Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Frances Edwards


National Incident Management System, Incident Command System, Surface transit agencies


In February 2003, in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the administration of then President George W. Bush developed Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 (HSPD-5), which mandated the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the Incident Command System (ICS) by all agencies receiving federal funding (Bush, 2003). The intent of HSPD-5 was to “enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents by establishing a single, comprehensive national incident management system” (Bush, 2003), or in other words, to ensure that emergency response by the many disparate agencies under the umbrella of government funding is using the same tools, resources, and operating concepts when they respond to an event; an alignment of mission. Because surface transit agencies fall under the HSPD-5 mandate and are an essential pillar in state, local, and national emergency response, it is important to understand how these agencies are presently implementing the HSPD-5 mandate to operation line employees receiving ICS 100/200 training. Therefore, this paper will identify the current delivery method employed for FEMA mandated Incident Command System (ICS) 100/200 training (e.g. online-only, face-to-face, or blended) for operation line employees at a few select surface transit agencies from broadly similarly sized metro areas, in different regions of the United States, and how the delivery of this training can be made more effective.

The specific surface transportation agencies that will be examined are the Santa Clara County Valley Transit Authority (SCCVTA), the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA). These agencies were chosen because they service a broadly similar number of citizens, exhibit a distinct geographical and regional diversity, and because of the different threats that they face based on the disparate geographic regions from which they operate. These factors will allow for a more general assessment of NIMS/ICS implementation, and what factors, if any, serve to impede implementation as well as issues related to the deployment of NIMS/ICS in the event of a real-world scenario. In assessing the ability to deploy NIMS/ICS effectively in the field this document will examine the perceived efficacy of various teaching methodologies: online-only, face-to-face, or blended. Finally, the paper will seek to determine the agency’s satisfaction with the current training methods employed by the agency, as well as identify any factors that might qualitatively improve ICS 100/200 learner outcomes; what they might change about current training. Ultimately, the goal is to increase understanding of the ICS 100/200 training methods employed by transit agencies, identify areas that might be suggestive of improvement, and provide recommendations that align with both the mandate and the needs of the organizations.