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Protecting public surface transportation against terrorism and serious crime : an executive overview
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  • Publication/ Report Number:
    MTI Report 01-14 ; FHWA/CA/OR-2001-29 ;
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  • Abstract:
    Because terrorist threats are not easily quantifiable, it is difficult to determine the "right" level of security. Using cost-benefit analysis as the sole criterion to determine the level of security is inadequate. The risk of death to any individual citizen from terrorism in any venue is minuscule, making it difficult to argue for any security measure solely on the grounds that it will save lives. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the costs of security are not determined solely by the number or capabilities of the potential attackers; they also are determined by the size and number of targets to be defended. Surface transportation cannot be protected in the way we protect commercial aviation. Trains and buses must remain readily accessible, convenient, and inexpensive. Passenger profiling, the elaborate deployment of metal detectors, X-ray machines, explosives sniffers, hand searches, and armed guards, which have become features of the landscape at airports, cannot be transferred easily to subway stations or bus stops. The delays would be enormous, the costs prohibitive. Rail lines, like power lines or pipelines, are extremely difficult to protect.

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