BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Transportation Security Administration has commended the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and five other rail and mass transit agencies from across the nation for earning TSA's highest rating of "Gold Standard" on their 2013 Baseline Assessments for Security Enhancement for their dedication to building a strong security program.
The BASE program is designed to establish a security standard for individual system security programs and assess progress. This voluntary comprehensive review of transit agency security programs focuses on multiple categories identified by the transit community as fundamentals for a sound transit security program. They include a review of topics such as an agency's security plans, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs. The BASE program analyzes the security program for each transit system and identifies opportunities to further enhance security.
"The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is to be commended for its commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires and for the agency's continued dedication to ensure the security of travelers in the region," said TSA Federal Security Director Brian Johansson. "Ensuring the security of the passengers who ride the buses, trains, paratransit vehicles and trolleys goes beyond those who work in law enforcement and security. It includes the dedication of all 1,500 employees of NFTA."
NFTA was reviewed in 2013 and attained high scores across all categories. TSA considered this caliber of performance as reaching a "Gold Standard" and recognized NFTA for having a strong security program. TSA continues to work with all transit agencies across the country to develop and implement robust security practices system-wide.
In addition to NFTA, the five agencies recognized for achieving the Gold Standard in 2013 are: Sound Transit (Seattle), Hampton Roads Transit (Hampton, Va.), South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail (Pompano, Fla.), Valley Metro (Phoenix) and Capital District Transportation Authority (Albany, N.Y.).
In addition to these six agencies, there have been 37 others that have previously earned the Gold Standard Award level of security since 2010.
The BASE program was developed to increase domain awareness, enhance prevention and protection capabilities and further response preparedness of transit systems nationwide. BASE is aimed at meeting the requirements in the 9/11 Commission Act's security assessment section, which directs TSA to identify critical assets, infrastructure and systems and their vulnerabilities and assist bus and public transportation authorities to address their security programs.