Subway systems could be terror target

Since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City, attacks on subway systems around the world have resulted in at least 250 people and injured at least 2,000 people, leading to heightened anxiety that mass transit systems will remain a major target for terror groups for some time.

In New York City, subway security remains on heightened alert and new security measures are routinely put into place. Bomb-sniffing dogs, security cameras and high-tech detection systems are now the routine. Despite these improvements, subways, which are used by millions of Americans every day, cannot be made entirely safe, according to

"It's really a potentially very vulnerable environment - one that you can't totally protect," a security firm executive and former chief of the New York City transit police said, the AP reports.  

Moreover, since the Aum cult attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995, the threat space has evolved. This means that the technology and raw materials for weapons may be more readily available and new threats have emerged that can make a subway attack more likely, according to

Evidence collected from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan indicates that al-Qaeda considered launching a terrorist strike against America's rail system, the Los Angeles Times reports.  

William Millar, the president of the American Public Transportation Association, said that Congress is not doing enough to counter the potential threat.

"Congress reduced transit security for [fiscal year] 2011 by $50 million from $300 million to $250 million as part of the budget deal," Millar said, according to

Millar points out that the September 11 Commission Act called for more than double that amount to be spent every year since fiscal year 2008 on subway security measures.