Notes from the Underground: The Mass Transit Response to Terrorism

Client: Independent Research
Faculty: Mitchell Moss
Team: Robert L. Fraley
Year: 2003
Public transportation security became a main focal point after the September 11 attacks. How public transportation agencies responded to the attacks provides unique case studies for transportation planners and managers. With transit systems open and accessible to terrorist aggression, these agencies must come to terms with complex policy issues and make a noticeable shift toward reflecting the new context in which Americans live. This paper reviews recent trends in public transportation, offers insight into how select transit agencies have responded to past terrorist incidents, and finally recapitulates the latest responses by public transit to the events of 9/11 in the New York region. It is the intention of this study to use these agencies’ experiences as a framework for further evaluation and to examine how public transit managers and planners can contribute to terrorism preparedness in the future.