The public sector's need for a sophisticated information processing and communication system became obvious after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to Moses. The technology-based PSRC concept, developed by Spill Center, is designed to meet those needs, he noted. Spill Center, founded in 1990, provides hazmat incident management services and contingency planning to the transportation, insurance and chemical industries.
"In this era of global terrorism, law enforcement and emergency response agencies in the United States require advanced capabilities to enhance public safety and security, especially in the transportation of hazardous materials that can be used as weapons of mass destruction," observed Moses, an environmental attorney and former U.S. EPA toxicologist.
As envisioned, the PSRC would serve as the communications backbone of a new system designed to create centralized information processing and command and control capabilities using existing technologies, he explained. It uses open-architecture technology and automated intelligent agents to continuously analyze data transmitted by truck tracking systems, on-board computers and other telematic devices to predict when a material in transportation poses a threat, he added.
The PSRC would provide the ability to integrate a wide variety of telematic devices with event messaging, enabling the sharing of information, including data from truck tracking systems and various security devices, without regard to proprietary hardware or software, Moses continued.
If patterns associated with increased risk are identified, the Internet-based system would automatically send alerts to law enforcement, response agencies, transporters, shippers and other registered users, he said. Alerts could be sent in the (user-specified) form of an e-mail, fax, page, text-enabled cell phone message or voice message.
The effectiveness of the PSRC concept was demonstrated during the course of the U.S. Department of Transportation's year-long Hazardous Material Safety and Security Field Operational Test of technologies to prevent commercial vehicles carrying hazardous materials from being used in terrorist attacks.
The TRB Annual Meeting is expected to attract about 9,000 transportation professionals from around the world.