Research Areas

High-Speed Rail Security

Public Awareness

Inland Waterways

Behavior Awareness

Petrochemical Security

Next Generation of Transportation Infrastructure

About Us

Homeland Security Management Institute
National Transportation Security Center of Excellence

Long Island University at Riverhead
121 Speonk-Riverhead Road, LIU BLDG
Riverhead, New York 11901-3499
Tel:  (631) 287-8010

Mack-Blackwell Rural Transportation Center
University of Arkansas
4190 Bell Engineering Center
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Tel:  479-575-6026
Website:  mack-blackwell

Mineta Transportation Institute
SJSU Research Center
210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor
San Jose, CA  95112
Tel:  408-924-7560
Email:  mti@mti.sjsu.ed

Center for Resilient Transportation Infrastructure at UCONN
School of Engineering
261 Glenbrook Road, Unit 2037
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269-2037
Tel:  860-486-5642
Website:  crti at uconn

Center for Transportation Safety, Security and Risk
Rutgers University
33 Livingston Ave.
New Brunswick, NJ  08901
Tel:  732-932-4101, ext.653

National Transportation Security Center of Excellence for Petrochemicals
Texas Southern University
College of Science and Technology
3100 Cleburne Ave.
Houston, TX 77004

National Transportation Security Center of Excellence (NTSCOE)
Tougaloo College
500 West County Line Road
Tougaloo, MS  39174

Project Search

National Transportation Security Center of Excellence

The National Transportation Security Center of Excellence (NTSCOE), a collaboration of 7 institutions, University of Connecticut, University of Arkansas, Long Island University, Rutgers University, San Jose State University, Texas Southern University and Tougaloo College, addresses all aspects of transportation security including identification of existing and emerging threat, development of new technologies for resilient infrastructure, the establishment of national transportation security policies, the training of transportation professionals and the development of undergraduate and graduate education to build and maintain a quality transportation security workforce of the future.

Center Activity

Student Entrepreneur Wins Big in State Competition

Alicia Echevarria, a graduate student pursuing her M.S. degree in Civil Engineering, secured two awards in the 2012-2013 Connecticut Collegiate Business Model Competition.  Echevarria was awarded Best Written Executive Summary for her online submission and Best Venture Business Planafter giving a three-minute presentation to a panel of judges in New Haven on December 14, 2012.  Her entrepreneurial entry centered on Advanced Column Solutions, LLC (ACS), a company newly founded by Echevarria and her thesis advisor, Dr. Arash Zaghi.

Echevarria and Dr. Zaghi are co-inventors of an innovative structural column system, which is the novel technological foundation on which ACS is built.  The team credits Professor-in-Residence Dr. Hadi Bozorgmanesh, whose Experiential Entrepreneurship course provided invaluable business startup cues, with helping to catalyze the business.  Echevarria attended the semester-long course, where she learned the basics of entrepreneurship and launching a business. At the end of the term, she won a small grant for the startup and prepared for the Collegiate Competition.

Echevarria and Zaghi have applied for a U.S. patent on their newly invented column system, which provides multi-hazard resilience against blasts, seismic activity, truck collisions and fire exposure while eliminating the use of conventional steel reinforcement within reinforced concrete columns.  Echevarria and Dr. Zaghi are committed to ensuring the success of their new company and have added a third partner, Dr. Sarira Motaref, who also brings expertise in structural engineering.

While balancing her academic responsibilities, Echevarria expects to expand her promotional activities aimed at attracting customers and investors for the business.  Meanwhile, Dr. Zaghi will continue to refine the fundamental technology, which promises to enhance the safety, resilience and ease of installation of bridge columns across the nation.

Current Projects

Autonomous Wireless Sensor Network to Secure Railroad Safety
Jiong Tang (UConn)

As the U.S. is gearing towards an energy-efficient economy, the potential role of a revived railway system as mass passenger transportation tool has received more and more attention.  The recent rapid advancement in Europe and Asia has shown that high-speed rails could even compete with airplanes in certain regions with dense populations.  The revival of railways in the U.S. will be realized through two parallel approaches: sufficiently utilizing existing railroads with improved operational performance, and developing new high-speed rails.  One obvious barrier, however, exists, which is the maintenance cost.  While the safe operation of railway system hinges upon the integrity of the rail tracks, defects in rail tracks could occur due to material/structural degradations and terrorist attacks.  Rail tracks have very long lengths, at the order of magnitude of thousands of miles.  Traditional labor intensive inspection and maintenance schemes are extremely costly, yet ineffective and inefficient in dealing with the new situations/threats to safeguard the railroads.
 In this research, we propose to develop an Autonomous Wireless Sensor Network for continuous, real-time rail track monitoring, which features the following innovative ideas:
• All the sensors will be developed via wireless technology. 
• A series of sensing mechanisms using smart materials (piezoelectric transducers) and fiber optic bragg grating, with greatly enhanced detection sensitivity and reduced power consumption.
• The sensor nodes will be augmented with energy harvesting module to constantly recharge the sensor batteries, which will facilitate a completely autonomous design. 
This project will result in a paradigm-shifting, highly sensitive, robust, and autonomous monitoring system for rail tracks.  The new sensory system will entertain low-cost and high-performance, can be implemented to existing railways and to new rails to be built, and can handle defects in rail tracks caused by material/structural degradations and by terrorist attacks.
The research was conducted under the partnership of academic researchers (UConn team), industrial collaborator (Raytheon), and New York City Transit and Connecticut Department of Transportation as the stakeholders.

