APTA Developing Security Standards

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which serves the nation's public transit and commuter rail systems, earlier this year, began to expand on its 10-year legacy in standards creation by initiating the development of security related standards in several areas.

APTA currently has working groups drafting standards in the areas of closed circuit television, fencing and trash receptacles, including bomb resistant trash receptacles, Greg Hull, APTA's director of operations, safety and security programs, tells TR2. The emerging standards will be voluntary but will give APTA's members and others more confidence in the products they buy.

"Having standards provides for a constant level of performance that someone can receive when they purchase a particular item," says Hull.

Such standards "are badly needed," John Waddell, president and chief operating officer of BlastGard International [BLGA], a developer and producer of bomb mitigating products including trash receptacles, tells TR2. He says some transit agencies have purchased blast resistant products that don't perform well. Standards will provide "confirmation that products do what they're supposed to," he adds.

For now APTA and its members are going after the "low hanging fruit first and then build on those successes" when it comes to creating security-related standards, he says. "We have a long list of security related standards that we would like to take on, but of course it's all subject to available resources, both human and financial."

In the past APTA has received financial help from the Department of Transportation (DoT) in the development of standards for bus and rail systems. Now APTA is trying to get the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to pitch in dollars to help with creating security standards. DHS does believe that at some point they'll be able to provide some funding support," says Hull.

The various security standards are being drafted by APTA, its members, industry participants and representatives from DHS and DoT.

For trash receptacles, Hull says standards are being worked for the range of receptacles in general, including their sizes, placement, and different capabilities for bomb resistant trash cans.

"The reason for moving in the area of bomb resistant trash receptacles is that there are several suppliers in the industry but there hadn't yet been a particular standard specifically for receptacles and we're very pleased as we've been moving through the development of that standard to have the participation of companies such as BlastGard working with us and the industry to draft a standard," says Hull.

In addition to BlastGard, Mistral Group also sells blast containment trash cans.

The standards won't tell companies how to manufacture a product, but instead ensure that they meet certain performance requirements, says Hull. "We're not saying how to get to that point, we're saying we need a standard so that when people procure things they can all expect a common level of performance," he says.

The development of standards for CCTV and fencing is proceeding along a similar path as the trash receptacles in terms of the range of potential capabilities and uses, says Hull.

This fall APTA expects to have draft standards available for public comment for all three security product areas its working groups are focused on now. Final standards should be ready by the end of the year, says Hull.

While the standards are voluntary, APTA does reach out to its members to encourage them to adopt the standards, he says.

[Copyright 2006 Access Intelligence, LLC. All rights reserved.]