Shipments of U.S. DOT-regulated hazardous materials may pose risks to the public if they are accidentally or intentionally released. The long-term safety record of these shipments is excellent, due in large part to the efforts of shippers, carriers, and receivers working closely with federal, state, and local agencies responsible for regulation, enforcement, and emergency response. Technological advances have been important in minimizing the occurrence and consequences of accidental releases by improving industry and government capabilities in areas such as shipment handling, packaging, monitoring, and emergency response. Ensuring that hazardous materials shipments are also secure from terrorist attacks and deliberate releases likewise requires the concerted efforts of government and industry aided by technology.
The objectives of this project are to (1) develop a list of near-term (less than 5 years) and longer-term (5–10 years) technologies that are candidates for use in enhancing the safety and security of hazardous materials transportation, as applied by shippers, carriers, emergency responders, or government regulatory and enforcement agencies; (2) identify emerging technologies that hold the greatest promise of being introduced during these near- and longer-term spans; and (3) identify potential impediments to and opportunities for their development, deployment, and maintenance (e.g., technical, economic, legal, and institutional). This research will review generic technologies and will not evaluate specific name-brand products.