The tragic events of September 11, 2001 ushered in a new era for security and emergency preparedness in the United States. As a result, Federal, State and local governments and transit agencies continue to assess their capabilities to manage the risk environment. The subsequent bombings of passenger rail systems in Madrid, London, and Mumbai underscore the threats and vulnerabilities associated with public transportation.
The following list of voluntary Security and Emergency Management Action Items is an update to the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Top 20 Security Program Action Items originally released in January 2003. The update has been developed by FTA and the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Office of Grants & Training (OGT), in consultation with the public transportation industry through the Mass Transit Sector Coordinating Council, for which the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) serves as Executive Chair. The updated Action Items address current security threats and risks that confront transit agencies today, with particular emphasis on priority areas where gaps need to be closed in security and emergency preparedness programs. Though this update consolidates the previous 20 items into 17, the purpose, scope, and objectives remain consistent. Significantly, the updated Action Items provide improved guidance for their implementation and assessment. This revision includes the incorporation of:
Under the Top 20 program, FTA led the Federal assessment of implementation of the security action items. With its field presence through the Surface Transportation Security Inspection Program (STSIP), lead responsibility for assessments has transitioned to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). A detailed checklist guides the STSIP assessments, encompassing review of security plans, programs, and procedures employed by transit agencies in implementing the recommended Action Items. Advance coordination and planning ensures the efficiency of the assessment process. Transit agencies may obtain the checklist in advance from TSA and conduct self-assessments of their security readiness using the 17 Action Items as an inventory framework.
FTA, TSA and OGT collaborate at the headquarters, regional and field levels to ensure cohesive and consistent Federal guidance to the transit industry in implementing the Action Items. The 17 Action Items are listed in both a logical as well as a general priority order. For example, the first program element is "Management and Accountability", which lays the foundation by outlining the prerequisites a transit agency should employ to put security priorities into effect. An agency needs to have security plans and a management system (personnel and resources) in place in order to establish and advance security priorities. An outline of the transit security program elements covered by the Action Items is as follows:
|Program Element||Security Action Item(s)|
|Management and Accountability:||1 to 4|
|Security and Emergency Response Training||5|
|Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS)||6|
|Drills and Exercises||8|
|Risk Management and Information Sharing||9 to 11|
|Facility Security and Access Control||12 and 13|
|Document Control||15 and 16|
In summary, Security and Emergency Management Action Items for Transit Agencies aim to elevate security readiness throughout the public transportation industry by establishing baseline measures any transit agency should employ. This product is intended to be dynamic, with regular review and coordination between the Federal government and the transit community, and updates as necessary to ensure that the recommended measures address current security realities.