The vulnerability of transit systems to domestic terrorism and criminal activity was highlighted recently by the bus and underground train bombings in London, and the train bombing in Madrid. Many believe this is the harbinger of things to come. Transit systems must continue to enhance their security systems, facilities, and vehicle designs to ensure the safety and security of the riding public. This involves creating and maintaining an environment that will not tolerate criminal, nor terrorist activities. By designing the physical environment in a way that deters criminal behavior, transit agencies improve the quality of life on their systems by reducing both fear and incidence of crime, including the vulnerability of the system to acts of terrorism, as was most recently demonstrated in London.
The circulatory organ of any convergent city is its transportation system. This not only includes various types of trains – streetcars, subways, commuter trains, and rail transportation – but also their stations, connecting buses, and bus stops. Even more relevant, are the sidewalks that transport pedestrians to and from the stations and bus stops and then into and out of the vehicles of mass transport. Just as human blood flows from the heart through the arteries to the capillaries, so the circulatory system of the convergent city is a series of corridors. People flow through this circulatory system via trains along their tracks to stations, from stations onto sidewalks, along sidewalks to bus stops, from bus stops onto buses via streets, off again onto bus stops and sidewalks, and back again.
The mass transport system is a Mecca for criminal and terrorist activities. It distributes crowds of strangers, exposing them to limited social control. It provides places to hang out, with temptations high, controls low, and quick exits provided to criminals and terrorists. Opportunities for rape, robbery and murder on trains, buses and stations are rampant for the criminal. Opportunities for terrorists to plant and detonate bombs on trains, buses, or rail lines, either remotely or as suicide bombers, are just as glaring. The time to act is now; learn how to protect your pedestrians and systems from one of the most violent forms of criminal behavior and terrorist activities.