Transportation Security

Attacks on a country's transportation infrastructure can have serious and destabilizing impacts that are further complicated by the public availability of information relevant to these targets. Recognizing the potential damage of such attacks, RAND conducts research and provides essential planning and vulnerability assessment tools to public and private organizations from metropolitan transit authorities to airlines and rail companies.

  • Research Brief

    Privacy vs security? Europeans' preferences on transport security and surveillance measures

    RAND Europe has collected evidence from one of the largest-ever surveys of citizens' views across Europe on security, surveillance and privacy issues in three scenarios: train travel (described here), internet use, and storage of health records.

    Aug 20, 2015

  • A car dashboard computer


    Learning to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet of Things

    Late last month, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars to fix a defect that allowed hackers to imperil drivers from afar. In essence, what was considered a huge threat was converted into a solved or at least solvable problem.

    Aug 4, 2015

  • A Tunisian holds up a flag during celebrations marking the fourth anniversary of Tunisia's revolution, Tunis, January 14, 2015


    Tunisia in the Crosshairs

    The open-ended nature of the Islamic State group's threat against Tunisair suggests that it intends to target Tunisia for the long haul. The United States should counter the threats with steadfast and sustained cooperation and assistance.

    Jun 22, 2015

  • TSA Acting Administrator Melvin Carraway meets with TSA officers at New Orleans International Airport the day after a man attacked security agents and later died in the hospital where he was being treated for gunshot wounds


    TSA Flunked Its Security Test Big Time — Now What?

    We have to accept that humans, no matter how well-trained they are or how dedicated they are to their mission, are just not very good at maintaining laser-like focus while performing repetitive tasks. That does not mean airport security can ever be completely given over to machines.

    Jun 15, 2015

  • A TSA arm patch and shield at Los Angeles International Airport, California, February 20, 2014


    Are Airport Security Screeners Looking for the Wrong Things?

    An investigation revealed that the TSA has failed in contraband testing, at a 95 percent rate. This shouldn't be perceived as an indictment of TSA workers. But it may be an indictment of the particular assignments they've been given.

    Jun 4, 2015

  • A K-9 police unit keeps watch as passengers make their way through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport


    Improving Domestic Security to Combat Today's Terrorist Threats

    Today, the U.S. confronts a multilayered terrorist threat and the recent spate of attacks in Europe underscores the necessity for ensuring that intelligence keeps up with it. Intelligence services must continue to prevent terrorist assaults dispatched from abroad, head off new shoe and underwear bombers, intercept individuals returning from jihadist fronts with terrorist intentions, while at the same time uncovering and thwarting homegrown plots.

    Jan 30, 2015

  • Report

    Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Results of the comprehensive analysis of PACT's pan-European Survey

    This study reports public preferences for security, surveillance and privacy across 27 European Member States measured using a stated preference survey. It focuses on three real life contexts: metro travel, internet use and health records.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • Airline passengers wait in line before passing through a TSA checkpoint at LAX


    TSA's Cellphone Rule Part of Deadly Race

    While placing explosives inside a cellphone is plausible, it is almost impossible to do so with iPhones without rendering them non-functional, which is why the TSA is now checking cell phones are actually working.

    Jul 29, 2014

  • car interior with a dashboard computer


    Sounding the Car Alarm on Hackers

    Security protections on vehicles have not kept pace with systems that control safety features, navigation capabilities, and wireless communication functions. Onboard computer networks will likely become much more attractive to hackers.

    Jun 30, 2014

  • A commercial aircraft being serviced at an airport terminal


    The Breach of Security at San Jose's Airport Raises Broader Issues

    Those charged with security must think in terms of 360-degree security—not only screening passengers coming through the terminal, but also preventing unauthorized access to the aircraft from the air operations side of airport.

    May 13, 2014

  • Passengers line up in LaGuardia Airport as it was reopened after being evacuated due to a suspicious package being found by a baggage handler, February 4, 2014


    Experts Are Working to Develop Evidence-Based Ways to Measure Anti-Terrorism Efforts

    The effects of security measures ought not to be measured solely in terms of prevention. Different types of countermeasures produce different effects, such as deterrence, making it easier for security to intervene during an attempted attack, and providing visible security that reassures the public.

    Feb 7, 2014

  • A bomb ripped apart a bus in Volgograd on Monday, killing 14 people in the second deadly attack in 24 hours


    Why Did Terrorists Attack Volgograd?

    The Volgograd attacks have brought renewed world attention to the unresolved conflict in the turbulent Caucasus. The bombings no doubt have rattled Russian nerves. While Umarov's reputation among extremists will rise, President Putin's reputation as defender of Russia is at stake.

    Dec 31, 2013

  • A line of TSA personnel salute the U.S. Honor Flag procession as it leaves LAX at a ceremony in memory of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez November 6, 2013


    Want to Create Problems? Arm the TSA

    With its current 47,000 screeners, an armed TSA would become the federal government's largest armed entity outside of the military. In the eyes of many, arming TSA screeners would change the image of the organization from a service aimed at guaranteeing safe air travel to an unwanted imposition of federal authority.

    Nov 7, 2013

  • Delayed passengers stand behind a police cordon after a shooting incident at Los Angeles airport (LAX)


    Airport Violence—Not a New Phenomenon

    Shootings at airports are nothing new, writes Brian Michael Jenkins. In fact, they have regularly occurred worldwide in recent years. The motives have included terrorism, crime, and mental illness.

    Nov 2, 2013

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    Increasing Air Security with "Trusted Travelers"

    Long lines at airport security checkpoints are a sign of the post-9/11 world. Can aviation security be more efficient? Better yet, could a “trusted traveler” program not only reduce traveler burden but also increase security?

    Sep 1, 2013

  • The Harbor Police K-9 Team explosive detection canine perform a search on luggage at San Diego International Airport


    More Secure or Less Free?

    It is not surprising that people report a willingness to trade convenience, money, and liberty for security. Legal precedent reinforces that decreased civil liberties may be accepted when confronting existential threats with demonstrably effective security—to a point, writes Henry H. Willis.

    Dec 17, 2012

  • Man at Security Checkpoint


    Fake Boarding Pass Fears Inflated

    Instead of ratcheting back the PreCheck program because of manufactured fears about security lapses, TSA should be encouraged to expand this program to more airlines, more airports and more infrequent travelers, write Jack Riley and Lily Ablon.

    Dec 12, 2012

  • airport security check with passenger walking through metal detector


    An Assessment of TSA's Risk Management Analysis Tool Finds Some Gaps

    The Transportation Security Administration's RMAT has enabled a more sophisticated understanding of terrorism risks to the air transportation system, but TSA should not treat RMAT results as credible estimates. Rather, the results can help to inform the components of terrorism risk and possible influences of system changes on that risk.

    Nov 26, 2012

  • Airline passengers waiting to board


    TSA Procedures Need to Be Remade from Scratch

    It is time for a new approach to meeting America's next-generation aviation security needs, one that dodges the influence of politics and bureaucracies and relies instead on the resources and objectivity of independent researchers operating from a clean slate, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 28, 2012

  • A traveler walks through a metal detector at a security check point in John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, February, 29, 2012


    After Four Decades, It's Time for a Fundamental Review of Aviation Security

    Budgetary constraints, heavy passenger loads, and popular hostility toward screening procedures are all challenges to securing commercial aviation. After 40 years of focus on tactical measures, it is time for a sweeping review of aviation security.

    Aug 29, 2012