Thales and CEA Partner on Trusted Generative AI for Defence and Security

To create trusted generative AI solutions, Thales’s cortAIx Lab and CEA have joined forces to focus on a range of generative AI use cases, in particular for intelligence and command applications.

Bertrand Tavernier, Chief Technical Officer for Thales’s Secure Communications and Information Systems business: This partnership with the CEA’s AI teams will combine the power of their research with our work at cortAIx, Thales’s AI accelerator, which brings together the Group’s technological expertise and deep knowledge of the defence and security sectors. Our customers — governments, armed forces, critical infrastructure operators — need trusted, sovereign generative AI solutions for their critical missions.

Alexandre Bounouh, Director of the CEA’s List Institute, specialising in smart digital systems: This partnership builds on the long-standing collaboration between the CEA and Thales and extends it to the sensitive issue of generative AI, combining the expertise and excellence of the CEA’s research teams in AI safety and security with cortAIx’s strengths in the strategic domain of defence and security. It will support the CEA’s mission in safety, security and artificial intelligence with our partners and all institutional and industry stakeholders in this field.

Use cases for the armed forces

Generative AI can be developed to accelerate OODA command loops (observe, orient, decide, act) and implemented across the entire critical decision chain: sensing and data gathering, data transmission and storage, data processing and decision support.

Generative AI will serve as a trusted smart assistant for users, enabling them to dialogue easily and efficiently with complex systems with the aim of facilitating and accelerating human decision-making and the tempo of operations. For intelligence gathering, for example, multimodal generative AI will make it possible to simultaneously extract, process, correlate and interpret different types of information from multiple sources — such as the web, social media and sensors in a theater of operations — to generate summaries and accelerate the production of reliable reports.

Thales’s cortAIx Lab and the CEA will also focus on interoperability within coalitions. To simplify communication between member states in the context of a joint operation, trusted generative AI will facilitate interaction between operators and complex systems by translating their intentions into a sequence of actions and translating technical terms into the languages of the various nations involved.

Four Killed in Czech Republic Train Crash

Four people were killed and at least 27 others were injured when two trains collided in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, June 5 according to local authorities. One train was a passenger train and the other was a freight train. Rescue operations were conducted and ended the next day. The authorities said they will conduct an investigation in to what caused the crash near the city of Pardubice. 380 people were traveling aboard the passenger train, the fire rescue service said. It was traveling overnight from Prague to the city of Chop in western Ukraine, according to operator RegioJet’s website.

Train Collides with Pickup Truck in Western New York

A train hit a pickup truck in western New York state killing three people, according to local officials. Amtrak train 281 was traveling north from New York to Niagara Falls when it hit the vehicle on the track, Amtrak said in a statement.The incident happened Friday, May 17. All of three of the passengers in the truck were pronounced dead at the scene Friday night in North Tonawanda, according to the city’s fire chief. There were no reported injuries to the 21 passengers and crew members on the train, Amtrak said.

Worldwide Travel Advisory Issued by U.S. State Department

Just as the summer travel season begins in earnest, the U. S. State Department issue a worldwide travel alert for travelers, especially anyone identifying as LGBTQI+. The alert advises caution and alertness in tourist areas, due to potential threats of violence against them.

Here is the statement in its entirety:

Due to the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests, the Department of State advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution.  The Department of State is aware of the increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events and advises U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution. U.S. citizens should:

  • Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists, including Pride celebrations and venues frequented by LGBTQI+ persons.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive information and alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency overseas.

DHS, CISA Announce Membership Changes to the Cyber Safety Review Board

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced changes to the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) membership. Four current members of the CSRB will depart and four new members will join the board. 

Departing members include:

  • Katie Moussouris, Founder and CEO, Luta Security
  • Chris Novak, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Verizon Threat Research Advisory Center
  • Tony Sager, Senior Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Center for Internet Security, and
  • Wendi Whitmore, Senior Vice President, Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks

Joining the CSRB:

  • Jamil Jaffer, Venture Partner Paladin Capital Group and Founder and Executive Director, National Security Institute, George Mason University Scalia Law School
  • David Luber, Director, Cybersecurity Directorate, NSA
  • Katie Nickels, Senior Director of Intelligence Operations, Red Canary
  • Chris Krebs, Chief Intelligence and Public Policy Officer, Sentinel One

David Luber will serve as the Federal CSRB representative from the NSA, replacing Rob Joyce upon his retirement. Joyce has been asked to continue to serve on the board as a private sector member.

