The following section presents the Battelle team's findings and recommendations for "next steps." While the discussion previously in Section 4.6 focused on specific technology and operational issues and lessons learned, this section takes a broader, more macro-observation of the findings of the deployment team and translates those into what the team believes should be considered (at the macro/national level) for future consideration by the U.S. DOT.
5.1 Hazardous Materials Industry
The hazmat industry participants in the FOT were selected by the Battelle Team as being representative of those companies involved with the hazmat shipment categories identified as being of higher concern in the threat and vulnerability assessment. Participating hazmat carriers are categorized in Table 16 below:
Table 16. FOT Carrier Size and Commodity Characteristics
|Carrier||Sector||Size (Annual Revenues)||Hazmat Grouping|
|1: Dupre Transport||Tank||$65,525,630||Bulk Fuel|
|2: Cox Petroleum||Tank||$21,296,620||Bulk Fuel|
|3: Distribution Tech||LTL||NA*||LTL High Hazard|
|4: Roadway Express||LTL||$2,671,185,850||LTL High Hazard|
|5: Transport Service||Tank||$74,413,700||Bulk Other|
|6: Roeder Cartage||Tank||$9,036,200||Bulk Other|
|7: Quality Distribution||Tank||$579,610,000||Bulk Other|
|8: R&R Trucking||Tank||$48,132,000||Bulk Other|
|9: Dyno Transportation||Truckload||$13,587,723||Truckload Explosives|
*NA: Not available
In addition, the state agencies offered a diverse mix of agency types, sizes, and geographic location. These agencies were the California Highway Patrol, the Illinois State Police, the New York State Police, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Even with the broad representation of participants in the FOT, it was very limited in size and scope. There are many more stakeholders (public and private) that could be involved in future projects of this nature.
5.2 Technology Issues and Opportunities
The technologies selected for the FOT can be readily plotted on myriad continuums, such as:
- Level of market usage and acceptance (commonly to rarely used)
- Unit costs (low to high)
- Management costs (low to high)
- Ease-of-use (easy to challenging)
- Technology sophistication (simple to complex; low-tech to high-tech)
While none of the technologies tested would be described as prototypes, several have very limited prior field usage outside of government applications. For example, the vehicle disabling technology is not currently a commercially available product in the United States. However, it is commercially available in other countries such as Brazil. In Brazil, the primary use for this technology has been to stop or deter theft (either of the product or the entire vehicle). The legal climate in Brazil is more conducive (than that of the United States) to the implementation of such technologies at this time. Nevertheless, all the technologies represent the most logical technology application for the particular threat and vulnerability based on a series of research studies and field tests. These technologies are categorized by focus area in Table 17.
Table 17. Technologies by Focus Area
|Vehicles||Wireless tracking and management|
|Cargo||Electronic trailer seals|
Remote door locks
Electronic data management
At a high level, most of the tested technologies were well accepted by system users. In some cases, this was based on an existing understanding and familiarity with a common marketplace system such as wireless vehicle tracking. With other systems such as biometrics, there was an acceptance that national security issues and programs (e.g., U.S. Patriot Act) made biometrics an inevitable reality.
Based on qualitative research, it was extremely evident that different stakeholders within the FOT had different perspectives according to their roles; opinions differed across technology investment decision makers, day-to-day users, government regulators, and technology vendors. For example, electronic seals seemed to have higher acceptance among carrier management than among drivers.
The use of fingerprints as an ID system was generally accepted from a security and policy perspective. Nevertheless, biometric system design issues quickly caused driver frustration and backlash. This should not be entirely surprising given that biometric usage in the transportation sector is nearly non-existent. Considerably more resources and testing are needed to ensure that biometrics are designed and applied in a logical and functional manner.
5.2.2 Wireless Vehicle Tracking and Communications
The trucking industry has a long history with wireless vehicle communications and asset tracking, making this component of the FOT one of the most accepted and entrenched of the applied technologies. The technical merits and characteristics of the different technologies that make up this grouping are well understood.
Satellite systems, which include GPS, voice and text communications, and other satellite-based functionalities, presently require good satellite coverage and the well known "line-of-sight" condition (i.e., to be effective, they cannot be blocked by thick vegetation, tall buildings, or tunnels). Therefore, vehicles can lose satellite signals in urban areas, underpasses, and, more rarely, areas with a gap in satellite coverage. From a security standpoint, solutions to this inherent problem are challenging since a conservative policy would be to initiate some action whenever there is a loss of signal. An evolving solution is to utilize hybrid systems that automatically switch between satellites and terrestrial systems based on signal strength and availability.
Terrestrial systems also have technology-based limitations such as gaps in signal coverage in lower density areas, signal interference, and proprietary/interoperability system issues.
5.2.3 Cargo Management
There were several different systems tested in the FOT that focused on identifying and/or protecting the cargo and trailer. Intuitively, these seem to be the most effective and immediate approach since the hazmat cargo itself is the primary concern from a terrorism standpoint. It is interesting that these systems are the least developed and tested of all the systems, at least within the trucking industry.
