Congressional Briefing - December 11, 2007

Protecting US Passenger Rail Systems From Terrorism: Identifying Cost Effective Security Strategies

Passenger exiting train


K. Jack Riley
Jeremy Wilson


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


2:00 P.M.


2212 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

Jack Riley, Associate Director of the RAND Corporation's Infrastructure, Safety and Environment Division, and Jeremy Wilson, Associate Director of the RAND Corporation's Center on Quality Policing, will present findings from a new RAND study titled, Securing America's Passenger-Rail Systems.

Each weekday, more than 12 million passengers take to U.S. railways. U.S. communities depend on reliable, safe, and secure rail systems. Recent attacks on passenger-rail systems around the world highlight the vulnerability of rail travel and the importance of rail security for these passengers.

This research provides 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).

What sets this research apart from others is the authors' use of a generic rail system that characterizes rail systems typically found in the U.S. to calculate how cost effectively different security measures address terrorism risk. The approach could be applied to systems all over the country with different characteristics to help get the most security benefit for the money spent to protect these systems.

About the Speaker

Jack Riley

K. Jack Riley (Ph.D., Public Policy Analysis) is Associate Director of RAND Infrastructure, Safety and Environment (ISE) and an adjunct faculty member of the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is the founding co-director of RAND's Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy, a collaboration with the private sector that uses sophisticated modeling to address homeland security issues. Dr. Riley's recent homeland security publications include a national assessment of terrorism preparedness, an assessment of potential contributions by state and local law enforcement to counterterrorism and homeland security intelligence, and an evaluation of California's vulnerability to terrorism. He is a co-author of Securing America's Passenger-Rail Systems.

Jeremy Wilson

Jeremy M. Wilson (Ph.D., in Public Administration) is the Associate Director of the Center on Quality Policing at RAND, the Willett Chair in Public Safety in the Center for Public Safety at Northwestern University, and an Adjunct Professor in the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Co-author of Securing America's Passenger Rail Systems, other works by Dr. Wilson include Recruitment and Retention: Lessons for the New Orleans Police Department, Community Policing in America, Police-Community Relations in Cincinnati, State and Local Intelligence in the War on Terrorism, and Establishing Law and Order After Conflict.

RAND Office of Congressional Relations

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Further Inquiries

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