“I can’t thank Katie, Chris, Tony, and Wendi enough for the outstanding contributions they’ve made as CSRB members. I am truly grateful for their service on the Board,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly.  “I am also very pleased to welcome Jamil, Dave, Katie, and Chris to the Board. I know their cybersecurity expertise and experience will be instrumental in the continuing evolution of the CSRB as a catalyst for positive change in the cybersecurity ecosystem.”

Robert Silvers, DHS Under Secretary for Policy, and Heather Adkins, Vice President for Security Engineering at Google, have been re-appointed as the Chair and Deputy Chair respectively for a second term by Easterly. 

“I send my sincere thanks to the departing members and welcome those who are beginning their service,” said Under Secretary Silvers. “The Cyber Safety Review Board will continue in its charge to conduct fact finding and develop lessons learned from the most serious cyber incidents.”

“It has been an honor to serve on the CSRB and I am looking forward to seeing the Board continue to evolve its important role in the cybersecurity ecosystem as we increase the security of the nation,” said Deputy Chair Adkins.  

Other returning members include:

  • Dmitri Alperovitch, Co-Founder and Chairman, Silverado Policy Accelerator and Co-Founder and former CTO of CrowdStrike, Inc.
  • Harry Coker, Jr., National Cyber Director, Office of the National Cyber Director
  • Jerry Davis, Founder, Gryphon X
  • Chris DeRusha, Federal Chief Information Security Officer, Office of Management and Budget
  • Eric Goldstein, Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • Marshall Miller, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice
  • John Sherman, Chief Information Officer, Department of Defense
  • Bryan Vorndran, Assistant Director, Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation

The CSRB conducts fact-finding and issues recommendations in the wake of major cyber incidents. The Board is made up of cybersecurity luminaries from the private sector and senior officials from DHS, CISA, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the National Cyber Director, and the Office of Management and Budget.

As directed by President Biden through Executive Order 14028 Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, Secretary Mayorkas established the CSRB in February 2022. The Board is administered by CISA on behalf of the Secretary. The Board’s reviews are conducted independently, and its conclusions are independently reached. DHS and the CSRB are committed to transparency and will, whenever possible, release public versions of CSRB reports, consistent with applicable law and the need to protect sensitive information from disclosure.  

Alstom Receives Additional Order to Modernize the Paris Region Network

Alstom Receives Additional Order to Modernize the Paris Region Network

Alstom, global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, will supply Île-de-France Mobilités and RATP with 103 new MF19 trainsets, which is the new generation metro on rail, for a total contract value of more than €800 million, 100% financed by Île-de-France Mobilités. This new fleet will replace the existing rolling stock on lines 13, 12 and 8 of the Île-de-France metro as of 2027.

This additional order is part of the framework agreement signed in December 2019 between RATP (on behalf of Île-de-France Mobilités) and Alstom for the delivery of up to 410 MF19 trainsets. The MF19 will eventually equip eight lines of the Île-de-France metro (lines 3, 3bis, 7, 7bis, 8, 10, 12, 13).

In 2019, an initial batch of 44 trainsets was ordered which will be gradually deployed on lines 10, 7bis and 3bis from 2025 onwards. This makes a total of 147 MF19 metros that have now been ordered to date, demonstrating Île-de-France Mobilités’ and RATP’s renewed confidence in this modern rolling stock.

The fleet of 103 additional trainsets will comprise 67 trains for line 13, 22 trains for line 12 and 14 trains for line 8.

These 103 trainsets will all have a driver’s cab. As the MF19 trains are fully reversible to adapt to the needs and developments of the lines, these can be converted into automatic metros if the lines are automated.

Each train will have a “boa” configuration (open circulation without separations between cars) and will feature interior fittings designed to optimize passenger flows. They will feature modern passenger information systems, large picture windows and 100% LED lighting. They will also offer a pleasant travel experience, with ergonomic seating, heating and air conditioning, reduced noise emissions and USB sockets for recharging mobile devices.

Equipped with video surveillance cameras along the entire length of the trainset and integrated cybersecurity protection, the MF19 trains will enhance passenger safety.

Environmentally friendly, the new metros are eco-designed (20% recycled materials in their production), enabling 98% of the metros to be recyclable at the end of their lifecycle. They will consume 20% less energy than the trains currently in service, thanks notably to 100% electric braking.

Production of the MF19 metros has started at Alstom’s Crespin and Valenciennes-Petite Forêt sites, in Hauts-de-France. The first vehicles have been manufactured, the first trainset has been assembled and is about to enter the testing phase.

