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News Story

Integrating Security Measures Into Transport Planning

With the increasing threat from terrorism and other criminal activities, it has become imperative that we consider within our transport planning activities the threat posed to our transport infrastructure, public places where people gather in large numbers and other vulnerable sites.

Certainly architects and other designers are having to consider counter terrorism measures within their designs, not just for high risk targets, but also for the wider environment. It would be easy to develop a siege mentality in terms of design, but this really would be a mistake. There are certain landscaping and structural solutions available that can help blend security measures with good design that leaves the public largely unaware of the safety measures taken. Such passive security designs may include anti-ram walls that also provide seating.

As seen on our televisions, one of the most common tools used by terrorists is vehicle borne attacks.

There are five main types of vehicle borne attacks to consider:

1.    Parked vehicle (improvised explosive device)
2.    Encroachment – A non-impact attack that exploits a weakness or gap in the security perimeter or tailgating an official vehicle through an active barrier system.
3.    Penetrative attack – This is based on ram-raiding
4.    Entry by deception – This could be human or by way of a Trojan vehicle
5.    Entry by duress – The operator of the barrier system or legitimate driver is threatened in order to gain access.

Typically, many of these threats can be mitigated by introducing countermeasures such as security barriers, bollards, planters, structural walls, appropriate landscape architecture including structural elements that conceal the security measures taken. Other threats could be countered by considering alternative traffic management and parking options that remove the need for active barrier systems. 

The creation of pedestrianized zones can negate the threat of vehicle borne attacks especially in inner city zones. However, in order to keep the zone permeable to pedestrians, the space between structures would need to be 1.2m apart so that hostile vehicles could not access the protected zone while still providing enough access space for those with impaired mobility.

It could be in time that many of our towns and cities introduce permanent retractable bollards and gate schemes. At present these tend to be used for providing priority access for buses or for environmental reasons, but that is not to say that security measures could not be incorporated within the transport planning process.

At present there are a number of bodies or agencies that can be contacted if you need guidance for a development or other project that may require a counter terrorism review. This should be done prior to any development starting and must be part of the planning process.

So, who are you going to call?

No, not Ghostbusters! Actually, your first call should be made to the Counter Terrorism Security Adviser (CTSA). They will be able to advise on any security measures that need to be taken for a project. Their main role is to identify and assess a site that may be vulnerable to a terrorist attack. These days most police forces have a CTSA and can be contacted through your local police force website. You may also want to contact your local Architectural Liaison Officer (ALO) who may also be contacted via your local police force. They can provide advice to planners, developers, builders etc on crime prevention through the built environment.