Amtrak Tunnels Vulnerability Assessment

Hinman conducted a vulnerability assessment for various Amtrak tunnels in the New York City area.

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Hinman assessed the tunnels weakest points to protect them in the event of a terrorist attack or catastrophic event. We identified the weakest link in the design: the bolts holding the cast iron segments together.

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Hinman assessed the tunnels weakest points to protect them in the event of a terrorist attack or catastrophic event.

The tunnel was analyzed as a circular ring with an explosive located in the center. In this model, the explosive force is resisted by the mass of the soil and the water above, the mass of the tunnel, and the tensile capacity of the bolts. Using this first-principle approach, we computed the minimum size of weapon needed to fail the tunnel and cause flooding.

Our findings were used by Amtrak in their successful request to the U.S. Congress for funding to protect transit systems in the New York City metropolitan area against terrorist attack.