The MF 19 metro is designed and assembled in France. Eight of Alstom’s 16 sites in France participate in the project:

  • Valenciennes-Petite Forêt and Crespin are in charge of studies, design, trainset assembly, tests/validations, and homologation.
  • Crespin and Le Creusot produce the bogies.
  • Ornans, the motors.
  • Tarbes, the powertrain equipment.
  • Toulouse, the development of electrical harnesses.
  • Villeurbanne, onboard electronics.
  • Aix-en-Provence, IT security.

A total of 2,300 Alstom employees, including 700 engineers, are working on the project.

Amtrak Publishes Guide for Community Investments Funded by the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program

Amtrak has published a new guide detailing the process for plans to invest $50 million in the West Baltimore community throughout construction of the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program (FDT Program). This important community investment was identified as a key component of the overall FDT Program by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) during its approval of the program, which will build a brand-new rail alignment and modern tunnel to replace the existing 151-year-old B&P Tunnel.

“Amtrak is committed to improving the Baltimore community through the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program and these future investments will play an important role in achieving that goal,” said Roger Harris, Amtrak president. “We are working diligently to administer the Baltimore Community Investment Program effectively and efficiently over the coming months and years.”

The head of the Federal Railroad Administration, Amit Bose, said: “The Federal Railroad Administration is proud to support the construction of the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel in Baltimore and support other transformative rail projects along the Northeast Corridor through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Amtrak has developed an innovative community investment approach, which includes targeted investments that will address unique project impacts determined through a comprehensive federal environmental review process. We are pleased that this new guide sets the stage for future investments in the local community consistent with the Record of Decision.”

Amtrak will award grants to qualified not-for-profit organizations or city/state government entities, as well as make direct investments in the community. These grants and direct investments will support projects located within a quarter of a mile of the program alignment, across six investment categories including community development, workforce development, publicly owned parks and recreation facilities, community gardens, vacant lot greening or creation of public open space, transportation and historic preservation.

The FDT Program will deliver enduring transportation improvements for the Northeast Corridor (NEC), create economic opportunity, improve connectivity and upgrade local infrastructure in West Baltimore.

This includes a state-of-the-art tunnel for electrified Amtrak and MARC passenger trains, a new ADA-accessible West Baltimore MARC station, the replacement of multiple city bridges that require repair or replacement, and remilling, regrading, or repaving several streets in the program alignment area.

Swiss Federal Railways Successfully Tests Remote-Controlled Train

Swiss Federal Railways Successfully Tests Remote-Controlled Train

Swiss Federal Railways reports it has carried out successful tests that allowed engineers to remotely control a train near Zurich amid ongoing operations, a European first. The tests were conducted in February and March using 24 train drivers at a remote-control facility in Oerlikon, in part of the city of Zurich.

The test locomotive was at the Zurich Mülligen marshalling yard, seven kilometers away. In the future, trains could be controlled remotely and used for short journeys on construction sites or for tunnelling work, the Federal Railways says. Autonomous trains will not be used to carry passengers, however remote control could bring greater flexibility during construction work, the rail company said in a statement.

But driverless trains could be moved between holding locations and arrival or departure tracks. Drivers would need to spend less time in shunting facilities and could board trains at the same time as passengers. The hope is that occupational accidents near the tracks could also be reduced.

This test was not on a test track, but carried out amid ongoing operations. The test train traveled at a top speed of 30 km per hour. The system for the tests was developed by French railway company Alstom. Federal Railways was also supported by specialists from the German Aerospace Center in evaluating the test runs.

Strengthening Cargo Security Across the Supply Chain

Strengthening Cargo Security Across the Supply Chain

Cargo security keeps goods safe. On freighters, docks, trucks, railcars, warehouses, and ports, cargo shipments are vulnerable to theft during several stages of the transit process. If a container isn’t properly and securely sealed, it can be opened many times during transit with its contents stolen and easily sold on the black market.

Stolen cargo can cost suppliers thousands to upwards of millions of dollars. An estimated $223 million in cargo was stolen during 2022, according to a new analysis by Verisk’s CargoNet. CargoNet recorded 1,778 supply chain risk events in the U.S. and Canada in 2022, a 15% increase from 2021. The average value of cargo stolen in an event was $214,104, CargoNet said.

The consequences of not sufficiently protecting cargo can be devastating, ranging from financial loss and damaged reputation to long-term, intricate legal disputes. And, today’s thieves are now highly tech-savvy and constantly developing modern ways and strategies to steal cargo from shippers. Because of this, more advanced container security measures have been developed helping to reduce burglaries and resulting theft claims.

