Thursday, July 07, 2005

Will our monorail be safe?

Today's tragic bombing in London brings up a question that I don't think has been satisfactorily answered by SMP: how safe will our monorail be against acts of terrorism?

I did some research in SMP's document archive, and found this statement buried on page 23 of a Transportation Risk & Uncertainty Evaluation document from 2002
Acts of terrorism were discussed but deemed to be insignificant due to a very low probability that the monorail would be a target.
Keep in mind this was also before the Madrid bombing.

I'm not alone in hoping for a reevaluation of the cost/benefit ratio of some added security. Right-wing blogger and Times guest columnist Matt Rosenberg had this to say in a 2004 column
Compared to other rail-transit operations here, the Green Line will be a distinctly Seattle enterprise, and highly symbolic. Unlike Sound Transit's already-operating commuter-rail system, the Green Line will be contained within city limits, and run through Seattle's heart, on an elevated guideway.
Rosenburg included a vague statement from then-SMP Director Joel Horn, which now seems even less relevant after the departure of the latter.
Horn says all procedures aren't finalized yet, but there will be a very strong focus by the monorail authority on security, including an emphasis on design factors, close coordination with law enforcement and other industry "best practices."
With the future of the entire monorail system up in the air, it may be a strange time to argue about details, but the devil's in the details, and security is one detail with quite a few devilish characters lurking inside.

update: a levelheaded counter-point by atrios
If people want to blow up buses and trains, they're probably going to be able to blow up buses and trains. No security precautions compatible with a busy transit system are likely to stop them all the time. If people are willing to kill themselves while blowing up buses and trains, then they're probably going to succeed no matter what security systems are in place.


Post a Comment

<< Home