Supporting Secure and Resilient Inland Waterways
Heather Nachtmann (UARK) and Matthew Campo (Rutgers)

The Supporting Secure and Resilient Inland Waterways (SSRIW) project team is developed a prototype planning and response tool that provides timely knowledge and awareness of what barge cargoes could be prioritized for offloading in the event of a catastrophic disruption to an inland waterway, and the availability and capacity of nearby terminals and land-based freight infrastructure to receive and transport these cargoes. The tool can be used to identify infrastructure that exhibits low resilience to natural disasters or potential attacks against inland waterway transportation systems. This proof-of-concept study is based on data collected for a portion of the Upper Mississippi River including commodity type, volume and frequency of barge cargoes and capacity and characteristics of terminals and rail systems. Considering the large volume and low cost of freight transportation via barge, the long term loss of an inland waterway could have immediate and adverse societal and economic impacts on the region and/or nation. 

Advanced Composite Materials For Blast And Fire Resistance
Rainer Hebert (UConn)

Common techniques to protect steel frames in buildings from fire usually involve protective coatings or encasings. The objective is to either absorb heat in the fire protection material or—more commonly--to reduce the heat conduction to the load-bearing steel frame with a low thermal conductivity coating. Problems with these techniques occur if the fire protection coatings are damaged, for example, due to an explosion, and leave the steel locally exposed to the fire. The events of 9/11 moreover revealed fire-induced hazards on the system level. The weakening of the steel material at elevated temperatures occurs irrespective of the particular structure the steel is used for and thus represents a component level fire problem. The thermal expansion of steel beams creates stresses in frame structures that can lead to buckling and catastrophic failure of the frame as observed in the World Trade Center collapse. The thermal expansion-induced failure only occurs in steel structures consisting of rigidly connected steel beams and thus represents a system level fire hazard.
The proposed research aims at developing material solutions for both system- and component level fire threats to steel frame structures. On the component level we will develop construction steel alloys with improved high-temperature stability. On the system level we will mitigate thermally induced stresses with a combination of material-based and design-based solutions for a simple steel frame structure. The major objective is to develop construction steels that no longer require separate thermal protection, but have “built-in” high temperature stability.

Recent Publications (Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles)
  • NTSCOE- University of Connecticut (Center for Resilient Transportation Infrastructure)
  • Rajasekaran, S.; Fiondella, L.; Sharma, D.; Ammar, R.; Lownes, N. (2012) Communication and Energy Efficient Routing Protocols for Single-Hop Radio Networks, Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, 72(6):819-826.
  • Wang, X., and Tang, J., “Modeling and analysis of magnetic impedance sensor with circuitry integration for damage detection,” Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, V 23, 1799-1812, 2012
  • Higgins, W., Chakraborty, T., Basu D., “A high stain-rate constitutive model for sand and its application in finite element analysis of tunnels subjected to blast”, International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, Int. J. Numer. Anal. Meth. Geomech. (2012), Published online in Wiley Online Library ( DOI: 10.1002/nag.2153.
  • Martindale, H., Chakraborty, T., Basu, D., “A Strain-Rate Dependent Clay Constitutive Model with Parametric Sensitivity and Uncertainty Qualification”, Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp229-248.
  • Eskew, Edward, Jang, Shinae, (2012) “Impacts and analysis for buildings under terrorist attacks”, Articles, Paper 1.