High security bolt seals, like this one by J. J. Keller, help protect cargo against tampering and theft. J. J. Keller image.
High security bolt seals, like this one by J. J. Keller, help protect cargo against tampering and theft.
J. J. Keller image.

Best Practices

Josh Lovan, industry business advisor at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., Fort Smith, Arkansas, explains that ensuring cargo security during transit is crucial and cites the following best practices to make this happen:

Use High-Quality Seals: Invest in security seals made of durable materials like metal or heavy-duty plastic. Avoid using seals that can be easily tampered with or broken.

Proper Application: Apply seals correctly, ensuring they are securely fastened to prevent tampering or unauthorized access.

Unique Identification: Use seals with unique serial numbers or barcodes for easy tracking and identification. This helps in verifying the integrity of the cargo.

Regular Inspections: Conduct routine inspections of seals and locks throughout the transit process to detect any signs of tampering or damage.

Multiple Layers of Security: Utilize multiple layers of security, such as container locks in addition to seals, to provide added protection against theft or unauthorized access.

Security Protocols: Implement strict security protocols and procedures for handling, loading, and unloading cargo to minimize the risk of tampering or theft.

Monitoring and Tracking: Employ GPS tracking systems or other monitoring technologies to track the location and status of cargo in real-time, providing visibility throughout transit.

Training and Awareness: Train personnel involved in handling cargo on security protocols and the importance of maintaining the integrity of seals and locks.

truck seal

Seals, like the ones shown here made by J. J. Keller, are simple, cost effective ways to secure containers.J. J. Keller images.
Seals, like the ones shown here made by J. J. Keller, are simple, cost effective ways to secure containers.
J. J. Keller images.

Seals and Locks

Security seals and container locks are requisite to keep cargo secure in transit. Not all seals and locks are created equally. Each type of seal or lock offers different levels of security and suitability for specific applications.

Different industries employ a variety of security seals tailored to their specific needs and cargo requirements. For instance, the transportation industry relies on heavy-duty seals like bolt seals or cable seals to secure shipping containers and trailers, safeguarding valuable goods during transportation. Industries dealing with retail and consumer goods prioritize tamper-evident seals with unique identification features to maintain the integrity of products as they move from manufacturers to retailers.

“Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies often opt for advanced seals equipped with RFID technology, enabling real-time tracking and monitoring of sensitive pharmaceutical products to comply with stringent regulatory requirements and maintain product integrity,” Lovan says. “The food and beverage industry may utilize seals designed to withstand environmental factors and provide clear evidence of tampering, ensuring food safety and compliance with regulatory standards.”

The Equipment Lock Company produces this heavy duty cargo door lock built to secure semi-trailers and sea containers by locking the innermost vertical locking bars together. The Equipment Lock Company image.
The Equipment Lock Company produces this heavy duty cargo door lock built to secure semi-trailers and sea containers by locking the innermost vertical locking bars together. The Equipment Lock Company image.

It’s essential to assess your cargo security requirements and choose the appropriate seals and locks accordingly. Overall, Lovan believes the choice of security seals varies across industries based on factors such as cargo value, sensitivity, transportation mode, and regulatory compliance needs, with each industry selecting seals that best meet their unique security requirements. He cites the following types of security seals and container locks available for cargo security.

Bolt Seals: These are high-security seals that require bolt cutters to remove, making them difficult to tamper with.

Cable Seals: Made of steel cables, these seals are flexible and suitable for securing irregularly shaped items. They offer high tensile strength and are resistant to tampering.

Bar Seals: These seals feature a metal bar that is inserted into a locking mechanism, providing a secure closure for containers and trailers.

Plastic Seals: These seals are commonly used for securing shipping containers, trucks and trailers. They are lightweight, cost-effective, and offer tamper-evident features.

RFID Seals: These seals are equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, allowing for electronic tracking and monitoring of cargo in real-time.

Kingpin Locks: These locks are installed on the kingpin of a trailer, preventing unauthorized access to the container when it is attached to a truck.

Wheel Locks: These locks are placed on the wheels of trailers or containers to prevent them from being moved or accessed without authorization.

Below are criteria for determining the best seal for your application:

• Determine if an indicative or barrier seal is required.

• If using a barrier seal, determine what strength level is needed.

• Make sure that the seal type that you choose fits the device.

• Choose a seal that has the appropriate level of strength and security.

• Measure seal cost vs. security risks.

