Researchers Hope Lessons Learned in Second Intifada Will Open Dialogue About U.S. Transit Security

By Carlton Purvis



Suicide bombers targeting buses often use the “leave behind” method, where an IED is left on a bus and triggered by cell phone later, but it is often hard to leave the bomb in a place that would inflict maximum casualties without being seen. Suicide attacks, on the other hand, have been successful in bombing attacks for several reasons.

Buses are ideal targets for suicide bombing attacks because they provide a confined area with little protection for victims. Bombers have figured out there’s a science to bus attacks: When explosives are set off in a confined area like a bus or small room, explosive waves last longer, increasing kill potential. MIT notes this could be applied to subways or trains with greater lethality because of their solid construction “which retains, rather than vents, the air pressure wave.”

Effective practices included stopping the bus some distance before the bus stop to enable the driver to examine waiting passengers before they board and establishing practices for examining passengers who come up to the bus unexpectedly, questioning and interacting with passengers as they board, and training drivers to recognize the design of suicide and bomb vests and lead evacuations.

“All of the cases raise questions,” MIT says. “The most important question, particularly for security officials and transportation operators in the United States, is, how applicable are these cases to the current environment in the United States?”

Read the full report “Security Awareness for Public Bus Transportation: Case Studies” by clicking below.

photo of a bus bombing in Mt. Lavania, Sri Lanka by  Duminda Jayasena/flickr 


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