Safety relates to potential dangers caused by technical defects, human error, poor organisation and acts of nature.
In contrast, security addresses wilful acts committed by third parties, such as vandalism or assault.
Transport companies have many good practices in place for the protection of passengers and employees, company property and transport operations (incident management, emergency response systems, fire safety, occupational health and safety, etc.).
They have already implemented numerous measures to ensure the safety of the passengers who use their services.
As accident statistics show, bus and rail are the safest forms of transport. The risk of a fatal accident when travelling by bus, tram or train is 20 times less than when travelling by car. As public transport authorities become increasingly dependent on complex technical systems, however, the systems are becoming proportionately more vulnerable, resulting in a more important role for cyber security.
And because public transport is a very open, easy to use and anonymous system which is used by millions of people every day, it is unfortunately also attractive to criminals such as pickpockets and hooligans.
Passenger perceptions of security are important to transport companies, and are a factor in further increasing ridership. For this reason, companies are ramping up the installation of emergency call boxes, intercoms and security cameras on platforms and in stations, especially in hard-to-see areas and lifts and near escalators and ticket machines, and in vehicles.
Video surveillance of rail yards and sidings can also make a significant contribution to reducing incidents of vandalism, thereby cutting costs for the repair of destroyed or damaged assets or infrastructure.
And intelligent surveillance systems that make it possible to recognise faces, detect intruders or identify abandoned luggage are in development. Not only are well-designed security concepts and co-operation with the local police force necessary; employees must also be trained in security and de-escalation. Although the abovementioned surveillance technologies represent a remarkable opportunity to increase passenger security and stem vandalism in public transport, they also bring a risk of violating personal privacy and data protection concerns which must be addressed.