Training and exercises are an important part of emergency management. Plans are developed based on threat assessment, but they are not useful unless staff members are trained on how to use the plan, and then practice that training. Exercises are also essential for ensuring that the plan is effective, and outcomes from exercises are used to improve the plan. Exercises have been an important part of gauging the preparedness of response organizations since Civil Defense days when full-scale exercises often included the community. Today there are various types of exercises that can be used to evaluate the preparedness of public agencies and communities: seminars, drills, tabletop exercises, functional exercises, facilitated exercises and full-scale exercises. Police and fire agencies have long used drills and full-scale exercises to evaluate the ability of staff to use equipment, protocols and plans. Transit and transportation agencies have seldom been included in these plans, and have little guidance for their participation in the exercises. A research plan was designed to determine whether urban transit systems are holding exercises, and whether they have the training and guidance documents that they need to be successful. The main research question was whether there was a need for a practical handbook to guide the development of transit system exercises.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Transportation Security/Counterterrorism

MTI Project



Disasters and emergency operations; Disaster preparedness; Emergency training; Hazards and emergency operations