Insights: Transportation Security

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By now, we are all accustomed to airport security checks. You walk up to the shortest line, place your laptop, a little plastic bag, and your belt on the tray, get your things x-rayed, get yourself screened, collect your things, and go about your business. However, most other methods of transit don’t require such intensive security procedures. We are all aware of the horrific incidents that have happened on board aircraft, but what about other methods of transportation people use to travel across countries, continents or even the world?

The railways and trains were some of the earliest inventions that enabled quick industrialization and movement of goods and people. Now, many people take a train to work or to school every day all over the world. Have we done enough to protect the people on board or on the platform? I’m not sure. Although there have been devastating attacks on trains, such as the Madrid Train Bombings in 2004, train travel is still common and convenient, and not much has been done to increase security. Considering the massive flows of people, it might be challenging to implement complex security procedures, such as bag x-rays and body scanners. However, I think it might be worthwhile to investigate whether screening even a portion of the visitors and their bags is worth the investment into security.

In addition to trains, a way of transportation that’s still popular, at least here in Finland, are ships and ferries. Countless passenger ferries and cruise ships travel back and forth the Baltic Sea as natives and visitors hop from Finland to Estonia, from Sweden to Russia. In addition, many want to travel to Germany or Poland by boat, so that they can take their car with them to the continent. I personally have never experienced much of a security check when boarding one of these vessels, as the boarding has to be done quickly and there is no time for a thorough airport-style check point system. While the customs officers check people and cars periodically, and of course going outside the European Union requires more of a customs procedure, I don’t think much is done to prevent contraband from entering a ship. Here in Finland, thousands of high school seniors go on a short overnight cruise before the start of the final examination period, and probably most, if not all, of them are looking for ways to get pre-purchased alcohol on board. No wonder these cruises are legendary among peers, as there seems to be very little that can be done to prevent these ingenious teenagers from carrying their drinks in with them.

While there aren’t countless possible security solutions for railway stations or shipyards, there is also no one-size-fits-all option either. By testing and understanding what it is they are looking for,  the people responsible for our security at these places can begin to make choices benefiting all of us.

Asqella’s ARGON is a great option for people screening at locations where people are moving quickly and a thorough search is impossible. You can read more about ARGON and its applications on our website, and please contact us if you have any additional questions.