The Mass Transit Security Information Sharing Network is a formal process for sharing of information and coordinating efforts across the Federal Government, with State and local governments and private stakeholders, during both routine programmatic activities and high threat/incident-driven events. Participating entities include TSA's Mass Transit Branch, Office of Intelligence, Office of the Chief Counsel, and Public Affairs; the DHS Offices of Grants & Training, and State & Local Government Coordination and the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC); and the FTA. This effort has succeeded in knocking down the "stovepiping" and bureaucratic hurdles that have plagued Federal entities handling and disseminating information.
TSA's Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement Surface Mass Transit Branch has acted on multiple fronts to facilitate engagement with passenger rail and mass transit agencies in periods of heightened threat, security incidents, and other emergencies. Capitalizing on TSA's Information Sharing Environment initiative, the Division developed, tested, and implemented an alert and e-mail notification system to quickly notify passenger rail and mass transit security coordinators of developing transportation security events. The notification system proved its effectiveness in apprising stakeholders of the developing situation during the disruption of the terror plot in the United Kingdom during August 9-10, 2006.
To provide the capability to communicate classified information to properly cleared officials in passenger rail and mass transit agencies, TSA has coordinated with the FBI to use the secure video teleconferencing systems at Joint Terrorism Task Force offices throughout the country. In conjunction with FBI and CIA officials and DHS HITRAC, TSA will provide periodic comprehensive intelligence briefings on a regional basis to operating and security officials in passenger rail and mass transit systems. Additionally, TSA is deploying secure telephone equipment to the top 20 transit agencies (based on passenger volume) to enable immediate communication of time-sensitive classified threat information.
Effective implementation and use of the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) is critical to the success of Federal information-sharing efforts. DHS established HSIN for stakeholders to use in the various SCCs. The network includes a Public Transit Portal, intended for use as an information-sharing and exchange resource for transit systems throughout the country. An often expressed concern of is the absence of a single source or . The Public Transit Portal on HSIN has been developed to serve as a "one stop shop" for transit system security officials for Federal information on transit security and the gateway to Federal information updates and resources for the mode and information and material developed by the Public Transportation Information Sharing and Analysis (PT-ISAC), led by APTA. Feedback from mass transit and passenger rail systems will help ensure information products meet security needs.
A key component of the portal is the Mass Transit Resource Center. The Resource Center provides a comprehensive database for the transit industry to access information on a broad spectrum of subjects pertinent to transit security, material not readily available in a consolidated format elsewhere. TSA uses the Portal to provide timely security alerts, advisories, and information bulletins to passenger rail and mass transit agencies. Technology information and updates constitute an important component of this resource. Overall, the Resource Center covers more than 20 subject areas of security interest to the public transportation community, reflecting the feedback received from stakeholders on the type of information they require to meet the security mission.