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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

DHS highlights transit system safeguard measures

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) officials are touting initiatives designed to ensure continued nationwide safety and security of mass transit.

DHS S&T has collaborated with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City to examine how simulated coronavirus aerosols travel through buses and train cars as a means of addressing disinfection and other virus mitigation methods.

The S&T Urban Security Initiative (USI) ensures the security of domestic public transit systems from hazards, whether natural, accidental, or intentional in nature.

“The main mission of the USI is to ensure that our cities are secure from both the spread of COVID-19 and potential weapons of mass destruction threats,” USI Program Manager Don Bansleben, who leads the initiative for S&T, said. “We are developing capabilities, tools and resources in New York City that other states, cities, and localities can use to better prepare for, respond to and recover from the pandemic or other emergency.”

USI projects involve both laboratory and field testing.

S&T is collaborating with New York City’s transportation, health, and public safety agencies, in addition to federal counterparts, to simulate real-world threat environments and hazards as part of a holistic approach to preparedness and resiliency.

“The value of this important work with the S&T USI cannot be overstated,” Michael Gemelli, who manages Environmental Detection & Emergency Response Initiatives for MTA New York City Transit, said. “Almost immediately, they approached us to help in practical ways with the pandemic, fast-tracking projects that can have an immediate impact and influence procedure and policy to keep people safe.”