• Use a manageable locking system considering the tools and resources you have at your disposal.

• Consider the durability of the seal in relation to its environment.

• Below are criteria for handling and use of cargo seals:

• Know the locking procedure, design and features of this seal.

• Give seals only to authorized persons.

• Document all seals taken from storage.

• Apply seals securely according to instructions for this model. Note any problems or unusual visible damage like bent hasps, worn holes, unusual conditions or cosmetic damage to seals in applying.

• Destroy seals completely after use. Do not simply toss them out or leave parts or cut seals intact; or under conditions where they may be collected by others. Ideally it is good practice to return them to a central facility for destruction by an authorized and trained inspector.

PassTime’s GPS solutions utilize technologies to help connect, monitor and protect a wide range of mobile assets. PassTime image.
PassTime’s GPS solutions utilize technologies to help connect, monitor and protect a wide range of mobile assets. PassTime image.

Reliable Line of Defense

While these locks and seals are a reliable line of defense, criminals can compromise security seals and container locks through various methods such as brute force, and tools like bolt cutters to break seals or manipulate locks. They also employ tampering techniques, like duplicating seals or picking locks, to gain unauthorized access to cargo.

C-TPAT stands for Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. Founded shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, C-TPAT is a voluntary, collaborative effort between U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) and commercial shippers to develop comprehensive cargo security programs for imports into the U.S. To further prevent theft, C-TPAT seals are security seals affixed to cargo containers by C-TPAT certified entities, signifying compliance with rigorous security standards. These seals serve as an indicator of a secure supply chain, facilitating expedited customs clearance and reducing the risk of cargo tampering or terrorism-related threats. C-TPAT seals may feature unique identification numbers or barcodes, allowing for easy tracking and verification of cargo integrity.

GPS Tracking

With numerous companies and transportation methods involved throughout the transportation chain, pinpointing when and where a cargo security issue occurred can be daunting. Implementing a GPS tracking solution on cargo shipments provides suppliers with the ability to track their cargo throughout the entire journey, adding invaluable insight and security.

“With so many transportation methods and entities involved, cargo can be lost or delayed along the way,” says Jeff Karg, director of marketing and communications, PassTime, Littleton, Colo. GPS tracking devices for cargo shipments give the supplier their own tracking solution and are not reliant on the varying and sometimes non-exist tracking solutions from their transportation providers.”

Solutions like PassTime’s battery-powered Encore, are completely self-powered, can last up to five years without recharging, and at the size of a deck of cards, can quickly and easily be placed on just about any cargo shipment.

“Utilizing battery-powered GPS tracking solutions on the cargo itself means suppliers know if their cargo is still in transit, or more importantly, if it isn’t,” Karg says. “Locks and seals are an important aspect of cargo security. However, if the cargo container itself is lost those safeguards may have limited impact. Adding an additional layer of security, like a GPS tracking solution, can provide unparalleled visibility, control and protection to locate and recover missing cargo.”

Container Stacks

Smart Containers

Smart containers are equipped with sensors that can detect intrusions like unauthorized door openings as well as anomalies such as a sudden change in container pressure or temperature (like when a hole is cut into the side wall of a container) that could indicate a breach.

Smart containers also have other integrated sensors such as GPS as well as additional internal sensors to measure the condition of the cargo inside. Data from the container’s sensors are either logged on a data module within the container, or it’s broadcast to a central monitoring platform via handheld readers, fixed scanners, or GSM/cellular connections.

Another, probably more viable option to (expensive) smart containers is the use of portable smart sensor kits that can be fixed to/within any standard container or truck trailer. These “smart kits” can turn any shipping container, truck trailer, or rail car into a “smart container,” giving logistics operations greater supply chain visibility for high-value cargo like pharmaceuticals, volatile chemicals, frozen food and other cold chain products.

The Human Element

Most theft crimes are not investigated because of manpower issues, so it is imperative that carriers take the necessary measures to prevent theft. Provide security training to all personnel, because everyone should be involved with protecting customer freight and company assets. Lovan says drivers can proactively deter theft by adopting the following prevention measures:

• Check the cargo seal and padlock during pre-trip and after being away from the unit.

• Never leave the tractor running when unattended.

• Always lock the doors and roll up windows when away from tractor.

• Always park in well-lit areas where other motorists are present.

Fleets can deter theft by implementing the following security polices during closed hours:

• Ensure trailers are docked, butted, and blocked at the terminal.

• Utilize kingpin locks for trailers that contain high value freight.

