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The TSA and Pilot Programs

April 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 121

As the TSA works ceaselessly in making US transportation systems more secure, it relies on information from the US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Control, the CIA, and the FBI. It is important for government agencies to cooperate with each other to help ensure traveler's security. Therefore, the TSA depends on its employees to help achieve this goal.

In 2004, terrorists bombed a railway station in Madrid, Spain leaving more than 1,500 people injured and 191 dead. About one year later, four bombs exploded on London subways and a bus killing 52 people and wounding 700 more. These two terrorist attempts made Americans even more aware that terrorism can affect them any time at any place.

Today, test programs in several railroad stations in the eastern US check for hidden explosive devices inside passengers' baggage. Local agencies are responsible for security measures on buses, subways, and other forms of public transportation. Not only does the TSA work with them to plan and improve security, they also work with transportation operators to develop tools and computer software. These tools help identify security weaknesses and help improve security systems.

The TSA and the US Coast Guard created the Port Security Training Exercise Program (referred to as portSTEP). This is a program where its managers work with other port security operations to make ports are more secure. Employees at ports will be trained to handle a suspicious cargo container or an explosion at a seaport rail yard. Both organizations will test how well security people communicate with each other at 40 different seaports and how well they work in emergency situations. All this helps to determine how port security personnel react to possible or real dangers.

A second means of making rail travel safer for passengers is the Transit and Rail Inspections Pilot (TRIP) program. Being the DHS's first study of railroad security, TRIP was piloted in three phases in rail stations at in major US cities. Phase I occurred at a Maryland rail station. It studied the use of technologies for screening rail passengers before they boarded a train. Phase II took place in Washington DC as it tested the use of screening equipment for checked baggage and cargo before they were loaded on an Amtrak passenger train. Phase III occurred onboard a rail car while it checked technologies that screen passengers and their baggage for explosives while the car was traveling.

The Operation Safe Commerce pilot project, organized by the TSA is a system to track cargo. It tests electronic seals that are attached to trailers or shipping containers. The device acts as a safety lock to keep the container from being opened or disturbed. It also tracks the shipment's location using the Global Positioning System. This is a series of communications satellites that can find a location of a point on the Earth's surface. Finally, the seal checks the temperature of the cargo indicating whether the truck or container has been moved or if its doors have been opened without permission.

The TSA helped expand a program called Highway Watch which was operated by the American Trucking Association. Highway Watch trains drivers of commercial vehicles to report possible safety threats to the nation's roads. Truck drivers, bus drivers, highway crews, tunnel toll collectors, and others will learn how to avoid becoming a target for terrorists. They will also be trained to spot and report suspicious activity.

Brandon is a professional in the security industry and has been manufacturing walk through metal detectors for over 12 years. If you want to know more information about security related products please check out my website.

Source: EzineArticles
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