475 or at Amy.Jernigan@dot.gov.

I am confident that by working together we can keep communities across the country safe and moving. Best wishes to you and your employees for a safe and happy July 4th!


Jennifer L. Dorn

cc: Regional Administrators

Enclosure C-02-10 (PDF)