Public transport

©HOCHBAHN

©HOCHBAHN

Public Transport is a Critical Infrastructure and part of Security Research Programs not only on the European level (EU FP7; Horizon 2020), but also on national level, e.g. National Security Research Programmes in different Member States. On both levels, a number of projects have been focussing on Public Transport (PT). Unlike the European Commission, the German government with its National Security Research Programme has made it mandatory to include Social Science and Humanities. Some observers go beyond this by requesting that not only research on security in PT (and other fields) but also (long) established security technology and practices should undergo SIA.

This  case study illustrates how the ASSERT-guidelines for SIA could be applied in practice with positive and negative examples

Stakeholders in PT security

Exploring the field of Public Transport (PT) security, we start with identifying the stakeholders in PT

Some of the main stakeholders in security in PT are listed below:

  • PT-Operators, i.e. public transportation companies,
  • PT-Staff, especially drivers, field operatives and “security workers”,
  • PT-Industry, for example suppliers of vehicles, electrical and mechanical equipment,
  • Security-Industry, i.e. suppliers of security equipment and services,
  • General public, including people living in the vicinity of PT-infrastructure,
  • PT-passengers,
  • Law enforcement entities, especially the police forces, and
  • Others, including politicians and procuring authorities

This unfinished list of stakeholders suffices to reveal how manifold and different stakeholders are in the field of PT security. They are considerably diverse (thinking for example of the PT-industry vs PT-passengers) in terms of organisation (organised vs unorganised), in their ability to articulate their interests or even exercise power, etc.

Interests of stakeholders

It goes without saying that all these stakeholders do have their interests, often vested interests, legitimate or not, which do not necessarily match.

Here again, we will only incompletely depict a few (vested) interests of the mentioned stakeholders:

Public transport operators

  • Increase of ridership and thus revenues
  • Legal compliance (e.g. regarding new laws enforcing security, political decisions)
  • Protection of assets and cost-cutting (due to damage/vandalism)

Field operatives and “security workers”

  • Health and safety at work
  • High level of objective and subjective (perceived) security

Public transport industry (e.g. suppliers of vehicles, electrical & mechanical equipment)

  • Promotion and sale of products and services

Security industry (suppliers of security equipment and services)

  • Promotion and sale of their products and services

General public and passengers

  • Convenience
  • High level of objective and subjective (perceived) security
  • Enhancement of security while keeping moderate fares
  • Secure neighbourhoods around PT stations

Law enforcement entities

  • Low registered crime-rates / high level of objective security

It comes as no surprise that the diverse stakeholders in the field of PT-security have different interests, some are compatible, others conflicting (like cost-cutting by PT-operators vs increasing security for passengers and staff).

As we will see in the following examples, for some security measures in PT there will be “winners” and “losers”. And, as stated above: The diverse stakeholders have better or worse abilities to articulate, lobby for, and enforce their interests, which is a matter of power[1].

©HOCHBAHN

©HOCHBAHN

Security-Threats

Turning now to the (potential) security-threats in PT:

Again, we potentially have a confusingly long list of thinkable security-threats in PT. For practical reasons we outline and structure the threats as follows, so that they are ranging from:

  • Anti-social behaviour (e.g. loud or aggressive misbehaviour of certain individuals or groups), to
  • Small-scale crime (like pickpocketing, vandalism or verbal abuse)
    up to
  • Serious crime (like physical abuses or even acts of terrorism)

This generic structure of threats suffices to show that security-threats in PT occur in many forms and with considerably different intensity.

Security measures

This leads to the measures improving security in PT.

As diverse as the threats, are the measures improving security in PT. There are many different ways to categorise the various safeguards. The following three categories (1) human factor, (2) technology, and (3) organisation and procedures allow subsuming all potential security measures, although only few examples are provided here:

  • Human Factor, e.g. Awareness-Raising and Training of
    • Staff
    • Passengers
    • Technology, e.g. Technical developments/equipment like
      • CCTV & pattern recognition
      • CBRNE-alarms
      • Organisation & Procedures, e.g.
        • Emergency & Crisis Management
        • Research projects
        • Objective & Subjective (Perceived) Security
        • Service-Quality (like lightening, cleanliness or information available to passengers)

The last aspects listed here are “objective and subjective security” as well as “service quality”. This may come as a surprise to some, when talking about measures improving security in PT. In the last two decades the conception of “security” has noticeably evolved: Nowadays it is not sufficient, that passengers in PT are objectively safe (after all, PT is among the safest modes of travelling), but that they also feel safe (i.e. subjective or perceived security). And this aspect of subjective security strongly correlates with quality of service, as has repeatedly been shown in research projects, e.g. SuSiPLUS[2], as well as in commissioned works (e.g. Munich[3]). Thinking this line of argument through to the end will at times influence the selection of security measures, and may even impact the agenda-setting, if not change paradigms.

