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Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Programs and Initiatives

Programs and Initiatives

Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancements (BASE) Program

Our BASE program is a thorough security and risk assessment of mass transit and passenger rail systems nationally, performed by our Transportation Security Inspectors-Surface (TSI-S). The assessments are conducted on a voluntary basis and with emphasis on the 100 largest systems based on passenger volume, which collectively account for over 80 percent of all users of public transportation.

The process is built around 17 Security and Emergency Management Action Items developed in a joint effort between the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and transit officials engaged through the Mass Transit Sector Coordinating Council (SCC). Assessment results enable us to establish a security profile and baseline posture for mass transit and passenger rail security programs, track any improvements or diminutions from the baseline, and determine future program decisions and needs. They inform our development of risk mitigation priorities and determine our allocations of financial resources — particularly our transit security grants.

TSA/FTA Security and Emergency Management Action Items for Transit Agencies (pdf, 55kb)

Intermodal Security Training and Exercise Program (I-STEP)

I-STEP is a key feature of our security efforts, providing exercise, training, and security planning tools and services to the public transportation community.  The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (9/11 Act) specifically requires the development of a training and exercise program for Highway and Motor Carriers, Mass Transit & Passenger Rail, and Freight Rail.  Thus, I-STEP is an integral part of our efforts to achieve a reduction in risk to our nation’s transportation network.  I-STEP also promotes multilateral relationships and interoperability among industry stakeholders by linking public and private sector partners together in exercise, training, information sharing, and best practices discussions.  I-STEP exercises promote a continuous awareness of transportation security issues on the national level.  I-STEP further demonstrates the ability to project a continuous and vigilant security presence.

I-STEP consists of modal and intermodal exercises and workshops as well as training support for mass transit and passenger rail agencies throughout the country.

Common I-STEP tabletop discussion themes include:

• Multi-partner coordination in response to security threats
– Coordination of roles and responsibilities (federal, private industry, first response, security partners)
– Coordination of available resources

• Best practices for information-sharing
– Between the public and industry representatives
– Between industry employees and upper management
– Between all relevant regional partners

• Best practices for information-sharing
– Between law enforcement agencies and non-law enforcement agencies
– Between law enforcement agencies and private industry

• Identification of potential protective measures and countermeasures


Operation BusSafe was developed in partnership with the Transit Policing and Security Peer Advisory Group (PAG) and the Transportation security Administration (TSA).

On dates selected by the PAG, local, state, and federal law enforcement officers collaborate with mass transit police and TSA Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams to provide synchronized, multi-jurisdictional counterterrorism activities at multi-modal terminals, bus stations and shelters, and on buses.

This coordinated effort may include pre and post operation inspections of infrastructure by uniformed personnel; deployment of explosive detection K-9 teams at multi modal terminals, bus stations and shelters and on buses; targeted patrol car stops of buses followed by uniformed sweeps; high visibility patrols on board buses; and the use of plain clothes officers on buses and at bus shelters and transit centers to detect and enhance counterterrorism strategies.

The number of officers/deputies deployed, TSA personnel deployed, K-9 teams deployed, buses ridden and or boarded, and terminals visited are collected for each operation and submitted to the BusSafe coordinator.


Visit the Amtrak Police Department website for information on RAILSAFE:

Amtrak RailSafe Article

International Working Groups

Mass transit and passenger rail assets continue to be targeted by terrorists worldwide. To counter this threat, every year new countermeasures and best practices are developed by the industry. We continue to work with our domestic security stakeholders to reach out to our peers internationally through various bi- and multilateral forums in order to identify effective practices for potential integration domestically. An example of these efforts is the International Working Group on Land Transport Security (IWGLTS). The IWGLTS consists of 18-20 countries who share best practices on surface transportation security.

Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Security Programs Brochure (pdf, 2.34mb)

Latest revision: 10 December 2014