Transportation Agencies Prepare for Attack or Disaster

Mineta Transportation Institute Documents a More Effective Incident Command System Training Strategy for State Transportation Agency Personnel
August 31, 2016
San José, CA

In the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster, state transportation departments must maintain open transportation routes for critical response. To achieve this, personnel must receive effective emergency management training. A new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), Emergency Management Training for Transportation Personnel, documents and analyzes the benefits of the interactive approach to training for adults. This information is useful for all transportation agency training departments as they design and deliver federally-mandated courses.

Principal investigator Dr. Frances Edwards and team developed an Incident Command System (ICS) course with training materials for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. They then taught that course to field personnel from the California Department of Transportation, demonstrating the value of interactive methods in training adults.

MTI’s research findings confirmed the value of using adult education strategies to create a meaningful and effective training experience for transportation personnel working in the field, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government (COOP/COG) organization. The report also demonstrates the importance of employees knowing the contents of the relevant plan and their role in the organization in advance of the training.

Dr. Edwards notes that “The resulting national policy recommendation is that state transportation agencies will benefit from adopting the principles of andragogy (especially the use of interactive training materials) in their emergency management training courses to take better advantage of the way that adults learn.” The new free ICS course and training methods will help ensure continuity of transportation operations in case of terrorist attack, natural disaster or other emergency.

The full report can be downloaded at no charge from the MTI website:


Frances L. Edwards, M.U.P., Ph.D., CEM, is Deputy Director of the National Transportation Safety and Security Center at Mineta Transportation Institute, professor of political science, and director of the MPA program at San Jose State University. Daniel C. Goodrich, MPA, CEM, MEP, CSS is a Research Associate with Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, and a lecturer in the MSTM program. James Griffith, MPA is a financial analyst at the California Department of Public Health and a Consulting Associate for the Mineta Transportation Institute.


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information transfer programs regarding surface transportation policy and management issues, especially related to transit. Congress established MTI in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. MTI won national re-designation competitions in 2002, 2006 and 2012. The Institute is funded through the US Department of Transportation, the US Department of Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI, the lead institute for the nine-university Mineta National Transit Research Consortium, is affiliated with San Jose (CA) State University’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.


Karen E. Philbrick, Ph.D.
MTI Executive Director