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The acceptability of counter-terrorism measures on urban mass transit in the UK

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conference contribution
posted on 2013-07-24, 10:16 authored by Joseph G. Kappia, D. Fletcher, Lee BosherLee Bosher, J.P. Powell
The security and safety of urban mass transit systems continues to draw a great deal of government, media and public attention. The bombings in Madrid, London and Mumbai, suggest that new and “acceptable” approaches to counterterrorism may become important components of how urban mass transit systems are designed and operated in the future. Technical developments in security and counter-terrorism can provide a wide range of non-intrusive or overt design solutions to counter-terrorism. However, in implementing these design solutions the whole system performance needs to be considered. Undertaking qualitative research with a wide range of stakeholders (including the public, transit system designers and operators) the potential acceptability of certain technological approaches is assessed. Analysis of the findings suggests five broad acceptability factors governed by five influence variables. The acceptability factors include that counter-terrorism measures are more acceptable to transit designers and operators if they are tied in with complementary personal security and safety features, and are more acceptable to transit operators and the general public if they do not restrict the free flow of passengers through the transit network. These perspectives are dependent upon influence variables including whether there was a recent attack on a UK transit system and the Government’s present ‘level of threat’ from terrorist attack. The impact of these findings is discussed along with suggestions for future research into acceptable counter-terrorism measures for transport.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)


KAPPIA, J. ... et al., 2009. The acceptability of counter-terrorism measures on urban mass transit in the UK. IN: Brebbia, C.A. (ed.) Urban Transport XV (15th International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment), Bologna, Italy, 22-24 June 2009, pp. 627 - 636.


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