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.

  • Person pointing at a public transit map, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

    Report

    Incorporating Resilience into Transportation Planning

    A resilient transportation system is one in which critical assets are not exposed to hazards or, if they are, there is sufficient capacity to mitigate the negative effects. How can transportation planners better incorporate resilience into their decisionmaking?

    Oct 16, 2019

  • Interior of autonomous car with ones and zeroes superimposed, photo by metamorworks/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Why AV Safety and Cybersecurity Need to Be Pursued in Tandem

    Safety and cybersecurity are generally pursued by separate teams within autonomous vehicle companies. A joint approach to standards could optimize safety and cybersecurity and reduce overall risks to autonomous vehicle operation.

    Mar 20, 2019

  • A U.S. Border Patrol agent at the San Ysidro port of entry from Mexico in San Diego, California, November 9, 2018

    Commentary

    Shutdown Could Provide Opening for Adversaries to Corrupt Those Protecting the U.S. Homeland

    Every day that the government shutdown continues prolongs the financial hardship for those on the front lines protecting the United States and gives cartels and transnational criminal organizations an opening to try to corrupt the DHS ranks. As negotiations continue to stall, the Trump administration and Congress should consider taking steps to guard against this vulnerability.

    Jan 22, 2019

  • Passengers wait to enter the xray machine as a man is scanned at an airport,

    Multimedia

    New TSA Administrator Discusses Global Aviation Security

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, TSA Administrator David Pekoske joins Brian Michael Jenkins for a discussion about the TSA's strategy and approach to operations in the face of evolving threats to transportation from terrorist groups and the individuals they inspire.

    Nov 29, 2017

  • The Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

    Commentary

    How to Harden America's Soft Targets

    The U.S. government must choose where to apply limited resources to defend soft targets. But it could expand its information-sharing efforts with other governments and local law enforcement. Broad intelligence sharing and more training could help identify potential attackers before they can execute their plans.

    Jul 5, 2017

  • LED map of the continental United States

    Essay

    Election 2016: The Domestic Issues

    RAND offers a unique take on the big domestic issues facing America: research that is independent, reliable, and rigorously nonpartisan.

    Oct 3, 2016

  • A boy takes pictures at Narita International airport in Narita, Japan, March 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Terrorism Shouldn't Affect Travel Plans

    Evidence suggests that the threat of terrorism need not affect individuals' behavior and travel decisions, not even in the wake of attacks such as those in Brussels and Paris.

    May 21, 2016

  • Travelers wait in line at a security checkpoint at La Guardia Airport in New York City, November 25, 2015

    Commentary

    Out of Line: How to Better Protect Airports from Terrorist Attacks

    In airport security, it's not the size of a potential terrorist bomb that matters most, it's where it detonates. Fortunately, new technologies may present opportunities to get travelers out of line and keep them safe.

    May 2, 2016

  • A self-driving vehicle travels on the road during a demonstration in Singapore, October 12, 2015

    Commentary

    The Police Could Be Controlling Your Self-Driving Car

    As self-driving cars become widespread, one of the biggest issues will be the rules under which public infrastructures and public safety officers may be empowered to override how autonomous vehicles are controlled.

    Apr 4, 2016

  • 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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

  • Information privacy design concept with globe, lock, and data

    Project

    Assessing the Public Perception of Security and Privacy in Europe

    A 3-year EU-funded research project assessed existing knowledge about the relationship between security and privacy; collected empirical evidence through a pan-European survey; and analyzed the main factors that affect how the public perceives the security and privacy implications of security technology.

    Sep 10, 2014

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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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