Railway transport poses unique challenges. The inherent nature of open systems and critical infrastructure compel railway operators to explore diverse options to perpetually increase security. One of such options is to increase subjective and objective security. It goes without saying that both significantly influence the choice of railway as a transport mode. While objective security can be reflected in figures (e.g. number of incidents), subjective security depends on several aspects, like station design and modification of lighting, among others.
The Network of Quick Responders is frequently used by the members of the UIC Security Platform to receive a general overview about an arising security topic from other members within a short time.
To achieve this, each member of the UIC Security Platform can send a set of questions to the UIC Security Division. From there, the questions are then sent to the members of the Network of Quick Responders, with the request to provide an answer within a short, pre-defined period of time. The process is completed by an evaluation of the results, carried out by the UIC Security Division. The results are passed on to the participants and published in the Rail Security Hub.
If the participating members have shown increased interest, the topic will be taken up again promptly in other formats (workshops, contributions to the global Security Congress, Security Week or inclusion in UIC AGs).
The Network of Quick Responders survey on the measures to increase subjective and objective security was carried out in February 2021. Since this topic is of increasing interest not only among UIC members, but for transport stakeholders more generally, the survey was also circulated among UITP-members. Within three weeks UIC received feedback from 18 companies, which answered 6 questions on each of the following thematic areas with relation to subjective and objective security:
1. Sound detection systems – 14 out 18 respondents do not use this measure; four out of 18 intend to test it. However, it was underlined by the members that these systems could be helpful in detections of incidents as well as ensuring protection of stations.
2. Separation systems/access control systems – the measure is used by seven out of 18 respondents who have found these systems to play an important role in enhancing security.
3. Barriers on platforms – four out of 18 respondents use this measure. However, it was pointed out that barriers on platforms are used to protect passengers against hazards, therefore they are considered a means to increase objective security
4. Acoustic public address systems – according to some of the respondents (five out of 18), these systems help to increase the feeling of subjective security as they provide a positive influence on the ambience and the quality of the journey.
5. Modification of lighting – the measure is used by 12 out of 18 respondents. This measure is seen as very useful in ensuring security as it helps to avoid dark areas, provides a pleasant and safe environment, and increases the subjective feeling of security.
6. Staff visibility – nine out of 18 responders agreed that staff visibility plays an important role in strengthening the feeling of security, ensures a high level of security and helps to deter disorderly acts, also contributing to increased objective security.
According to members, all of the above measures play an important role in increasing subjective and objective security on railways. Having also in mind that there is a certain interest in pursuing the topic further, UIC will continue to work on it at the Rail Security Hub (www.railsecurityhub.org)
The high level of acceptance and the unbroken interest of our members is evident from the fact that the next (26th) survey in the Network of Quick Responders has already started. It focuses on security outsourcing under the station management agreement. The questions have been circulated among the members of the UIC Security Platform as well as the members of the Station Management Working Group within UIC Passenger Department.