Project aims to enhance military checkpoints

Project aims to enhance military checkpoints

A vehicle is examined at a military checkpoint in this photo from the Department of Defense. The National Strategic Research Institute has earned a $1 million contract to continue its research on improving military checkpoints.
Department of Defense
A vehicle is examined at a military checkpoint in this 2013 photo from the Department of Defense. The National Strategic Research Institute has earned a $1 million contract to continue its research on improving military checkpoints.

The University of Nebraska system's National Strategic Research Institute has earned a $1 million contract to continue its research on improving military checkpoints.

The contract from U.S. Strategic Command will allow researchers to identify and assess human factors that affect security at entry control facilities. The project will test the effectiveness of checkpoints for threat and non-threat drivers.

The project's first phase was in 2014 and evaluated curbs and speed tables for traffic calming and security within checkpoints. The second phase, now underway, involves traffic-calming elements and roadway geometry to enhance safety and security at checkpoints. The third phase began in January will develop a new passive barrier design that will be more secure and less expensive than current systems. And the fourth phase will require the research team to conduct physical human factor testing and provide design recommendations.

"We are pleased to continue partnering with the University of Nebraska because they bring a wide range of subject experts who can conduct the research necessary to improve the design, safety and security aspects of our (entry control facilities) while simultaneously reducing construction and operating costs," said Darren Guttmann, chief of traffic engineering at the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Transportation Engineering Agency, a part of U.S. Transportation Command and sponsor of the research.

The research team consists of faculty and staff from the Nebraska Transportation Center and the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, including Laurence Rilett, professor of civil engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Ron Faller, director and research associate professor at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility; John Reid, professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Nebraska; and Cody Stolle and Jennifer Schmidt, research assistant professors at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. The Nebraska Transportation Center is the umbrella organization for all transportation research at the university.

"We are excited to work with (U.S. Strategic Command) to optimize the implementation of passive safety devices," Stolle said.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, military installations at home and abroad have used additional security to protect military and civilian personnel from terrorist threats, Rillett said.

"We are honored to be conducting research for (U.S. Transportation Command) that will make our service personnel safer and more secure," he said.

U.S. Transportation Command is one of nine Combatant Commands within the Department of Defense. It provides transportation for the department in peace and war. The National Strategic Research Institute is one of 13 University Affiliated Research Centers in the United States, delivering research solutions directly affecting defense department operations and national security.