MTI Improves Surface Transportation Security with International Experts

The Mineta Transportation Institute's (MTI) counter-terrorism experts have been collaborating with the U.K., Israel, France, and other countries to collect and analyze data and develop case studies about terrorist attacks against public surface transportation. Given the international nature of terrorism, this data sharing will help to create best practices and policies to help prevent and mitigate future attacks around the world, including the U.S.

Brian Michael Jenkins, an internationally recognized terrorism authority and Director of MTI's National Transportation Security Center of Excellence, is leading that effort. He is assisted by Bruce Butterworth, an MTI research associate since 2007, with whom he has co-authored eight MTI research reports and two opinion pieces. The most recent of these articles, "What we can learn from the Christmas Day bombing attempt," was published in the Washington Post in March.

"This collaboration is especially important in the U.S. because public transit systems have featured prominently in recent terrorist plots," said Butterworth. "It's even more important as we develop high-speed rail. Other countries have a great deal of experience addressing attacks, and countries like Japan and France have had high speed rail systems for some time. All of this can help nearly all countries, including ours, develop the best possible practices to increase safety and security for their citizens."

Butterworth has considerable exposure to international security issues in aviation and has contributed pioneering work on MTI's proprietary database of terrorist attacks against public surface transportation around the globe. His briefings in London and Israel this past January, as part of a US Department of Homeland Security delegation, increased the interest in counter-terrorism collaboration. Butterworth is now working with a prominent Israeli expert to develop detailed cased studies on terrorist attacks against buses. He and Jenkins have been invited to brief UK authorities about the results of MTI's empirical analysis of terrorist attacks against rail, buses, and highway infrastructure.

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