By National Research Council

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Indeed, as noted in Chapter 2, the use of FAA’s air traffic management system to ground aircraft on September 11 demonstrated how existing traffic operation and control systems could be used to detect a terrorist attack in progress and help manage the crisis. Likewise, the fast and decisive actions taken by local traffic control centers to prevent commuter and subway trains from passing under the World Trade Center may have saved hundreds of lives. Monitoring capabilities that are not yet available but could prove crucial in transportation settings include real-time sensors that can rapidly detect the presence of a wide variety of chemical agents.

NRC. 1996. Airline Passenger Security Screening: New Technologies and Implementation Issues. Publication NMAB-482-1. C. NRC. 1999. Improving Surface Transportation Security: A Research and Development Strategy. C. NRC. 2002. Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: Second Report. Progress Toward Objectives. C. Policastro, A. , and S. P. Gordon. 1999. The Use of Technology in Preparing Subway Systems for Chemical/Biological Terrorism. Proceedings of the 1999 Commuter Rail/Rapid Transit Conference, Toronto, American Public Transportation Association.

The sealed containers are also less vulnerable to cargo pilfering and theft. These capabilities have vastly improved the efficiency of ship, train, truck, and terminal operations, reducing the time required for international shipping and enabling more businesses to reduce their warehouse and inventory costs through just-in-time logistics. In the United States, some 50 ports can handle containers, but few have built a significant business around them because of the large investment required for handling equipment, the need for good connections with highway and rail services, and the economies of scale of warehousing and terminal operations.

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