FTSC calls for common GPS standards to enhance security
Feb 22, 2002 12:00 PM
Members of the Freight Transportation Security Consortium (FTSC) have agreed to work together to establish common standards for security-related messaging and data encryption for the global positioning systems (GPS) location devices that track tank trucks and tank railcars used to carry hazardous materials.
FTSC is an alliance of companies in the fields of asset tracking, vehicle monitoring, emergency response, mobile resource management systems, equipment finance, and insurance. The consortium was assembled in late 2001 in response to the need for a comprehensive solution to the threat of terrorist attacks on the hazardous materials supply chain. Technical members of the consortium are listed below.
“The companies in the FTSC believe that monitoring the tractors, tank trailers, and tank railcars used to move chemicals and fuels with modern location and sensoring devices is the best way to markedly reduce the risk of hijacking, tampering, and theft by terrorists," said Drew Robertson, director of FTSC and president of ASI-Transmatch. "However to be effective, the data from those devices should be collected and analyzed by a central monitor that can simultaneously track the 200,000 assets in the hazmat supply chain. If there is another terrorist attack, that monitor must be able to communicate rapidly and authoritatively with the police, fire and other first responders across the country. That’s a round the clock job that is too big for any single shipper or carrier.”
He called for an effective centralized security tracking system with operating systems that can communicate with each other.
Mark Hornung, another FTSC director and chief operations officer of ALK Technologies, said: “In the past, developers designed proprietary systems optimized for their unique hardware, software, communications channel, and target vertical market. While it’s not realistic to ask every developer to recode their entire systems, it is possible for them to extract just the few pieces of data relating to security and make them available to a central monitor. With common definitions for security-related messages such as location, driver and load status, a central monitor can integrate the data from the many different location devices now deployed across the railcar and truck trailer fleets. We could have something very useful in just a few months.”
Ray Menard of Criticom noted, “The FTSC initiative to set messaging standards will allow us to greatly expand our service so we can use many, perhaps most, of the commercially available systems in our security business. More importantly, it will mean we can dispatch fire, police and other first responders much more quickly and accurately.”