Hazardous Materials Safety & Security Operational Test
July 2, 2003
Chief Safety Officer
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
On behalf of President Bush, Transportation Secretary Mineta, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Sandberg, I thank you for the opportunity to speak here today and provide you the first look at a demonstration project we hope will encourage expanded use of technologies to improve the secure transportation of hazardous materials in our country.
The President has continued to stress that safety and security are his number one transportation priorities.
President Bush and this Administration are committed to fostering the safest, most secure national transportation system possible, even as we seek to enhance mobility, reduce congestion, and expand our economy.
These are completely compatible goals. Indeed it is essential that the Nation's transportation system be both safe and secure while we are making our economy more efficient and productive. Although we are here to discuss a test of security technology, as you will see, these technologies also have benefits for safety and efficiency and our goal is to measure these benefits as well as the improved security.
In pursuing these goals, we are Pioneers in Transportation. That is, by partnering with industry leaders like you as we have done in this endeavor, we will continue to pursue and develop "best practices." These "best practices" include new and effective technologies, that allow us to break the mold and achieve results that benefit the nation by reducing security vulnerabilities and reducing commercial vehicle crashes and hazardous materials incidents that result in loss of life and injury.
We are also working to be Architects of the Future, visionary in our view of what is possible in transportation to achieve results in improving commercial motor vehicle safety and security.
As Defenders of the Homeland, the Department continues to play an important role in preserving, protecting and defending our nation, our way of life, and our citizens. We do this through projects such as this one, working with the Transportation Security Administration to issue regulations to secure the transport of dangerous goods, including explosives, by issuing an interim final rule requiring background checks on commercial drivers certified to transport hazardous materials, and working with the Research and Special Programs Administration to issue a final rule requiring carriers and shippers of hazardous materials to have security plans and security training for employees.
In addition, FMCSA is working on a new regulation to require permits for certain carriers of extremely hazardous materials, including explosives and radioactive materials. This proposed regulation is currently being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and will require certain basic security measures as a condition of the permit.
These initiatives and principles of which I speak are not just the "hot topic" coming out of Washington, DC. As I said before, President Bush and this Administration are committed to fostering the safest, most secure national transportation system possible. For that reason there are, in the Administration's highway reauthorization proposal titled SAFETEA,
- $29 billion available for highway improvements that can include security improvements,
- Over $220 million for development of technologies including $76 million for Border States, $25 million for Commercial Vehicle Information Systems Networks (CVISN), and $121 million for Intelligent Transportation Systems, that can be used for more work such as that we are here to highlight, and
- Expanded authority for the Department to inspect and interdict unsafe or hidden hazardous materials shipments and provide hazardous materials planning grants to state or local communities for risk assessment and emergency response to security incidents involving hazardous materials.
Unfortunately the threat we are discussing is real. Most of you are probably aware of the recent arrest and conviction of a truck driver who was assisting al Quaeda in planning terrorist attacks against our country. Although no one likes to think about it, there exists the possibility that terrorists may use the trucking industry, and specifically hazardous materials to carry out their terrorist objectives. It is exactly this type of threat that has prompted the Operational Test we are here this morning to kick off.
One of the technologies we are demonstrating today will allow a company to remotely disable a vehicle on its way to carry out a terrorist attack.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a safety agency dedicated to reducing commercial vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. One of our missions is to reduce the number of serious hazardous materials incidents, highway incidents and fatalities that involve hazardous materials, and, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, to develop programs that will enhance the security of hazardous materials transportation by highway.
The USDOT identified hazardous materials transportation as an area within the transportation system that is vulnerable to attack. We are concerned with the safety and security of the transportation of hazardous materials by highway.
As we investigated methods to improve security, it became apparent that there are significant technological solutions in the market that could improve security. Many of the systems are not in widespread use at this time.
The Hazardous Materials Safety and Security Operational Test (HM Op Test) was designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of these technologies to enhance both safety and security with the goal of speeding up deployment of the industry. An independent evaluation will quantify the costs and benefits of implementing these technologies in the industry.
