Secur-ED project wrap-up. Q&A with Thomas Kritzer

photo Metro de Madrid

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Thomas Kritzer is the Chair of the PTOA (Public Transport Operators and Authorities) Advisory Group on the Secur-ED project, an EU-funded demonstration-based security initiative that began in April 2011. Secur-ED brings together more than 50 experienced partners who deal with security issues in public transport. UITP is responsible for coordinating the project, which ends in September.

What made Secur-ED project different from other security projects?

The greatest advantage of Secur-ED is the fact that it is based on four large-scale, real-life demonstrations that showed the use of security systems and solutions that were all based on the real needs of operators. As far as I know it is the biggest project of its kind in the sector of PT Security.

What was the consulting process like?

The project designers wanted to make the demonstrations as broadly applicable as possible. That’s why a range of diverse actors participated. I think this model of having advisory groups was new. The results of the demonstrations and the development of the settings evolved in the advisory groups, whose function was to allow other operators to give advice and to give input on how the demonstrated solutions could apply in their systems, too.

We wanted results that could apply to the whole sector and not just in the cities where the demonstrations took place. From the start, we had the input of a lot of operators who say things such as, “If we were to use that in our environment we would have to be careful of that, needs this condition…” etc.  This was very useful because public transport operators and authorities are the ones who actually use the tools and solutions that are being developed by research teams and industry actors.

Who was involved?

There were so many different actors involved: operators, research institutes, consultants, and a great diversity: large operators and smaller ones, different arms of law enforcement, representatives from interior ministries, fire departments etc. There were four advisory groups (Public Transport operators & Authorities, Law Enforcement & First Responders, Industry and Ethical & Societal Issues) as well as partners from outside the EU, to get a different perspective.

How difficult is it to test security solutions?

Testing of new security solutions usually takes places in an artificial environment. And very often, when we discuss new developments and ideas on security issues in public transport, developments, projects or research work is always focused on very specific surroundings and very specific conditions. It’s very difficult to use the elements that were developed in other surroundings; for example, CCTV might only work in a specific environment, with a specific type of light.

Tell us about the demonstrations.

There were four big demonstrations in Paris, Milan and Madrid and Berlin and some smaller, satellite demonstrations. We tried to bring the results that industry and researchers have been working on and test them on site on public transport networks, at metro stations, at interchanges, in vehicles etc.

Were the demonstrations that were carried out used to find specific solutions to that city’s problems?

Yes, the demonstrations were based on real challenges faced by those cities, but there was input from everyone to avoid a situation where solutions were tested that would only ever be applicable to one operator or city. That was perhaps the project’s best feature.

What kinds of tests were carried out in the demonstrations?

Security is a very wide field and we tested many approaches, for example testing for identifying dangerous substances CBRNE (Chemical, Bio, Radio, Nuclear, Explosives). There were tests on CCTV and detection software and tracking people or incidents. In Berlin, Deutsche Bahn developed training lessons for their staff to make them more aware of the procedures for security incidents, how different stakeholders like police forces and public transport operators work together, so there were a lot of different components. They came from the real needs of the operators.

It must have been a challenge…

For the involved project partners, it was quite challenging because we wanted it to be generally applicable but specific to that city’s challenges, too. It was a big opportunity for industry and research companies.

Did the project contribute to the relationship between industry and operators?

Secur-ED presented a lot of opportunities for industry actors to develop new technologies and solutions. This was a big benefit. We tried to promote the idea that this dialogue with industry is very important, that technological developments have to be in the public environment in order to be able to produce real useable solution, to move on and to move further.

This was one project where we could prove if something was a good development or not. Not to just produce something and not know if it works in a real environment.

Secur-ED finishes in September. What will be the legacy?

We learned that there is a lot of useful knowledge coming from the operators. One of the conclusions was that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We learned, for example, that different countries have different data privacy laws and not every CCTV solution can be used everywhere, due to ‘circumstances’ being not an impact of the public transport environment.

It was also interesting to learn from the different partners how the police, for example, dealt with public transport in their respective countries, or what kind of relationship the judiciary has with the operators and how public transport laws are developed etc.

One of the biggest advantages of the project was the contacts that were made. There was a lot of interesting material, solutions, technologies involved in the demonstrations. And another great legacy of Secur-ED was the fact that we never had such close and focused operation between such a large number of parties from different sectors. For me it was the first time law enforcement and public transport operators were around a table at the same time, particularly in such a broad and productive setting.

What’s next?

I think that, for the future, we should continue to improve on the relationships between the different public transport and industry actors. The Secur-ED project raised a lot of interesting questions for future exploration, such as ‘How do we ensure that the circle between the users and developers is working effectively?’

Thank you to Thomas Kritzer, Chair of the PTOA Advisory Group on the Secur-ED project







  • For more information please write to editor(at) or Andrea Soehnchen, UITP Secur-ED Project Coordinator,  andrea.soehnchen(at)

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