This means…

To sum up this brief introduction to security in PT, we need to stress that there are many different measures for improving security in PT, and all these measures come with their distinct positive and negative (side-) effects. Furthermore, not only security-measures in a strict sense may be effective (and adequate) for improving security in PT, but also aspects like quality of service impact on objective as well as subjective security. For this reason, a holistic approach including SIA and “thinking out of the box” is required. Therefore, the role of SIA may far exceed merely identifying any potential negative outcome of a (technical) security-measure, but open up alternatives and identify additional options.

Examples for questions exploring potential Societal Impacts of security measures or research in PT

In accordance with the ASSERT-guidelines “State of the Art Societal Impact Assessment for Security Research” by Kush Wadhwa, David Barnard-Wills and David Wright/ Trilateral Research, the following section will exemplify a SIA-application in PT, providing examples for questions and exploring potential societal impacts with regard to security measures or research in PT. As stated already, this example of operationalising SIA in PT is a robust, hands-on approach for SIA-application, starting with simply formulating relevant questions. As there is no one-size-fits-all approach for SIA, these questions shall not be understood as a blueprint. Instead, they do serve as an illustration and exemplify SIA-questions, exploring a field and discovering relevant dimensions with positive and negative examples. In order to better achieve this goal, the questions will not be limited to one single security-measure or research-project but refer to diverse undertakings.

Possible queries to be raised in three rounds of questions

The ASSERT-methodology recommends three “rounds” of questions for exploring potential societal impacts of security measures in PT in the relevant dimensions:

  • Assessment Round 1 explores whether security measures/research meet the needs of society
  • Assessment Round 2 investigates and ensures that security measures/research do not have negative impacts on society
  • Assessment Round 3 warrants that security measures/research benefit society

ASSESSMENT ROUND 1:
Ensuring security measures/research meet the needs of society

Effectiveness of measures: Is the proposed measure effective in reducing an identified risk?  POSITIVE example:The effectiveness of a proposed measure is indicated in the results of a risk-assessment: the two or three factors (1) likelihood, (2) impact and optionally (3) vulnerability constitute a “risk”. The assessment of a given threat prior and, (theoretically) after introduction of the proposed measure, must indicate the effectiveness of the proposed measure in reducing the identified risk[1].

NEGATIVE example:

CCTV-cameras could be introduced in a PT-system with the aim to prevent physical assaults. While there is empirical evidence that CCTV in PT-systems effectively reduces (or displaces) vandalism, CCTV is not effective as a deterrence against physical assaults (because these are usually committed as an emotional act, i.e. they are not planned and consequently not prevented by any CCTV).

Initiator: Who is the initiator of a safeguard / measure? This question evaluates whether a safeguard / measure is developed due to internal considerations or upon external pressure, e.g. new or increased regulations, standards or laws or from the political arena. Are there any vested interests at stake? NEGATIVE example:During election campaigns in a major German city the political debate centred on security in PT; however, the resulting election-promises lacked substantiation: neither did the election promises correspond with voiced needs of PT-operators, nor with the needs expressed by PT-staff or passenger in surveys.
Legal implications: Are there any potentially conflicting legal aspects regarding the proposed safeguard / measure? NEGATIVE example:

  • The (introduction of) CCTV-systems in a PT-system, which technically enables the tracking of passengers could conflict with the law of the member state.
  • The (introduction of) rules and procedures for security staff of a PT-operator with (implicit) aspects of profiling could conflict with the law of the member state.
  • The (introduction of) procedures for ticket controls in PT-systems, e.g. while retaining people in the course of such controls, could constitute a form of coercion.
Privacy Issues and Data protection: Are there any potentially negative impacts particularly with respect to privacy issues and/or data protection regarding the proposed safeguard/measure? NEGATIVE example:

  • See example above: tracking of passengers.
  • The practice of storing video-images (CCTV) may negatively impact on Privacy and Data protection.
  • The practice of storing and exchanging personal data, e.g. of fare-evaders, may conflict with privacy issues or data protection.
Ethical issues: Are there any potentially conflicting ethical issues regarding the proposed safeguard/measure? NEGATIVE example:The expulsion of homeless people in order to improve the perceived security of passengers during critically cold winter-days/nights from warm and secure places (e.g. underground-stations) without alternative raises ethical concerns.