The deployment team was put together and is led by the Battelle Memorial Institute. Project partners include the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the American Transportation Research Institute, Total Security Services International, and Qualcomm as the technology lead. The test also includes technology from Savi Technology and Biometrics Solutions Group.
The USDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS-JPO) is funding a large portion of the 2.5 million dollar project with the remaining funding coming from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The team members are contributing additional resources in the form of documented cost shares in excess of 2 million dollars.
The test is a cooperative effort among several Federal agencies. In addition to ITS-JPO and FMCSA, the Federal Highway Administration, the Research and Special Programs Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation are providing assistance with the project.
The technologies being tested include wireless and terrestrial communications with GPS, untethererd trailer tracking, routing and geo-fenced mapping software, panic buttons, biometrics and smart cards, driver authentication with global login, electronic shipping documentation, intelligent on-board computers with vehicle disabling and cargo locking capabilities and electronic seals.
The technologies being tested are generic types of technologies, and not specific to any one vendor. The purpose of the test is to test these generic types of technologies and the industry can then choose from any vendor applying the results of this study. A technology compendium is being developed that will catalog the different vendors in these and other technology areas.
The test will involve 100 trucks in four scenarios: (1) Bulk Petroleum Transportation; (2) Bulk Chemical Transportation; (3) Less-than-truckload Transportation; and (4) Truckload Explosives.
The technologies will be combined address the specific vulnerabilities that were identified during the initial phase of the project. Several different tiers of technology will be tested within each scenario, covering a range of costs.
Testing will be conducted both as a part of day-to-day operations, in addition to some controlled environment testing.
An important component of the test is the involvement of the public sector. Agencies from four states will participate: New York, Illinois, Texas and California.
FMCSA and JPO recently have decided to expand the portion of the public sector of the test, testing technology to directly link public sector agencies with the private sector data sources and to explore the broader roles and needs of the public sector.
California is an important part of the test: In addition to the carrier, shipper and consignee participants in California, the California Highway Patrol will be involved, and testing will be done under both operational and controlled conditions.
The prototype for the testing is taking place in Southern California and will be completed by July 18, 2003. Full-scale testing will begin in August of 2003 for a period of six months.
Science Applications International Corporation will conduct the independent evaluation with assistance form Cambridge Systematics.
The independent evaluation will include eight study areas: (1) Security Benefits; (2) Safety Benefits; (3) Operational Efficiency; (4) Cost Assessment; (5) Industry Technology Survey; (6) Customer Satisfaction; (7) Institutional Challenges, and (8) Deployment Potential Assessment.
The three primary study areas—Safety Benefits, Security Benefits and Operational Efficiency—will directly feed the benefit-cost analysis, which will be a major product of the independent evaluation.
The benefit-cost analysis will have two parts: (1) A macroeconomic/ societal component that will look at the benefit-cost ratio results to society from increased safety and security through the reduction of vulnerabilities; and (2) The private sector benefit-cost ratio considering operational efficiency improvements from the use of technology.
No decision will be made on what action FMCSA will take, if any, until the completion of the project. This decision will be based primarily on the results of the benefit-cost analysis. The hope is that the demonstration of the effectiveness of the technology and the balance of benefits and costs leads to wider voluntary deployment in the industry.
The Research and Special Programs Administration and the FMCSA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking "Security Requirements for Transporting Hazardous Materials" in the Federal Register on July 16, 2002. This document asks a series of questions about the feasibility and the benefits and costs of requiring certain technological solutions and operation changes to improve the security of the transportation of hazardous materials. It is anticipated that the results of the HM Op Test will become a component of the decision making process as it relates to this rulemaking.
Once again, I thank you for the opportunity to share this exciting project with you. I will now turn the presentation over to Derrick Vercoe of Qualcomm, who will be demonstrating the safety technologies on the vehicle, and I hope you take the opportunity to examine the test vehicle more closely before it has to leave at 1:00.