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CapWIN Draws Renewed Congressional Support

CapWIN Draws Renewed Congressional Support

College Park, Md. – The Center for Advanced Transportation Technology is proud to announce that its Capital Wireless Information Net (CapWIN) program, the nation’s first multi-state transportation and public safety wireless information network continues to grow rapidly in membership and capabilities, supported in part by $6.1 million in new Congressional earmarked funding.

On July 28, this growth was showcased at a CapWIN briefing and demonstration on the campus of the University of Maryland that featured Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), CapWIN officials, first responders from Maryland, Virginia and the District, and university officials. At the briefing, CapWIN and public safety officials thanked Hoyer for his support and highlighted the importance to the program and its users of $6.1 million in new federal appropriations that Hoyer secured last year, together with Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

"CapWIN has proved to be an essential tool for public safety and transportation agencies across the region working to enhance information sharing, wireless data management and general communication," said Congressman Hoyer. "As a result of the innovative CapWIN technology and program, first responders and law enforcement are able to more effectively respond to incidents and improve their day-to-day operations to keep our communities safe. I am proud to have secured federal funding to help expand this program, which has been so effective in improving efficiency and coordination across agencies and jurisdictions."

Conceived in 1999, the Capital Wireless Information Net, or CapWIN, is a regional coalition of public safety and transportation agencies across Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Government whose mission is to enable and promote interoperable data communications, operational data access, and incident coordination across jurisdictions and disciplines. The number of agencies participating in CapWIN has doubled in just the past year to 81 agencies, said Tom Henderson, executive director of CapWIN. Current membership includes local, state and federal government agencies, such as the Maryland State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the District of Columbia’s Fire and EMS, the United States Park Police, and a major private disaster response organization, the American Red Cross of the National Capital Region.

In his remarks at the briefing, Henderson thanked Rep. Hoyer for his extensive support for public safety in general and CapWIN in particular. He explained that the new funding gives the program support and time that it needs to effectively build on what has already been accomplished. These earmarked dollars do three critical things for the program, according to Henderson: give it time to become self-sufficient through its new membership fee program; expand its services for existing members and seek participation by regional, state and federal public safety agencies not currently a part of CapWIN; and create new applications focused on the needs of Fire, EMT and other non-police agencies.

CapWIN at UM

Henderson noted that the CapWIN program is unique in the interoperable capabilities it offers, and in the fact that it is housed and staffed by the University of Maryland, while being operated under the guidance of a Board of Directors representing local, state, and Federal first responder agencies across Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

“The University is proud that CapWIN’s services are helping to make us safer on multiple levels and delighted that it is housed in our premier Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, which is part of our department of civil engineering,” said University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr.

“CapWIN also is taking advantage of University of Maryland expertise by collaborating with our researchers in several fields,” Mote said. “The university is a leader in innovative research on security topics, computer science and information systems, all of which contribute to CapWIN’s capacities.”

According CapWIN officials, the program has developed mobile data software solutions that enable first responders in the field to wirelessly access mission critical data and to communicate with each other in real-time. These solutions work on laptop computers and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) connected to CapWIN’s secure gateway. In addition, CapWIN has developed Data Services solutions that enable community members with existing mobile data systems to access key data resources, such as Driver’s License Photos.

Initial plans for the CapWIN program were initiated in 1999 by a group of public safety and transportation agencies from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia who were charged with developing an interoperable data communications and information sharing solution for first responders across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01, the CapWIN program was awarded $20M in direct Congressional funding to support its initial development activities. These “start-up” funds were originally intended to pay for the first two years of technical development, but ultimately covered CapWIN’s initial development and operational deployment over a five-year period.

About CATT

The Center for Advanced Transportation Technology (CATT) -- part of the department of civil and environmental engineering in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland -- was created to respond to the increasing use of advanced technologies in the transportation field. CATT is supported by a permanent staff of intelligent transportation systems professionals and affiliated faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering. All offer extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of ITS technology, traffic engineering and control, systems analysis, and operations research.

UM Security and Intel Research

The University of Maryland is involved in a broad array of interdisciplinary research to improve the nation's safety and security and to combat global terrorism. This includes intelligence and security research conducted by the Center for Advanced Study of Language and the new Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), both based at the university. The university is also home to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) developer of the Global Terrorism Database, the world's largest unclassified database of terrorism attacks; the Laboratory for Physical Sciences, where researchers from the university and the National Security Agency collaborate on research in advanced communication tactics and computer technologies; and the Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences, a Department of Defense research lab focused on networking and telecommunications.

For more information please contact: Carly Keane at 301.403.4601 or at ckeane@umd.edu.

July 30, 2008


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