ASSESSMENT ROUND 2
Ensuring security measures/research do not have negative impacts on society

Freedom of association: Are there any potentially negative impacts particularly with respect to freedom of association regarding the proposed safeguard / measure? NEGATIVE example:

  • The potential misuse of CCTV against the association of PT-employees by the management of the PT-operator.
  • The potential misuse of CCTV by law-enforcement agencies against legal demonstrations, e.g. screening of passengers.
Socio-economic aspects: Are there any potentially discriminatory implications with regard to socio-economic aspects concerning the proposed safeguard / measure?  NEGATIVE example:Increasing security patrols and the consequent expulsion of homeless people from PT-premises (e.g. for the purpose of increasing subjective security). See example above for ethical issues in round 1.
Ethnic and Cultural aspects: Are there any potentially discriminatory implications with regard to ethnic and / or cultural aspects concerning the proposed safeguard/measure? NEGATIVE example:The (introduction of) procedures for profiling of passengers e.g. for ticket controls.
Non-Citizens: Are there any potentially discriminatory implications with regard to Non-Citizens concerning the proposed safeguard/measure? NEGATIVE example:The (introduction of) procedures for profiling of passengers, e.g. for ticket controls.
Religious aspects: Are there any potentially discriminatory implications with regard to religious aspects concerning the proposed safeguard/ measure? NEGATIVE example:The (introduction of) procedures for profiling of passengers e.g. in counter-terrorism regarding reconnaissance-missions.
Disabled: Are there any potentially discriminatory implications with regard to disabled people concerning the proposed safeguard/measure?  NEGATIVE example:

  • The (introduction of) turnstiles (e.g. with the aim to decrease fare-evasion) but with non-functioning alternatives for wheelchair-bound passengers.
  • Written security instructions or announcements for passengers that disabled might not read or hear.
Age related aspects: Are there any potentially discriminatory implications with regard to age concerning the proposed safeguard/measure? NEGATIVE example:The (introduction of) procedures for profiling youngsters, e.g. for ticket controls.
Gender aspects: Are there any potentially discriminatory aspects with regard to gender issues (including sexual identity) in connection with the proposed safeguard/measure? NEGATIVE example:The (introduction of) procedures for profiling male (youngsters), e.g. for ticket controls.
Mitigating Measures: Are there any mitigating measures possible and foreseen in case the proposed safeguard / measure has any negative implication(s)? POSITIVE examples:

  • CCTV coverage (introduced e.g. for countering vandalism and collecting evidence for court cases in case of abuses among passengers) may pixel out / blur out the driver-seat in the bus.
  • Some PT-operators expulsing homeless people from their premises (in order to increase subjective security) offer alternative places for the homeless (in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organisations), where they can seek shelter from the elements.
Implications for relevant stakeholders: Are there any potential impacts on relevant stakeholders caused by the proposed safeguard/measure and would they be positive/negative? POSITIVE examples:

  • Improved objective and subjective security (achieved by security-measures and safeguards) may contribute to increasing ridership and thus revenues, which is in the interest of the PT-operator as well as the (city-) government and therewith of tax-payers (who need to subsidise deficits of PT).
  • The (introduction of) security measures may contribute to improved cooperation among several PT-operators and/or among PT-operators and law enforcement agencies and/or other actors, e.g. soccer-clubs with which the PT-operator cooperates for the transport of football fans, etc.
Information and engagement of stakeholders and interested parties: Are stakeholders and interested parties adequately informed and engaged in a meaningful way?

  • Local communities
  • (Local) Governments
  • State agencies
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Other (Public) Transport Operators
  • Security Providers
  • Others
POSITIVE and/or NEGATIVE example:
PT by its very nature is involving many different stakeholders. This means on the one hand that stakeholder-involvement is almost always practiced (to a certain extend), but on the other hand that stakeholder-involvement is hardly ever comprehensive. Often, the (introduction of) security measures in PT are a result of (or accompanied by) round-tables. A typical example is sharing of domestic authority (in stations used by rolling stock of different PT-operators). This measure is kick-starting dialogue among PT-operators and between PT-operators and law-enforcement authorities, etc., while passengers and local communities are often not engaged in this process.NEGATIVE example:

The expulsion of disadvantaged groups from PT-premises drives these people into the adjacent quarters affecting these local communities.

ASSESSMENT ROUND 3
Ensuring security measures/research benefit society

Customer satisfaction and subjective security: Are there any potentially negative/ positive impacts on customer satisfaction and subjective security regarding the proposed safeguard/measure? POSITIVE examples:The (introduction of) reasonable presence of PT-staff (where appropriate service staff instead of security guards) will improve the objective and subjective security of passengers.

NEGATIVE example:

The (introduction of) massive presence of (armed) security staff may improve objective security but negatively impact on subjective security.

Staff moral/satisfaction and subjective security: Are there any potentially negative impacts on staff moral/satisfaction and subjective security of staff regarding the proposed safeguard/measure? POSITIVE examples:The (introduction of) reasonable presence of security-staff will improve the objective and subjective security of PT-staff (like drivers or station managers).

