As part of the United States Department of Transportation's effort to protect the nation against terrorists, Transportation Secretary Norman Y Mineta has announced the start of an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) test to measure the effectiveness of safety and security technologies and procedures for safeguarding hazardous materials being transported by trucks. Private and public sector participants have committed cost sharing for the project, in effect doubling the buying power of the $2.5 million being provided by the federal government.
The purpose of the test is to assess the effectiveness of different technologies and procedures and determine costs and benefits of each to the safety and security of hazardous materials being transported by trucks. The test will independently assess which combination of technology and procedures is the safest and most cost-effective for protecting different types of hazardous cargo from being hijacked by terrorists.
The two-year effort will include 100 trucks equipped with existing technologies. This project will test capabilities such as biometric driver verification, off-route vehicle alerts, stolen vehicle alerts, cargo tampering alerts, and remote vehicle disabling.
DOT has awarded the contract for this project to the Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus OH. The Battelle team includes the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the American Transportation Research Institute (formerly the ATA Foundation), Qualcomm Inc, Total Security Systems Inc, and several motor carrier companies and technology component vendors.
Nearly 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials occur daily on US highways.
This project is a joint effort involving several DOT agencies. Led by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the test is largely financed by DOT's Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (JPO). The team includes technical experts from JPO as well as from the Research and Special Programs Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and DOT Office of Intermodalism.