Why is the safety of rail systems important? In order to answer this question, primarily, it is necessary to define Infrastructure. Previously, it was defined as facilities that harbor critical activities for the country’s economy which require high-cost public investment at all levels. After the above mentioned issues started to fall into the area of interest of national security and terrorism, these structures started to be defined as “Critical Infrastructures”.
Critical infrastructures are defined as physical and digital systems that are of serious importance for the healthy functioning of the economy and social life in a country. Protection activities and ensuring the reliability of these infrastructures, which are the lifeblood of today’s social life, are indispensable elements for national security and economic sustainability
Ensuring the continuity of services is the reason why infrastructures are so critical. These structures are part of the Service and Supply chains. In case of their failures, they may cause other units to disfunction. For this reason, they play an indispensable role in daily life. These critical infrastructures are highly connected and highly interdependent. Furthermore, because the critical infrastructure protection is not only a national issue, the necessity and importance of international cooperation should be concerned.
The European program for Critical Infrastructure (EPCIP) which is prepared in 2006, at the request of the Council of Europe, defines the Critical Infrastructures as, consisting of those physical and information techonology facilities, networks, services and assets which, if disrupted or destroyed, would have a serious impact on the health, safety, security or economic well-being of citizens or the effective functioning of governments in the Member States”. One of the critical infrastructures in this definition is Transportation.
Without any exceptions, today, information technologies are used in all critical infrastructures. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems are mostly used for the management of these infrastructures. SCADA systems which are known as data-based control and surveillance systems, are defined as technology-based systems that enable users to compile and control instant information of their facilities and run through encrypted / coded signals and remote command terminals connected to communication channels. Recently, with the developing technology, critical infrastructures have become the target of cyber attacks as well as physical attacks.
Rail System Operators, which are considered among the most important critical infrastructures, are involved in the SAFETY4RAILS project, in order to make them safer against physical, cyber and combined attacks. The SAFETY4RAILS project is established to deliver methods and systems to increase the safety, security and recovery of trackbased inter-city railway and intra-city metro transportation. Futhermore, SAFETY4RAILS is providing a platform for the Rail System Operators, who have come together from different countries, to get acquainted with the up-to-date softwares developed for a more reliable system, as well as exchanging information and experience among each other. In the SAFETY4RAILS project Rail System Operators are defined as end users.
The project, in the first place, analyzes the needs of end users. These requirements will be used to further develop and update 18 different tools and to implement them in the SAFETY4RAILS Information System platform (S4RIS) prototype. S4RIS will focus on risk assessment, risk reduction, threat prevention, threat detection, stakeholder response to incidents and system recovery; Finally, the platform will be tested and evaluated by the end users within the scope of different simulation studies. This will ensure the applicability of S4RIS in Rail Systems. Thus, SAFETY4RAILS becomes even more important for these organizations, because, the end users who have an important role in the development of the platform will also be the users of the system. For all the reasons mentioned above, the SAFETY4RAILS project is of great importance as it will contribute to the safety of Rail System Operators.