Following an incident on an international high-speed train in August 2015, in which four passengers were injured, the European Commission was tasked with examining the impact of initiatives for improving rail transport security.
The objective was to understand the nature and scale of security issues on the railways. Not only terrorism but also other crime such as vandalism and theft, and to identify options for security improvements.
Steer drew on a range of data sources to determine the scale of international and high-speed travel in terms of the border crossings, stations, train sets, passengers and length of railway infrastructure involved. We also examined the nature and scale of the security threat including the available evidence on past incidents and their impacts, and identified the stakeholders involved and affected.
Our analysis identified four issues:
- insufficient understanding of the security threat;
- inadequate response to the threat;
- inconsistencies in approaches to security between and within Member States; and
- fragmentation and gaps in arrangements and responsibilities at Member State and EU level.
Successes and outcomes
We reviewed security literature and consulted widely with the rail and other industries to identify a long list of potential security measures. We sifted these measures against criteria including their effect on passengers, whether they were proven in rail and elsewhere, and the views of industry experts. In addition, we assessed where it would be appropriate to share best practice, issue guidance, or make measures mandatory.
We combined shortlisted measures into “minimal”, “intermediate” and “comprehensive” packages. An initial impact assessment, using quantified data where available and multi-criteria analysis (MCA), suggested that each would be an effective means of addressing the problem.
Our study provided a basis from which the European Commission and other stakeholders could develop a consistent and integrated security policy for railways across the EU.