Agency to implement GPS action plan

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is implementing an action plan to maintain adequacy of backup systems for each area of operation in which the global positioning system (GPS) is used for critical transportation applications, according to Transportation Secretary Norman Y Mineta.

This decision follows a DOT study review that assessed the vulnerability of the national transportation infrastructure that relies on GPS. The study, prepared by DOT's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and released in September 2001, noted that GPS is susceptible to unintentional disruption from atmospheric effects, signal blockage from buildings, and interference from communications equipment, as well as to potential deliberate disruption. The report contained recommendations to address possible disruption and ensure safety of the national transportation infrastructure.

The department will implement a plan to include initiatives for maintaining viability of the transportation infrastructure that ensure that adequate backup systems are maintained; maintain the partnership with the Department of Defense to continue modernizing GPS with the implementation of new civil signals; facilitate transfer of appropriate anti-jam technology from the military for civil use; and conduct industry outreach to develop receiver performance standards.

DOT also will emphasize and promote education programs with state and local departments of transportation that advise users about GPS vulnerabilities. It will complete an assessment of radio navigation capabilities across all modes of transportation to identify the most appropriate mix of systems, from both a capabilities and cost perspective, for the next 10 years and beyond. This will include completing the evaluation of long-term need for continuation of the Loran-C.

The DOT Positioning/Navigation Executive Committee will oversee implementation of report recommendations and the associated work plan over the next year. Implementation of report recommendations will be integrated into future editions of the Federal Radio Navigation Plan.

The Volpe report is available through the Coast Guard Navigation Center web site at www.navcen.uscg.gov. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to [email protected].

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