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Transport security

The different possible applications of ITS for transport security cover a variety of fields and all modes of transport. Supply chain security, as well as dangerous materials or passenger transport security are all fields in which ITS can be used to reduce risk. The most useful functions are those related to sensors, information dissemination and location.

Three main areas of security can particularly benefit from ITS:

1. Supply chain security

This takes into consideration external and internal threats:

  • External threats are usually the theft of goods and / or vehicles and attacks on drivers.
  • Internal threats are the misuse of the supply chain for different kinds of trafficking and illegal activity: contraband, illegal immigration, counterfeit and pirated products, and even terrorism.

ITS can help reduce the risk posed by each of these threats: supply chain security must also be consistent with international customs regulations and laws on illegal immigration.

Several areas of interest are proposed:

  • Security applications for ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition)

2. Passenger transport security

This section mainly concerns issues regarding assaults or acts of terrorism. The continuous and permanent development of video surveillance and geolocation (security devices)

constitutes an obvious example of the contribution new technologies can make to security.

Link to the inter-ministerial website

3. Dangerous materials transport security

Vehicles or other means of transport carrying dangerous materials can be hijacked to organise a terrorist attack, for example. In the first instance, the aim is to quickly locate the loads so that action can be taken. ITS can be useful in this sense. All the elements described above have specific applications whose use is likely to become a compulsory part of future regulations.

The articles found in this section are:

Security devices

1. Seals

Seals have undergone something of a transformation. In the past these were purely mechanical and used solely for inspection purposes during transport and to check the integrity of the container post transportation. Today they have evolved to offer new possibilities through the integration of new technologies and miniaturisation.

They are already capable, or on the verge of being capable, of recording information and serving as alert sensors. In their most advanced forms, seals are associated with different types of sensors which make it possible to control the conditions in which goods are transported and to ensure security.

2. Geolocation

Techniques for the geolocation of vehicles or containers, or in some cases of even smaller transport units in the case of very valuable shipments, can be used to locate their contents rapidly in the event of theft.  The receivers and emitters which need to be hidden are smaller and smaller, and therefore easier to hide.

Although today the use of these techniques can only be justified for the most valuable cargo or for dangerous materials, this situation is set to change and, just as video surveillance has become the norm on public transport, in the future geolocation will be commonplace in freight transport.

Furthermore, the development of road tolls for HGV will lead to the installation of a network of sensors which can also be used to locate vehicles or freight, if this function is included in the system design specifications.

These techniques can also be used to track vehicles in relation to an initial itinerary, rapidly identify deviations, and provide the driver with safety data on their new environment (choice of future itineraries, or of locations for rest breaks etc.).

3. Secure car parks

Secure car parks are not in themselves innovative technologies, but they make use of the car park management and remote space reservation methods which are. Modern telematic tools will link road vehicles to servers which will provide a variety of real-time services.

Reserving spaces in secure car parks using systems based on journey planning techniques, allows users  to choose from a selection of different routes, including those which  offer a guaranteed parking space with no charge for any reservations made and not used, thus optimising occupancy rates in these service areas. In the future an intelligent network with integrated geolocation will link vehicles to servers.


The World Bank guide

In 2005, the transport division of the World Bank launched a study into the economic consequences of implementing the ISPS code [1] in ports and on ships.   The final report was published in 2008.

This study showed that whilst it appeared that there was a relatively good knowledge about the objectives and requirements of ISPS, it also became clear that there was very limited knowledge about supply chain security (SCS), of which ISPS is one of the many components.

That is why the World  Bank embarked on the production of a Supply Chain Security Guide with the aim of providing a clear and simply presentation of the issues and stakeholders.

It reviews all supply chain security programmes, voluntary or compulsory, region by region. These are primarily customs programmes which raises the issue of mutual recognition between the American C-TPAT [2] and the European Authorised Economic Operators (AEO).

In the second section, it presents the main technologies currently in use or in development, including seals, geolocation and inspection systems.

These documents are available from the World Bank.

[1] International Ship and Port Facility Security Code: This code has been in force on all ships since July 2004. It was created with the aim of establishing international safety procedures for port facilities and ships following the 9/11 terror attacks. The code was proposed by the United States.

[2] The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) ensures the safety of customs-trade.   It takes the form of voluntary certification which ensures all supply chain participants cooperate with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to draw up safety methods for each phase of operations, to respond to safety concerns regarding the introduction of weapons, drugs , cash or even terrorists themselves  via imports entering the US. This programme was launched following the 9/11 terror attacks.


Video surveillance

Over the last ten years or so, video surveillance has developed widely and proved its usefulness in a variety of situations. It is today one of the numerous tools used to improve safety. The main objective is to provide protection rather than surveillance, hence the evolution in the terminology which now favours the term video protection.

The government has set up a strategic steering committee for developing video protection which has established a guide for contracting authorities to help them integrate this tool into their projects. This guide, published by the French government can be downloaded free of charge from the committee’s website.

A programme has been launched to develop this tool and an inter-ministerial steering committee set up to lead it. Its members are mandated to coordinate action by State departments in order to facilitate development and provide support for all stakeholders working towards this aim.    In parallel, a national video surveillance commission has been set up to advise the Ministry of the Interior and ensure the ethical use of the tool.


Dangerous materials transport security

(Article currently being written)

Vehicles or other means of transport carrying dangerous materials can be hijacked to organise an attack, for example.

In the first instance, the aim is to quickly locate the loads so that action can be taken. ITS can be useful in this sense. 1. Specific case of the supply chain.

2. Focus on the specific factors and the benefits of geolocation tools.