Electronic seals have received considerable attention over the last few years, with many of the proposed benefits derived from military applications. However, outside of limited U.S. DOT tests, wireless e-seals have little to no presence in the private sector transportation industry. One reason may be the complexity and variability of the seals themselves; almost without exception, each seal is based on a different proprietary system and/or "standard" making integration and interoperability nearly impossible across different e-seal systems.
The second issue is cost. The lower-cost disposable seals typically cost between $3 and $15 per seal. Even in a truckload environment where cargo access is less frequent, it is likely that several seals would be required every day for each truck. If cargo security inspections at weigh stations and border crossings were to increase as expected, the value of disposable seals would be further eroded.
The alternative is the reusable e-seal, one of which was tested in the FOT. Outside of common issues generally associated with wireless devices (e.g., loss of signal, power management issues, user-friendliness), the primary concern with reusable seals is their high unit cost. While the seal itself may only cost $30 to $50, the requisite support system (e.g., seal readers), typically raises the cost into the hundreds of dollars per truck. With well-documented operating margins of less than five percent, the trucking industry would be hard-pressed to outfit the three million plus trailers that operate on the U.S. transportation system.
5.2.4 Trailer Locks
Electronic trailer locks show some promise from a qualitative user standpoint since cargo theft continues to be a leading problem for the trucking industry. But surprisingly, the Technology Compendium discussed in Section 2.3 and Appendix C indicates that electronic trailer locks are not well established in the industry. Dramatically different trailer configurations along with cost issues can be cited as a likely explanation.
5.2.5 Electronic Freight Data
The Electronic Supply Chain Manifest provided the FOT participants with advanced encrypted hazmat cargo data, which, in theory, should enhance security and cargo management functionality. Participants generally agreed that supply chain management systems are essential, but without tangible efficiency gains from the ESCM system, usage was limited. One potential reason for the limited ESCM usage is that the companies recruited for the FOT did not have frequent runs. Government stakeholders, on the other hand, are beginning to require advance submission of electronic freight data, thus ensuring that some variation of an ESCM system will continue. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through U.S. Customs is requiring a 4-hour advance notice for incoming international cargo shipments and the FHWA is in the early stages of developing an electronic freight manifest project to look at potential efficiencies and security enhancements of an international in-bound air cargo electronic freight manifest system. Future iterations ought to expand the efficiency benefits through new services and functionality and improve systems integration so full supply chain management benefits are realized.
5.2.6 Exception-Based Testing
To counter a likely scenario that a terrorist would interfere with some aspect of the vehicle tracking system, a loss-of-signal component was designed and tested. While it generally worked within the logical parameters designed by the research team, for the reasons cited in Section 5.3.2 (primarily non-terrorist/system-based issues), more sophisticated designs and technical parameters are probably necessary.
Two variations of geofencing were tested, best described as out-of-route alerts and critical infrastructure approach. The functional difference between the two is where the circle of influence and notification layseither with the mobile vehicle or with the static infrastructure. The basic functionality shows promise beyond the obvious security applications. Integration with carriers' existing route planning systems would dramatically improve the utility of geofencing.
5.2.8 Trailer Tracking
Two variations of trailer tracking were tested, tethered and untethered. Prior to 9/11, theft was one of the biggest issues facing the industry. Tethered trailer tracking provided valid hook and drop data points to dispatchers via satellite.
Untethered trailer tracking, currently used on heavy equipment, was also tested as a concept technology. This again utilized satellite communications to the dispatcher but allows the trailer to communicate even when separated from the tractor. This provides visibility of the trailer at all times. Trailer tracking provides critical information about the location and status of the cargo that can be used to identify potential security violations.
5.3 Data Privacy Issues
It must be pointed out that various non-disclosure agreements were developed and signed as part of the FOT. This is indicative of the sensitive nature of information which included proprietary technology information, competitive operating data, and concerns about government access and use of private sector data and processes.
This issue will become more prominent as new government programs and systems require more data input and manipulation, and the private sector becomes more sensitive to the new disclosure demands. One opportunity for resolving these issues may lie with the FHWA Freight Information Highway initiative which, among other things, is attempting to develop new data-sharing agreements and partnerships between business and government.
5.4 Summary of Findings
The Battelle Team identified a number of key findings:
- Personnel expectations differ by roles and responsibilities. All stakeholder levels must be managed and trained, taking into account each group's expectations and perspectives.
- Technologies must meet the financial requirements of freight industry investors and decision makers and the ease-of-use needs of drivers and attendants.
- Multifunctional security technologies would promote higher system usage by the trucking industry.
- To support national security policies and programs, technology vendors should work together to focus on standardization of data and systems with an ultimate goal of system interoperability and/or data interchanges.
- Differing public- and private-sector expectations for returns on safety and security initiatives support the premise that costs and benefits should be determined and assigned to different beneficiaries. Carrier benefit costs should be borne by industry; societal benefit costs should be borne by society.