Media Advisory: Mineta Transportation Institute Rail Security Experts Available

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Can address security aspects of potential al-Qaida rail attacks on 9/11 anniversary
May 6, 2011
San José, CA

Following the revelation that al-Qaida may have been planning U.S. rail attacks on the tenth anniversary of September 11, the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) is offering its rail security and disaster management experts for media interviews. Brian Michael Jenkins, director of MTI’s National Transportation Security Center of Excellence (NTSCOE), is an internationally-recognized expert on terrorist attacks, including the most likely methods. Frances Edwards, PhD, deputy director of MTI’s NTSCOE, is internationally known for her expertise on disaster management planning and implementation. Rod Diridon, Sr., executive director of MTI, has deep insight about rail transportation in the U.S. and abroad.

In each of their subject areas, they can address derailment scenarios; success rates of various attacks; al-Qaida motivation and organization; credibility of specific information; disaster planning best practices; management and recovery following a disaster; specifics about rail operations; security currently in place in the U.S. and abroad; what ordinary citizens can do; and other related topics.

MTI has been conducting case studies and other research on domestic and international transportation security since 1996. Recent examples of these research reports are (free download):

The 1995 Attempted Derailing of the French TGV (High-Speed Train) and a Quantitative Analysis of 181 Rail Sabotage Attempts

Explosives and Incendiaries Used in Terrorist Attacks on Public Surface Transportation: A Preliminary Empirical Analysis

Exploring the Effectiveness of Transit Security Awareness Campaigns in the San Francisco Bay Area


Brian Michael Jenkins, director of MTI’s National Transportation Security Center of Excellence, is a world’s foremost authority on terrorism and sophisticated crime. From 1989 to 1998, he was Deputy Chairman of Kroll Associates, an international investigative and consulting firm. Before that, he was chairman of RAND’s political science department, where he also directed research on political violence. In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed Mr. Jenkins to be a member of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. From 1999 to 2000, he served as an advisor to the National Commission on Terrorism. During the Vietnam War, Mr. Jenkins was a paratrooper and ultimately, a captain in the Green Berets. He is a decorated combat veteran. Mr. Jenkins is the author several publications, including his recent book, Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?

Frances L. Edwards, M.U.P., Ph.D., CEM, deputy director of MTI’s National Transportation Security Center of Excellence, is also Director of the Master of Public Administration program and Professor of Political Science at San José State University. She is deputy director of the National Transportation Security Center of Excellence at the Mineta Transportation Institute at SJSU, where she teaches emergency management in the Master of Science in Transportation Management program; and Deputy Director of the SJSU Collaborative for Disaster Mitigation. Among her many honors and positions, Dr. Edwards was appointed the U.S. Chair for the European Union’s CAST Project to create common curricula for first responders across the EU. She is a “subject matter expert” for the Department of Homeland Security, and has served as a Site Visitor for the National Science Foundation.

Hon. Rod Diridon, Sr., has served as executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute since 1993, following its creation by Congress in 1991. Mr. Diridon has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs, most related to transit and the environment. He frequently provides legislative testimony on sustainable transportation issues and is regarded by many as the “father” of modern transit service in Silicon Valley. He was appointed by Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger, in 2001 and 2006, respectively, to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board, of which he is chair emeritus. During his long career, he helped found, and is chair emeritus of, the High-Speed and Intercity Rail Committee and the National High-Speed Rail Corridors Coalition of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). He also served as president of the national Council of University Transportation Centers.


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). In 2002 and 2006, MTI won competitions among as many as 36 universities nationwide to become a Tier One University Transportation Center. The institute is 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 (DHS). DOT selected MTI as a National Center of Excellence, and DHS later designated MTI as a National Transportation Security Center of Excellence. 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. MTI conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues


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