Transportation, Terrorism and Crime: Deterrence, Disruption and Resilience

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Transportation, Terrorism and Crime: Deterrence, Disruption and Resilience


Terrorists likely have adopted vehicle ramming as a tactic because it can be carried out by an individual (or “lone wolf terrorist”), and because the skills required are minimal (e.g. the ability to drive a car and determine locations for creating maximum carnage). Studies of terrorist activities against transportation assets have been conducted to help law enforcement agencies prepare their communities, create mitigation measures, conduct effective surveillance and respond quickly to attacks.

This study reviews current research on terrorist tactics against transportation assets, with an emphasis on vehicle ramming attacks. It evaluates some of the current attack strategies, and the possible mitigation or response tactics that may be effective in deterring attacks or saving lives in the event of an attack. It includes case studies that can be used as educational tools for understanding terrorist methodologies, as well as ordinary emergencies that might become a terrorist’s blueprint.



Dan Goodrich is the Senior Transportation Security Scientist with the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, and the instructor for “Security Issues for Transportation Professionals” in the Master of Science in Transportation Management program. He is a Certified Emergency Manager, a Master Exercise Practitioner, a Professional Continuity Practitioner and a Certified Security Specialist. He is co-author with Frannie Edwards of Introduction to Transportation Security, nine major publications for MTI, as well as a variety of professional articles and book chapters. He provides emergency management planning and training support to Caltrans and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. He is a FEMA-certified instructor for the ICS course suite. He has worked at county government and in the private sector, and has sixteen years’ military service, including US Marine Corps Security Forces.


Frannie Edwards is Deputy Director of the National Transportation Security Center of Mineta Transportation Institute, and professor and director of the Master of Public Administration program at San Jose State University. She was the governor’s appointee for emergency management on the Seismic Safety Commission. Her recent publications include Housing Recovery After Disaster, and Introduction to Transportation Security with Dan Goodrich, as well as reports for MTI, book chapters and journal articles. She has been a member of academic working groups at Harvard University, Stanford University, NATO and the European Union. For 22 years Dr. Edwards was a public administration and emergency management practitioner, including 14 years as the Director of Emergency Preparedness for San Jose, California. She is a certified emergency manager. She has a PhD and MUP from New York University; a MA from Drew University; and a Certificate in Hazardous Materials Management from University of California, Irvine. 

January 2020
Critical transportation
Transportation security
Vehicle ramming



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