The topic of security is high on the agenda for the International Association of Public Transport
The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) is the international organisation for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry. It is constantly striving to provide its members a platform to keep abreast of the latest thinking and developments in the public transport sector.
The issue of security was traditionally addressed within the work of the Metropolitan Railways Committee, however, in 2004 a cross-modal Security Working Group was set up to look at the issue more directly and to include land-based modes as well as underground systems. The rapid evolution of the group into an official UITP Commission demonstrates the importance of this topic for UITP’s members and UITP’s commitment to it.
The current chairman of the Security Commission (SecCom) is Mr Geoff Dunmore of London Underground, and its membership is made up of security and operations managers of public transport companies from around the world. The SecCom also has strong links with various agencies, such as the OSCE, APTA, ALAMYS and the European Institutions to ensure regular collaboration and coordination with the right bodies from around the world and on both the political and operational levels.
The SecCom meets twice yearly and at meetings the members have the opportunity to exchange on relevant topics of interest. The SecCom also coordinates all of UITP’s activities on security such as study tours and seminars, and is responsible for UITP’s positions and publications on the topic of Public Transport Security. The following gives a flavour of how UITP engages with the topic of security for the benefit of its members:
UITP is joining forces with CUTA for its 3rd International Security Conference, taking place in Montreal on 11-12 November 2009. With the first two conferences in 2005 and 2006 focusing on the important topic of anti-terrorism, the SecCom decided to broaden the focus of this next conference to include all the different kinds of security issues facing public transport organisations on a daily basis. The focus of the conference is therefore on achieving a balance in your security measures to cover all the relevant threats relevant to you, from graffiti to fraud to terrorism. More information, including the call for papers for the Conference, will soon be available on UITP’s website (www.uitp.org).
The SecCom revealed its first publication in 2007 entitled Public Transport Security in Stations: Prevention, Responding & Recovering in the face of terrorism. The document, developed by a team of SecCom security experts from RATP, London Underground, Hamburger Hochbahn Wache, Movia and UITP, provides guidance for the improvement of security in public transport stations and the development of appropriate security plans to counteract the terrorist threat.
The SecCom’s second publication, due for release in 2009, is on the topic of CCTV. It is clear that CCTV is a very widespread and useful security tool for public transport organisations. Therefore a study team was set up to write a document which will guide the reader through the process of investing in (or indeed upgrading) CCTV.
The report will focus on the CCTV “lifecycle”: from making sure that CCTV is the answer to the identified problem, all the way through the tender and purchasing process, not forgetting the implementation, training and operational aspects which need to be considered before investing in the technology. The document will also offer a “vision for the future”, giving an indication on what technologies and solutions will lie ahead for public transport security in terms of surveillance technology.
UITP has engaged in various European Union funded research projects on behalf of the SecCom and it is currently coordinating one such project entitled Cluster Of User Networks in Transport and Energy Relating to Anti-terrorist ACTivities (COUNTERACT). COUNTERACT is funded under the Sixth Framework Programme within the Directorate-General for Transport and Energy and will draw to a close in April of this year. The project is split into three clusters looking at anti-terrorism security in the Energy, Freight and Passenger Public Transport Sectors. The focus of the Passenger Public Transport Cluster, also coordinated by UITP, is to identify gaps in knowledge and know-how among public transport operators in anti-terrorism security. Then, to carry out “Targeted Studies” in order to fill some of those gaps and provide tools to Public Transport Organisations to prepare and respond to the terrorist threat. Such Targeted Studies have been carried out on the topics of risk assessment, security planning, public awareness campaigns and decision-making processes.
Developing “Generic Guidelines for Conducting Risk Assessment in Public Transport Networks” was a priority for the Passenger Public Transport Cluster: a risk assessment is the first step to implementing a balanced and effective security policy as it allows you to identify weak points in your system and to prioritise investment. Of the many risk assessment methodologies existing today, however, none were tailored specifically to the public transport sector. The aim of the study was thus to propose generic guidelines tailor-made for the sector, which could be used by any public transport organisation, regardless of its size, experience or threat level.
These, and other tools developed within the project, were presented at the COUNTERACT Final Conference, which took place in Brussels in March.
For more information
For more information on any of the events or publications mentioned in this article, please consult the UITP website: www.uitp.org