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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

As White House Works On Improving Surface Transportation Security, Don’t Forget Rider Involvement

April 9th, 2010 · 1 Comment

The White House last week released a “Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment”. Phil Leggiere summarized the findings in Homeland Security Today:

Although progress has been made in improving surface transportation security, US ground transportation remains poorly organized and unacceptably vulnerable, according to a report issued late last week by the Obama administration.

The report, titled, Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment, issued only days after last week’s suicide bombings on the Moscow subway system, describes the current ground security system as inefficient, and calls for more focused, collaborative effort between the public and private sector to identify and rectify continuing areas of risk.

I was struck right away in reading the report that the public’s role is mentioned in the first sentence:

Securing the Nation’s surface transportation network requires a coordinated effort among all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, communities, and individual citizens. While much has been accomplished to date toward securing this network, a highly focused, collaborative effort is required to identify residual risks and associated solution paths. This report presents the results of a collaborative process that produced recommendations compiled from participating stakeholders’ individual recommendations for increasing the security of the surface transportation system.

However, the Assessment itself does not really mention the citizen’s role in its initial recommendations. Clearly, the public and private sector have the predominant responsibility for surface transportation security and are the priority. Yet, as the Assessment notes, riders also need to be made part of the effort. As the Administration continues work on this issue, it should make sure to give some attention to public piece of the equation. One way I think would be to building upon the “See Something, Say Something”-type information campaigns by providing more specifics and follow-up.

If you see something, say something

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Tags: Transportation Preparedness

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ryan Owens // Apr 11, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I couldn’t agree more! The public acts as a critical force multiplier that enables Federal, State and Local officials to have increased situational awareness.

    The United States Coast Guard has embraced this concept by creating the America’s Waterway Watch program. America’s Waterway Watch engages the maritime and recreational boating public to maintain a heightened awareness of activity on their waterways and report suspicious and unusual activity.

    We operate a 24 x 7 hotline that citizens can call to report suspicious activity. The number is 877-24WATCH.

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