Executive Summary

There are over 800,000 hazardous materials (hazmat) shipments over the nation’s roads each day. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), terrorist activity related to the transportation of hazardous materials represents a significant threat to public safety and the nation’s critical infrastructure. Specifically, the federal government has identified the government’s inability to track hazmat shipments on a real-time basis as a significant security vulnerability.

In 2004, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completed a study to determine if “smart truck” technology such as GPS tracking, wireless modems, panic buttons, and onboard computers could be used to enhance hazmat shipment security. The FMCSA study concluded that “smart truck” technology will be highly effective in protecting hazmat shipments from terrorists. The FMCSA study also concluded that “smart truck” technology deployment will produce a huge security benefit and an overwhelmingly positive return on investment for hazmat carriers.

The FMCSA study led to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Hazmat Truck Security Pilot (HTSP). This congressionally mandated pilot program was undertaken to demonstrate if a hazmat truck tracking center was feasible from a technology and systems perspective. The HTSP project team built a technology prototype of a hazmat truck tracking system to show that “smart truck” technology could be crafted into an effective and efficient system for tracking hazmat shipments. The HTSP project team also built the Universal Communications Interface – the XML gateway for hazmat carriers to use to provide data to a centralized truck tracking center.

In August 2007, Congress enacted the 9/11 Act (PL110-53) that directs TSA to develop a program - consistent with the Hazmat Truck Security Pilot - to facilitate the tracking of motor carrier shipments of security-sensitive materials. In June 2008, TSA took a major step forward in establishing a national hazmat security program by issuing guidance for shipments of Tier 1 Highway Security Sensitive Materials (HSSMs), the riskiest shipments from a security perspective. TSA’s Tier 1 HSSM guidance includes Security Action Items which specify security measures – including vehicle tracking – that TSA believes are prudent security measures for shippers and carriers to follow. Compliance with TSA’s Tier 1 HSSM guidance is voluntary but TSA is expected to issue regulations based on the Tier 1 HSSM Security Action Items that will make compliance mandatory.

Establishment of a Tier 1 HSSM truck tracking center is critical to implementation of a Tier 1 HSSM regulatory program based on the Security Action items by TSA. The HTSP technology prototype was an excellent first step toward an operational Tier 1 HSSM truck tracking system, however, it falls far short of what TSA needs in an operational system.

This deliverable examines the “gaps” between the HTSP technology prototype and an operational Tier 1 HSSM truck tracking system. It draws upon the work of an Independent Verification and Validation contractor that evaluated the HTSP technology prototype. It also examines TSA needs related to implementation of a regulatory program based on Tier 1 HSSM Security Action Items.

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