Transportation is a key sector for the security industry and tragedies are a grim reminder of just what can happen when these services are vulnerable to attack. Ironically, the public nature of these transport systems is both the key to their success but also their biggest security weakness. With high volumes of passengers and staff rapidly moving around, the potential risks to people and property are easy to see - but security has to find a way of offering protection whilst also ensuring the timely movement of passengers and vehicles.
This is the challenge at the heart of transport security – a challenge which is constantly evolving and requires security regimes to do the same.
Shared issues and solutions
Naturally different types of transport (road, rail, air and sea) all have their unique safety and security concerns, but when it comes to public transport many of the issues are commonplace. Safely moving large quantities of people or goods whilst keeping them secure is always the common goal. Also, most transportation hubs have similar security concerns to one another, largely due to the common denominator - public access.
Transportation hubs have similar security concerns to any other heavily frequented urbanised facility, so the same principles often apply. Rooting out criminal activity from the vast majority of innocent people present is the key challenge. Modern security solutions seek to enhance security teams and their abilities, taking on some of the strain from human operators but remaining highly reliable, practical and intuitive to use.
Two key themes in transport security are people tracking and perimeter protection:
Being able to accurately follow the movements of passengers, staff and visitors and be automatically alerted to potential problems as they happen is an ideal security solution. Using features such as virtual airlocking and anti-passback offers an automated and intelligent way to highlight unusual behaviour and spot potential security risks. This could include thieves/shoplifters looking to steal from retail outlets, right through to hijackers or terrorists. The security team needs to deal with a broad spectrum of criminals – so help from automated security systems makes this task easier and more reliable.
Being able to track people has other benefits too - a people counter identifies bottlenecks, helping to design better people traffic flow (to increase safety and passenger satisfaction) and to also help increase turnover generated in food courts, restaurants, shops and duty free areas.
Obviously any security within a port/airport/station is seriously undermined if the perimeter isn’t controlled! Perimeter risks can range from potential equipment thefts right through to terrorism threats. Perimeter protection devices not only protect the safety of passengers and personnel but also the general public in the area from various vehicle movements etc. Train stations, airports and sea ports can be potentially dangerous areas, so ensuring the safety of people outside is also vital. Interestingly, these measures can also protect potential intruders themselves, who could be at risk from the dangerous operations on the site. For example graffiti artists who may attempt to access dangerous areas of a railway could hurt themselves as well as potentially damaging property and risking the safety of passengers.
Puns aside, transportation is one of the fastest moving sectors in security! With human lives in the balance, as well valuable property, it’s an obvious target for criminal theft and attacks. Excellent security is always evolving and needs to stay at least one step ahead of the threats it targets. Nobody knows when an attack could happen, but it’s important that security systems predict (as far as possible) the potential threats and do as much as possible to prevent and tackle them. Transportation is an essential part of all our lives and the global economy, which is exactly why we should all have peace of mind that we are protected from the potential dangers, even if they are evolving too.
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