NEGATIVE examples:

  • The (introduction of) inadequate behaviour of security staff towards certain target-groups may escalate and create an aggressive atmosphere, which could negatively impact on objective and subjective security of other PT-staff (like drivers or station managers), when working alone.
  • The (introduction of) security-procedures may complicate and slow-down working-routines, and therewith constitute additional workload for PT-staff, already struggling with work-overload.
Image and reputation: Are there any potentially negative/ positive impacts on the image of the public transport operator and its reputation caused by the proposed safeguard/measure? POSITIVE examples:

  • The (introduction of) well-selected and trained security staff, which combines service- and security-functions, will positively impact on the image and reputation of the PT-operator.
  • Awareness raising campaigns (e.g. regarding terrorist threats in PT) will improve vigilance among passengers and improve image and reputation in case that they are well-done and compatible with local customs and practices.

 

NEGATIVE examples:

  • The (introduction of) inadequately trained security-staff may negatively impact on the image and reputation of the PT-operator.
  • Awareness raising campaigns (e.g. regarding terrorist threats in PT) will induce a feeling of insecurity among passengers and negatively impact on image and reputation if poorly done or not compatible with local customs and practices
Media-perception: What is the expected perception of media and opinion former regarding the proposed safeguard/measure? See: Image and reputation aboveSee: Image and reputation above
Politics: Will there be any political consequences caused by the proposed safeguard/measure and would they be positive/negative? POSITIVE example:The successful (introduction of) security measures will positively impact on image, reputation and thus revenues of the PT-operators, and consequently reduce the subsidies paid by tax-payers

NEGATIVE EXAMPLE

…and vice versa

Reaching of strategic/operational goals and adhering to compliance rules: Is the proposed safeguard / measure in line with the company´s overall strategic and operational goals as well as compliance rules? POSITIVE example:The (introduction of) security measures like emergency and crisis management is embedded in a corresponding and long-established safety- and security culture in the company, constituting a supportive environment.

NEGATIVE example:

The proposed safeguard is obviously not more than a “fig-leave” for the management, pretending to engage in security and/or shifting responsibility onto others

Reduction of health threats: Is the proposed safeguard / measure likely to increase/ decrease the safety at work and operational safety? POSITIVE example:The (introduction of) de-escalation training for front-line staff in PT-organisations (e.g. drivers, station-managers…) will lower the number of incidences with assaults, traumata, (physical) injuries, and will increase job-satisfaction and self-esteem.

NEGATIVE example:

The (introduction of) additional security-tasks for inadequately trained staff put the staff at risk.

Full lifecycle assessment and data availability: Is it possible to assess the whole lifecycle of the proposed safeguard/measure and is reliable / best data on the proposed safeguard / measure available? POSITIVE example:The safeguards are well established in other PT-operations, where they have been positively tried and tested.
Monitoring, evaluation and review: Are monitoring, evaluation and review adequately planned? POSITIVE example:For monitoring and evaluating the (introduction of) safeguards, proper evaluation-criteria can be defined. The evaluation and review needs to be adequately planned e.g. by comparing the development of surveys on subjective security of passengers and staff (prior and after the introduction of safeguards).
Operational Aspects / Embedding in processes and procedures: Is it possible to smoothly integrate the proposed safeguard/measure to everyday business? Is there a risk of follow-up expenditures in other processes or departments due to the proposed safeguard/measure? NEGATIVE example:The (introduction of) additional security-tasks (e.g. drivers who shall conduct security-checks at remote terminal stations), might slow down processes and thus constitute an additional burden for PT-staff (already carrying a work-overload). In this case the tasks do not benefit the staff in question and therefore are doomed to fail.

This set of questions is neither comprehensive, nor does it constitute a blueprint for SIA. Nevertheless, it is a starting point for exploring the relevant dimensions of societal impacts regarding security measures or research in the field of PT.


[1] As an example for a the methodology to conduct risk assessment in PT-systems regarding serious crimes see COUNTERACT
(http://www.transport-research.info/ Upload/Documents/201207/20120719_145438_7577_COUNTERACTGuidelines_lr.pdf )

 


[1] “Power” as defined by Max Weber: “…the ability to control others, events, or resources; to make happen what one wants to happen in spite of obstacles, resistance, or opposition…”; see WEBER, Max (Nachdruck 1972): Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Tübingen.

[2] SUSI-PLUS (Subjektive Sicherheit im Personennahverkehr mit Linienbussen,  U-Bahnen und Straßenbahnen): Perceived security in public transport. Research project of the Hamburger HOCHBAHN AG for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (2003-2005)

[3] Herbert König (2009): “Gewalt in der U-Bahn – Haben Fahrgäste der MVG Angst? Untersuchung zum Sicherheitsempfinden in der Münchner U-Bahn”, in: Der Nahverkehr, Heft 6/2009, 27.Jg., pp. 8-14.