NTSCOE- University of Arkansas (Mack Blackwell Rural Transportation Center)

Black, Ryan and Chimka, Justin R., “Re-estimating and Remodeling General Aviation Operations,” International Journal of Applied Aviation Studies, A Publication of the FAA Academy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Volume 11, Number 1, 2011, pages 47-56. Re-estimating and Remodeling General Aviation Operations
Chimka, Justin R., “Regression-based monitors of North American border-crossing activity,” submitted to Scientific Research and Reviews.
Ertem, Mustafa, Buyurgan, Nebil, and Pohl, Edward A., “Using Announcement Options in the Bid Construction Phase for Disaster Relief Procurement”, submitted to Journal of Socio-Economic Planning Sciences special issue on Disaster Planning and Logistics.
Medal, Hugh, Sharp, Stevenson, Pohl, Edward A., Mason, Scott J. and Rainwater, Chase, “Models for Reducing the Risk of Critical Networked Infrastructures,” International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, Vol. 15, Nos. 2/3, 2011.
Medal, Hugh, Rainwater, Chase, Pohl, Edward A., and Rossetti, Manuel D., “On the R-All-Neighbor P-Center Problem,” submitted to INFORMS Journal on Computing.
Medal, Hugh, Pohl, Edward R. and Rossetti, Manuel D., “An Integrated Model for Facility Location and Hardening,” submitted to IIE Transactions.
Medal, Hugh, Ramirez-Marquez, José, Rainwater, Chase, and Pohl, Edward R., “Facility Location with Interdiction:  A Multi-Objective Analysis,” in preparation.
Nachtmann, Heather and Pohl, Edward A., “Transportation Readiness Assessment and Valuation for Emergency Logistics,” submitted to International Journal of Emergency Management.
Nachtmann, Heather and Pohl, Edward A., “The Inland Waterway Transportation System’s Role in Response and Recovery,” Journal of Homeland Security. (Based on DHS Summit white paper)
Nachtmann, Heather and Pohl, Edward A., “Emergency Medical Services via Inland Waterways,” submitted to Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

Ramirez-Marquez, José, Murynets, Ilona, Medal, Hugh, Rainwater, Chase, and Pohl, Edward A., “Facility Location with Interdiction:  A Multi-Objective Analysis,” submitted to IIE Transactions.

NTSCOE- Rutgers University (Center for Transportation Safety, Security and Risk)

Faass, J., M. Greenberg and K. Lowrie “Defending a Moving Target: H1N1 Preparedness Training for the Transit Industry.” Health Promotion Practice, 2012

Greenberg, M., et al.  "Risk-Based Decision Support Tools: Protecting Rail-Centered Transit Corridors from Cascading Effects," Risk Analysis, 2011, vol. 31, No. 12, 1849-1858.

Lowrie, K., J. Shaw and M. Greenberg. “Assessment of Surface Transportation Security Training Needs and Delivery Preferences” The Journal of Public Transportation, 2011 Vol. 14, No. 4.

NTSCOE- San Jose State University (Mineta Transportation Institute)

Jenkins, B. and Butterworth, B. "Empirical Data to Guide Risk Mitigation: Examples from the MTI Database". Journal of Homeland Security.

Edwards, F. and Goodrich, D. Campus Emergency Planning. In Hubbard (ed.), Challenges of Emergency Management in Higher Education: Planning and Strategies. 2011.  Fairfax, VA: Public Entity Risk Institute.
Edwards, F. and Goodrich, D. Non-FEMA Mitigation: State Measures. In Jerrolleman and Kiefer, Natural Hazard Mitigation: A Handbook for Practitioners and Academics. 2011.  Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press

Edwards, F. and Goodrich, D. Non-FEMA Mitigation:Local Government Measures. In Jerrolleman and Kiefer, Natural Hazard Mitigation: A Handbook for Practitioners and Academics. 2011.  Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press

NTSCOE for Petrochemicals (Texas Southern University)

Stamber, K.L., Ehlen, M.A., Pepple, M., Welk, M.E., Deng, H., Lewis, C.A., Clark, L., Bryant, J.R. and Jasek, D. (2013) ‘Comparative analysis of the transportation of select petrochemicals’, Int. J. Critical Infrastructures, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp.226–242.

Student Opportunities at NTSCOE (New Courses Developed)

MTI MTM 226A: Emergency Management Issues for the Transportation Professional
MTI MTM/CTM 226B:  Security Issues for Transportation Professionals
Rutgers Training Course:  Bus Operator Security Training Program
Rutgers Training Course: Signs and Symptoms: Pandemic Preparedness for Transit Frontline Employees
Rutgers Training Course: Signs and Symptoms: Pandemic Preparedness for Transit Policy-Makers
Rutgers Training Course: Crisis Communication for Frontline Employees
UConn CE 5090: Experimental Structures - Spring 2009 - R. Christenson (instructor)
UConn CE 5090: Sustainable Transportation - Spring 2010 - N. Garrick (instructor)
UConn CE 5090: Public Transportation Systems - Spring 2010 - N. Lownes (instructor)
UConn CSE 5095: Computational Complexity - Spring 2010 - A. Russel (instructor)
UConn CSE 5095: Mastering Complex Networks: A Systems Approach - Spring 2010 - J. Cui (instructor)
UConn MSE 5320: Computational Materials Science - Spring 2010 - R. Ramprasad (instructor)
HSMI HSM 655 – Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CI/KR) Protection.  Graduate course offered in Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 semesters.
HSMI HSM 656 – Risk Management for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Transportation Systems.  Graduate course offered in the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters.
HSMI HSM 676 - Principles of Strategic Planning in Transportation Security.  Graduate course offered in Spring 2011 semester.
HSMI HSM 685 – Securing Transportation Networks;  Graduate course offered in Summer 2010 semester.
HSMI First Responders and Special Needs Populations: Dealing with Persons with Autism and Developmental Disabilities During Emergencies.  Training course and webinar under development, to be offered in Spring of 2011.

