Transport Economics, Management and Policy series
Chapter 3: Some basic economics of transportation security
Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security John Allen Paulos. The user’s going to pick dancing pigs over security every time Bruce Schneier. Much of the public reaction in the United States, and that of the public authorities, to the 2001 attacks on New York and Northern Virginia was essentially a knee-jerk. Politicians felt that something should be done to maintain public confidence, and almost any sort of action was a natural recourse. The issue was as much one of assuring public confidence as it was of preventing further acts of terrorism. There was an inevitable feeling that inertia in these circumstances would be perceived to be a sign of weakness, and lack of command of the situation. Almost any action was thus seen as important in maintaining public confidence. There are, however, opportunity costs inherent in this, and gradually this has been explicitly recognized. The longer-term approach has been more measured, and involved significant broader national and international institutional changes in addition to the deployment of explicit anti-terrorist measures at the micro, generally local jurisdiction level. The creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in 2001 and its subsequent embedding in the Department of Homeland Security is perhaps the most obvious transportation manifestation of this at the national level, with actions at such bodies as the International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization reflecting international initiatives.
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