• Ensure that alarm systems are functional by conducting weekly tests.

• Utilize GPS technology to geofence equipment on the yard.

While no cargo being transported is completely immune to the risk of theft, the right technology will help to mitigate these problems to a great extent and help to ensure safe transportation of cargo. Anticipate and use security developments to your advantage, stay one step ahead and keep your cargo secure.

Building Resilience Against Critical Events

Building Resilience Against Critical Events

Critical events can affect any transport operator. Accidents, problems with infrastructure including vandalism, fires — such as those seen recently on electric buses in London — extreme weather events and cyberattacks have an immediate and often highly disruptive impact. While many incidents are resolved quickly, the knock-on effect on the reputation of the operator can be long-lasting, inconveniencing employees and passengers, and, in extreme cases, even threatening their lives.

It is therefore essential for transport organizations to build in resilience measures. This is, in part, the ability to anticipate the types of emergencies that might arise and adopt practices that minimize the impact of these crisis events on their operations. This type of approach ensures the safety of their employees and passengers and assists in resuming normal services quickly.

The success of operational resilience relies on several factors, the first of which is corporate culture. An organization’s resilience reflects the resiliency of its people, so public transport operators must invest in training programs, mentoring, and delivering resources that are inclusive for employees, and promote their well-being. Employees who are engaged and listened to will be better able to manage emergencies and equipped to confidently put practices in place to minimize disruption. Adopting an approach of employee collaboration through which teams and individuals are recognized for their successes and able to learn from their mistakes helps to cultivate collaboration and enables better teamwork in a crisis.

Continuously Assess Potential Risk

Proactive risk management coupled with agreed contingency plans that are regularly assessed and updated is essential. A list of the appropriate experts, technicians and helpers should be drawn up and these will be the first port of call when a critical event occurs. If companies fail to communicate in a timely manner during a crisis, they will lose control of the incident and the agreed response plan. Aligning actions to the right people ensures clarity of message, averts rumors, such as on social media, and keeps employees and passengers updated with accurate and timely information.

A comprehensive communications plan for use during a critical incident should be devised by transport operators. This outlines processes and those with responsibility for communication, who talks to whom and when, and what information they share. In addition to internal contacts, there may be external groups, such as passengers, partners of employees, or the public, that will require communications and updates. As public transport companies operate critical infrastructure, there may also be an obligation to report to the authorities.

Planning saves time and effort in an emergency. Messaging templates, for example, can be created in advance to help employees communicate efficiently and accurately. These will need to contain specific information to suit a variety of audiences and situations, but key messages must be consistent and not contradictory so everyone involved can be kept on the same page. Transport operators should plan for multimodal communication. The more channels they use, the more likely they are to reach all audiences. Ideally, messages should be sent through the most used channels today such as SMS texts, push messages, email, and voice messages and on both personal and work landlines and mobile phones. Practicing the procedures that have been agreed upon will allow transport operators to ensure they work efficiently without the pressure of a crisis. Any problems can be identified and addressed.

Building Resilience with Technology

Organizational resilience can be enhanced immeasurably by technology. Transport operators will benefit from an integrated critical event management (CEM) software solution that connects business continuity, disaster recovery, and risk management tools. This allows them to assess risk, seamlessly disseminate information across teams, and avoid disruptions that get in the way of responding quickly to a critical event. At the core of a CEM platform is a data hub that collates all the information relevant to an emergency and manages all the necessary processes.

Information that informs a CEM platform ranges from IoT device data monitoring traffic infrastructure and vehicles through to employee location data. It also includes police channels on social media, traffic information, or severe weather warnings. The platform brings this data together and visualizes it so transport companies can be quickly alerted to likely crises, assess the impact on their own systems, and initiate responses. From this, teams with responsibility for communicating critical events can coordinate activities, teams, and resources within a single application.

Emergency processes can be quickly implemented and controlled in a CEM solution in the form of rules, guidelines, and templates and it will automate those processes using a workflow system. This reduces the time that might be lost to manual activities. The CEM platform should support two-way communication allowing people to respond, which is helpful in terms of knowing who is safe, where people still need help, and whether the level of response needs to be escalated.

Transport operators face many risks but with intelligence, strategic planning and a robust crisis communication plan in place, they will be able to maintain operational resilience and protect both employees and passengers in the event of a crisis.

Tracy Reinhold is chief security officer at Everbridge. He is responsible for advancing Everbridge’s enterprise-level security strategy, as well as working closely with customers and partners to optimize their organizational approach to managing and responding to critical events.