The National Academies

NCHRP 20-59(50) [Completed]

Mainstreaming Transportation Hazards and Security Risk Management: CAPTA Update and Implementation

  Project Data
Funds: $175,000
Research Agency: Countermeasures Assessment & Security Experts, LLC
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey L. Western
Effective Date: 8/5/2014
Completion Date: 9/30/2016

Surface transportation agencies are uniquely positioned among civilian government agencies to swiftly take direct action to protect lives and property. They have broad policy responsibility, public accountability, large and distributed workforces, heavy equipment, and robust communications infrastructure. The institutional heft of such agencies also provides a stable base for campaigns to mitigate or systematically reduce risk exposure over time through all-hazards capital investments. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Special Committee on Transportation Security and Emergency Management (SCOTSEM) adopted several reports in August 2012 that provide detailed guidance:
  • A Guide to Emergency Response Planning at State Transportation Agencies (NCHRP Report 525, Vol. 16), and
  • Security 101: A Physical Security Primer for Transportation Agencies (NCHRP Report 525, Vol. 14).
Those documents join the report adopted by the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures:
  • Blast-Resistant Highway Bridges: Design and Detailing Guidelines (NCHRP Report 645).
The SCOTSEM-adopted reports provide baseline processes that reference the methodology developed in NCHRP Report 525, Volume 15: Costing Asset Protection: An All-Hazards Guide for Transportation Agencies (CAPTA), which produced:
  1. A project report that documents research activity and methodology development
  2. A User Guide that explains and illustrates the CAPTA methodology and its implementation and application
  3. A computer-based tool that implements the methodology (“CAPTool”)
  4. An embedded data model (updatable)
The User Guide (Item 2, above) was updated in 2013, when FHWA published Using CAPTool to Implement the “Costing Asset Protection: An All-Hazards Guide for Transportation Agencies (CAPTA)” Methodology (CAPTool User Guide). Use of tools such as CAPTA inform agency decisions so that, to the extent possible, investments in transportation infrastructure represent “system-level” decisions that consider security as an important factor comparable to safety, reliability, and other aspects of transportation capital investment decision making. The goal for CAPTA 1.0 was to support mainstreaming an integrated, high-level, all-hazard, National Incident Management System (NIMS)-responsive, multimodal, consequence-driven, risk management process into transportation agency programs and activities by providing a convenient and robust planning tool for top-down estimation of both capital and operating budget implications of measures intended to reduce risks to locally acceptable levels.

There have been significant changes in national guidance since CAPTA was first released and the adoption by state DOTs of the NCHRP reports referenced above. There is a need to (1) update the baseline data in the data model embedded in CAPTA and (2) reposition CAPTA to better align with the planning and design processes now in place. The costing data update is necessary but not sufficient; a detailed implementation plan is needed to promote use of CAPTA by state DOTs and other agencies so that it can become part of a mainstreamed process for including security and related considerations in the transportation planning process and resource allocation decisions.
There is also a need to simplify and package the CAPTA approach to encourage broader interest and adoption and overcome the sources of resistance to embodiment of security into resource allocation decisions including (1) lack of institutionalized statewide planning that addresses resource allocation, (2) perceived reduced urgency of security issues, (3) reduction in funding for emergency and security-related planning, and (4) overcomplicated processes and methods for incorporating hazard- and threat-related factors into planning and programming.

The objectives of this research are to (1) update and enhance the CAPTA methodology and CAPTool for realistic costing and (2) create and apply an implementation plan to inform state transportation agencies and other stakeholders of the updated products.

Accomplishment of the project objectives will require at least the following tasks.


Phase I

. Categorize the user community for CAPTA and CAPTool. Describe who is using and who is not using CAPTA and CAPTool and why. (2). Review CAPTA and CAPTool for potential improvements and updates, including but not limited to costing data. The NCHRP is particularly interested in ways to continuously update costing information. (3). Develop a list of prioritized recommended improvements to CAPTA and CAPTool, taking into account Tasks 1 and 2. Break the recommended improvements into (a) those that can be carried out in Phase II with available resources and (b) those requiring additional resources. (4). Develop a list of recommended strategies, materials, plans, and specific and targeted activities to be carried out as implementation activities in Phase II. Break the Task 4 recommendations out into (a) those to be carried out in Phase II with available resources and (b) those requiring additional resources. (5). Prepare an interim report on the information developed in Tasks 1 through 4. The interim report shall also contain a detailed work plan for the proposed Phase II activities.
Phase II
(6). Carry out the approved Phase II work plan. (7). Submit a final report that documents the entire research effort and includes (a) the information materials in electronic formats suitable for customization and updating, (b) the updated CAPTA and CAPTool, and (c) an updated PowerPoint presentation describing the research and results suitable (upon revision) for posting on the TRB website.

Completed. TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Web-Only Document 233: Mainstreaming Transportation Hazards and Security Risk Management: CAPTA Update and Implementation provides an update and enhancement of the CAPTA methodology and CAPTool for realistic costing. The suite of materials produced include a quick start guide to use the CAPTool, as well as a dataset populated with example data. The project includes a PowerPoint presentation to help inform stakeholders about the updated products.

The report is related to information produced for the NCHRP Report 525 Volume 3: Incorporating Security into the Transportation Planning Process.

Software disclaimer: This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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