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Views sought on station security

How far should stations go to ensure your security? A European research project is giving public transport users the chance to inform new guidelines to help make our stations more secure. The SecureStation project is looking at how to reduce the risks of general crime, fire, and the extreme of a terrorist attack, and is asking the public’s views on different security measures.

Anyone over the age of 18 who uses public transport can complete an online survey ( It covers staffing, CCTV, lighting, public announcements, reporting of suspicious packages, time to access platforms, cost, comfort, luggage restrictions and baggage screening.

The aim – to find out the priorities of the travelling public.

Dr David Fletcher is from the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering, one of the UK partners in the project. He says: “Changes to increase security often go unnoticed by the public, but some can be more intrusive, perhaps bringing delay or a loss of privacy. Working across the EU we’re finding out which station security options have greatest public acceptability, so we’re asking for input from transport users to find out what people really think.”

Work is also running with transport operators across the EU to find out the business consequences of security options, and current guidelines across counties are being compared.

The project is considering active measures – such as luggage screening or more CCTV – and passive measures, such as better layout, design and materials of railway buildings. Dr Fletcher says: “Although it’s easy to assume any measure is worth taking if it increases passenger security, the reality is that a balance has to be found to improve security while avoiding disproportionate impact on people’s daily journeys.”

Co-researcher from the University of Sheffield, Dr Emma Carter, adds: “Options such as increasing CCTV coverage, employing a greater number of security personnel or good station design are all ways to improve security. Each option will vary in cost, effectiveness and perceived loss of privacy by passengers. If the survey shows that privacy is more important to passengers than cost, for example, then this could influence how attractive particular security options are for the railway business.”

The University of Sheffield is working on SecureStation alongside architects, defence specialists, risk management consultants and transport operators across Europe. The Sheffield researchers are using the modelling techniques to understand the flow of air and fumes in stations, while other partners are modelling pedestrian behaviour during evacuation and shock waves from explosions, drawing implications from their findings to feed into station design guidelines. Other areas being studied: fire resistance, blast resistance, perimeter security and station layouts to make it easier to spot suspicious packages.

The findings – with the results from the online survey – will be used to develop design guidelines for new stations and station refurbishments, building on existing security design guidance and taking best European practice. To support efficient implementation of the guidance, the project is also developing a new risk assessment tool, which will gauge the resilience of stations and highlight where improvements would be most beneficial.

The survey ( is open until the end of September.


SecureStation is led at University of Sheffield by Dr David Fletcher, with the research team of Dr Jon Paragreen and Dr Emma Carter. It is funded under the EU FP7 programme, and coordinated by the Spanish security and defence consultancy, ISDEFE. Members of the project are:

University of Sheffield, Faculty of Engineering
Architects, John McAslan & Partners, based in London
Transport operator, ATM in Italy
Transport operator, Consorcio Transportes Madrid
Technology & materials innovation company, Technalia, Spain
Engineering consultants, Heuristics GmbH, Switzerland
Engineering consultants, D’Appolonia, Italy
Risk management and security consultants, MTRS3 Solutions & Services, Israel
Research & innovation consultants, Integral Consulting R&D, Romania


To find out more about Engineering in Sheffield, visit:

Pictured: The West Somerset steam railway at its Minehead terminus


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