ITS America President & CEO Shailen Bhatt has called for a more robust national transportation cybersecurity strategy to make the US transportation system safer. This would involve ensuring transportation agencies meet certain marks determined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Center for Internet Security.
Bhatt, testifying in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s ‘Addressing Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Facing Our Nation’s Physical Infrastructure’ hearing, recommended the following:
- Provide state, local, and other transportation agencies funding at up to 100% federal share, technical assistance, and best practices to improve their cyber defenses
- Set up a DOT grant program to help rural transportation agencies and areas of persistent poverty or income inequality modernize intelligent transportation systems
- Reimburse transportation entities that have been proactive and used state, local, or other funding sources to modernize ITS and improve cyber defenses
- Allow flexibility in how transportation funds are used to invest in future cybersecurity workforce capacity.
- “We fund safety programs up to 100% federal share – we should give cybersecurity the same level of support,” said Bhatt. “State and local transportation agencies need resources to shore up their infrastructure.”
Bhatt pointed out that when smart devices were introduced into transportation, state and local transportation agencies began to modernize their technologies and overlayed their physical infrastructure with a digital layer.
“While advances have made the transportation system more connected than ever, this connectivity brings increased cyber risks – and these risks have the potential to threaten the system, the economy, and people’s lives,” he said. “This is a critical opportunity. If we provide the necessary resources, we can level the playing field and create a safer and more secure transportation network.”