Within the S4R project there are several railway and metro companies involved in their role of “end user”, and a Municipality. They might be train or metro operating companies or they might be infrastructure managers or final service suppliers to citizens, but they all are a part of the critical (railway) infrastructure, which makes them attractive targets for cyber and/or physical attacks, or make them responsible for hazards to civil population and economic assets. Therefore, in case of crisis they have to respond efficiently.
The companies and Public Bodies that are involved have several reasons to take part in the SAFETY4RAILS project.
Being resilient against terrorist attacks, climate changing-induced risks, or incidents, means you have to know what your weaknesses and the criticalities in your system are. Because only then you can take a motivated decision about preventive or reactive measures. In present times these decisions are mainly being taken on the basis of (incident) statistics and expert judgement. By the introduction of a model-based way in which to follow this process, the SAFETY4RAILS project can help the railway and metro companies to take measures on the basis of an actual an accurate model. So, the countermeasures that you take will have the maximum impact.
Next to that we still see that the management of physical and cyber security risks are different worlds. While in fact they are very much interconnected: to hack a computer on site, you first have to get into an office. In case hazards of different types will converge, a more complex and multilevel approach is clearly needed. The SAFETY4RAILS project has got a holistic view on physical and cyber security. That means that the solutions which are developed will (further) integrate the measures that can be taken in the physical and cyber field.
But then, an incident or a crisis cannot always be avoided. When an incident occurs, the parties in the railway system have to consider many aspects to ensure passenger and goods safety and security. They have to carry out a threat analysis, maintain situation awareness, establish crisis communication and organize appropriate response. In the end they have to ensure that mitigation steps are taken and that crisis communication to the users of the system and with the relevant authorities is taking place.
Only when there is an actual, clear and extensive picture of the crisis situation, appropriate action can be taken. In present times information is still gathered and transferred by conventional means: sensors networks, telephone, videoconference systems etc. The view is that the full potential in this respect is not used yet. The proposed SAFETY4RAILS information System will acquire, process and present data/information and therefore allow decisionmakers to do what is necessary in a complex crisis situation.
And of course; taking part in a European project with so many different parties brings a challenge. A challenge between scientists and practitioners, between the experienced and the novices, between the full-timers and the part-timers and between the native/fluent and non-native/non-fluent speakers. But in the end, all of us taking part in SAFETY4RAILS have a strong feeling we can make the railway system a better and safer way of traveling. The fact that it gives us the opportunity to work together, exchange views and better understand and learn from each other is an added bonus we’re happy to receive.