US Department of Transportation and China’s Ministry of Transport Conduct Disaster Assistance Conference

Mineta Transportation Institute hosted the January information-exchange meeting
March 7, 2012
San José, CA

The Mineta Transportation Institute hosted a fourday conference with the US Department of Transportation and the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Ministry of Transportation in early January. This workshop was an activity of the US/China Transportation Forum, a joint effort of the US Secretary of Transportation and China’s Transport Ministry. The purpose is to coordinate areas of mutual interest between the two nations, including disaster preparedness, urban congestion relief, emissions reduction, high speed rail issues, and other related topics.

The event was co-chaired by Mr. Michael Lowder, Director, Office of Intelligence Security and Emergency Response, US Department of Transportation, and Mr. Wang Jinfu, Director General, Department of Safety and Supervision, PRC Ministry of Transportation.

“This meeting was a continuation of our work on preparing our respective transportation systems for disasters,” said Mr. Lowder. “Each of our nations teaches and learns from the other. Although our government structures are very different, during times of crisis and disaster, we have a common need to provide our citizens with the best possible effort to restore transportation services to their communities. This workshop provided an outstanding opportunity to compare notes, as well as to learn from the experience and preparedness California has to offer.”

The San Jose meeting included several agenda items, each presented by experts from both countries. Discussion topics included the March 2011 Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Power Plant Incident: Impact on Maritime Transportation; Emergency Information Monitoring and Response Systems; Organizing Large-Scale Exercises; Safety and Security of Subway Systems; Building Disaster-Resistant Transportation Systems; Coordinating Transportation Preparedness with Community Preparedness, and Building the Emergency Response Team.

The Workshop objectives were enhanced by visits to the Caltrans District 4 Office in Oakland; the Bay Bridge retrofit information center; the USS Hornet; US Maritime Administration (MARAD) ships; the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) and a trip aboard a WETA ferry; and the Golden Gate Bridge. At each site, the group discussed transportation-related disaster preparedness and mitigation.

After the San Jose conference, the leaders of the working group proceeded to the US/China Transportation Forum in St Louis, MO for a summit with the other working group leaders from the two nations. The next annual workshop on this topic will be conducted in China.


In fulfilling the mandates of the US/China Transportation Forum, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) participates with counterparts from the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China in disaster preparedness, research and coordination activities. The goal is to improve transportation services to victims of disasters in both nations. By learning from the experiences of each other, the two entities have been able to improve plans and protocols. The function operates under the US DOT’s Office of Intelligence, Security and Emergency Response as part of its Preparedness Division, which has cognizance over the management, development, coordination and execution of plans and procedures for the Department’s emergency preparedness programmatic activities. For information, go to


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues, especially as they relate to transit. MTI was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was reauthorized under TEA-21 and again under SAFETEALU. The Institute has been funded by Congress through the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including grants from the US Department of Homeland Security. DOT selected MTI as a National Center of Excellence following competitions in 2002 and 2006. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI’s focus on policy and management resulted from the Board’s assessment of the transportation industry’s unmet needs. That led directly to choosing the San José State University College of Business as the Institute’s home.