SPP Contributes to Transport, Public Safety Network

Posted: September 25, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

George Mason is part of an effort to create the first multi-state transportation and public safety integrated wireless network in the United States. The Capital Wireless Integrated Network (CapWIN) project is a partnership between Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to develop a network that will integrate transportation and criminal justice data and voice communication systems in the two states and the district and address communication difficulties like those presented by the Sept. 11 attacks.

The plan is to build a wireless network linked to local and state governments in the Washington metropolitan area that police, emergency medical personnel, and members of organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Administration can access on a real-time basis, says Roger Stough, associate dean of research and external programs for the School of Public Policy and principal investigator for George Mason’s part of the project. “The network will help governments manage, implement, and respond to events much more efficiently than they can today.”

George Mason’s role in the project is to evaluate institutional relations and how they are managed. “It’s a real challenge linking local and state governments and federal agencies together to get a manageable response,” says Mark Maggio, CapWIN project manager in the School of Public Policy. The initial recommendation is to create a commission that will allow all participants to have a say without overburdening the system with bureaucracy.

Potential benefits of the new system include improved traffic control and reduction of delays and secondary crashes; increased police officer, construction worker, and citizen safety; streamlined processes for checks on stolen vehicles and guns, criminal case histories, sex offender registration files, and domestic violence orders files; more time for police to be on the streets instead of doing paperwork; on-scene access to national databases with critical information on hazardous materials and other related information; and coordinated response to domestic terrorism situations and natural disasters.

The network will have national implications in technology transfer, and could build a foundation for networks throughout the United States and other countries. For more information, visit the CapWIN web site.

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