Technology Transition

NTSCOE- Rutgers (Center for Transportation Safety, Security and Risk (CTSSR)) has transitioned its research and products in collaboration with other organizations.  The distribution of the rail sabotage video through TSA to every U.S. passenger and freight rail company is an example of an innovative collaboration that transitioned a security training tool to the industry.

The TSA’s Transit Policing and Security Peer Advisory Group in June of 2011 identified a time-sensitive need to alert and train rail workers about potential sabotage threats.  The goal of the project was to produce a short, high-impact training video that could be quickly produced and distributed to passenger rail, transit and freight rail companies for use in training trackworkers, signalmen, and engineers in how to be more alert to potential signs of sabotage and suspicious activities, and to report suspected sabotage to appropriate authorities.  The CTSSR undertook the project in July of 2011, conducted background research, developed a script, gathered and filmed content, and produced a final DVD by December of 2011

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has distributed copies of the DVD and posters to all U.S. freight companies (over 500), Amtrak and 58 transit agencies for immediate use in training.  The video has been integrated into existing new employee or refresher training, used as a stand-alone training tool, or uploaded onto intranet systems for viewing online, according to agency needs and preferences. The video is also streaming online at CTSSR’s website.  Some of the agencies, including Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and DRPA, have provided positive feedback that the video is being well-received by employees.  Other than positive reaction from those viewing it, including also the American Association of Railroads security division, we cannot determine if it has made a difference in preventing terrorist attacks or derailments.  However, enhanced awareness of the threat by those with “eyes and ears” on our nation’s rail infrastructure is a key goal of overall transportation security, and this video is an adaptable and easily implementable tool to achieve this important goal.

Research Partners

The NTSCOE is a collaboration of 7 institutions, University of Connecticut, University of Arkansas, Long Island University, Rutgers University, San Jose State University, Texas Southern University and Tougaloo College.

NTSCOE researchers work with stakeholders and end user from federal organizations, state and local organizations and first responders. Some of the organizations include:

US Department of Homeland Security

- Transportation Security Administration

- US Coast Guard

US Department of Transportation

Connecticut Department of Emergency Management

California Emergency Management

New Jersey Transit

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

Maryland Transit Administration

NTSCOE Resources

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “Major Elements of the U.S. Freight Transportation System: 2002,”, retrieved March 2009.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “National TransportationStatistics, 2008,”, retrieved March2009.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). 2003.“Recommendations for bridge and tunnel security.”Rep. prepared by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Bridgeand Tunnel Security for AASHTO TransportationSecurity Task Force.

Handfield, R., Blackhurst, J., Craighead, C.W. and Elkins, D., “A Managerial Framework for Reducing the Impact of Disruptions to the Supply Chain,”Supply Chain Management,, retrieved September 2010.

Jackson, Col. D.E., “Leveraging the Strategic Value of the U.S. Inland Waterway System,” U.S. Army War College Strategy Research Project, Carlisle Barracks,PA, 2007.

Kruse, C.J., Protopapas, A., Olson, L. and Bierling,D., “A Modal Comparison of Domestic Freight Transportation Effects on the General Public,” Final Report, Texas Transportation Institute, December2007, amended March 2009.

Morton, R., “Waterways Keep Commerce at a Steady Flow,” Transportation & Distribution, v43, 2002.“The Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment,” March 2010,

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Quadrennial Homeland Security Review: A Strategic Framework for a Secure Homeland, ” February 2010.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “One Team,One Mission, Securing Our Homeland: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2008-2013,” September 2008,

U.S. Department of Transportation Special Report SR-018, “U.S. Freight on the Move: Highlights from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey Preliminary Data,” September 2009.

U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Maritime Security: Vessel Tracking Systems Provide Key Information, but the Need for Duplicate Data Should beReviewed (GAO-09-337),” Washington, DC, 2009.

U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Transportation Security: Efforts to Strengthen Aviation and Surface Transportation Security Continue to Progress, but More Work Remains (GAO-08-651T), Washington,DC, 2008.

“A Vision for High Speed Rail,” April 16, 2009,



Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107- 296, 116 Stat. 2170 (2002) ; 6 USC § 188 Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-53, 121 Stat. 387 (2007) ; 6 USC § 1103

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-161, 121 Stat. 2093 (2007)