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Abstract

U.S. communities depend on reliable, safe, and secure rail systems. Each weekday, more than 12 million passengers take to U.S. railways. Recent attacks on passenger-rail systems around the world highlight the vulnerability of rail travel and the importance of rail security for these passengers. The use of passenger rail and the frequency with which terrorists target it call for a commitment to analyzing and improving rail security in the United States. This book explains a framework for security planners and policymakers to use to guide cost-effective rail-security planning, specifically for the risk of terrorism. Risk is a function of threat (presence of terrorists with intent, weapons, and capability to attack), vulnerability (likelihood of damage at a target, given an attack), and consequences (nature and scale of damages if an attack succeeds). While effective security solutions may address all three components of risk, this book focuses on addressing vulnerabilities and limiting consequences, since these are the two components of risk most within the realm of rail-security personnel. The analysis is based on a notional rail system that characterizes rail systems typically found in the United States. The methodology presented is useful for planning rail-security options.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    What Are the Key Rail-Attack Threats and Their Consequences?

  • Chapter Three

    Qualitative Risk Assessment for a Notional Passenger-Rail System

  • Chapter Four

    Baseline Security and Operational Characteristics of the Notional Rail System

  • Chapter Five

    Cost-Effectiveness Assessment of Security-Improvement Options for the Notional Rail System

  • Chapter Six

    Rail-Security Policy Considerations

  • Appendix A

    Qualitative Risk Assessment of Rail-Attack Scenarios

  • Appendix B

    Cost-Effectiveness Assessment Details

The research described in this report was supported by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice and was conducted under the auspices of the Homeland Security Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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