Regional Rail Security Integrated Planning Initiative
As a direct outcome of the AHC's Private Sector integration initiative launched in 2011, this regional rail initiative was initiated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and the NJ UASI. Participants include both passenger and freight rail carriers, multiple state/UASI representatives, and DHS' Transportation Security Administration.
The initiative will focus on the development of specific projects and a public/private rail owners/operators framework for critical decision making built on the existing inter-dependencies between these public/private organizations with an emphasis on state and local integration.
The initiative will identify systems, technologies, policies, and protocols that enhance regional rail security and response operations within the North East and Mid-Atlantic regions. It will also leverage and build upon existing investments, lessons learned, research and initiatives already underway in both the public and private sectors. The first project reviewed operational readiness including identifying and modifying best practices; operational plans, prevention considerations and identified technologies for rail provider's recommended use in the study area for the purpose of ensuring a consistent regional response to a threat or event.
Project Title: NE Rail Corridor Homeland Security Coordination and Business Continuity
The NE Rail Corridor (Corridor) is a vital component of our nation’s critical infrastructure that enables delivery of passengers, goods and services between Boston and Virginia. The Northeast mega-region, which is served by Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, had a $2.4-trillion economy in 2005, one-fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product (1). The Corridor is the busiest passenger line in the United States.
The Corridor is owned by AMTRAK, however, numerous passenger and rail carriers use the right-of-way. A major interruption along this route has the potential to impose catastrophic passenger and freight transportation disruptions and downstream impact on national travel, the nation’s logistics system, and the associated economy. The Corridor users along with those who support Corridor operations, security, and emergency response can prevent or minimize service interruptions if this enterprise can plan and enact a shared and coordinated approach to Corridor continuity of operations.
During a meeting of the All Hazards Consortium (Philadelphia, June 2011), a number of the Northeast Rail Corridor carriers and members of the emergency management community discussed the challenges of security, operations, information exchange, sharing of Best Practices, and coordination of emergency protocols and response among the Northeast Corridor users. The parties agreed that a unified effort aimed at solidifying regional business continuity during rail corridor disruptions would serve all parties well.
Two separately managed and funded programs emerged from this discussion; a New Jersey UASI initiative focused on a portion of the Corridor line in New Jersey and a similar WMATA project focused on the National Capital Region. The similarity of the two complimentary efforts led to a subsequent discussion among All Hazards Consortium attendees resulting in agreement to actively coordinate these initial projects and, should other projects arise, coordination of those projects addressing the NE Corridor enterprise business of continuity efforts. The parties also concluded that an Ad Hoc Governance Board could guide provision of a unified strategy and coordination for future related projects.
In support of this opportunity, NE Corridor rail carriers agree in principle to: identify critical information exchange requirements, develop communication pathways, share best practices and examine direct coordination of response activities among Corridor Rail line users relative to continuity of operations during events with the potential for major interruptions.