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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 28, 2013

Analysis of Criminal and Terrorist Related Episodes in Railway Infrastructure Scenarios

Francesca De Cillis EMAIL logo , Maria Carla De Maggio , Concetta Pragliola and Roberto Setola


Prevention and preparedness of risks in railway transportation systems is crucial for homeland security and require, among other things, a proper analysis of the vulnerabilities of the assets, a clear awareness of criticalities, possible countermeasures and adequate methods to design, scale and optimize the protection. To this end, in this paper we present an analysis of various security incidents and terrorist attacks that took place from 1972 to 2011; all involving railway infrastructures. All of the collected information has been stored in a database, aptly named RISTAD (Railway Infrastructure Systems Terrorist Attacks Database). Specifically, this research focuses on railway assets in order to identify those environmental, architectonic and infrastructural aspects that make such targets more “attractive” from a criminal point of view. We analyzed about 540 criminal-related episodes utilizing open source documents in an effort to correlate the acts with the peculiar characteristics of the asset. The last section is specifically focused on stations, attempting to emphasize both interesting and, for some aspects, non-intuitive correlation among collected data (e.g., lethality and number of attacks as a function of the number of tracks, the number of daily passengers, station extension, presence and type of security systems, etc.).

Corresponding author: Francesca De Cillis, Complex Systems and Security Lab, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Via Alvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 Rome, Italy, e-mail:

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    Actually, air transportation authorities are planning to relax some regulations (e.g., measures for the carriage of liquid in cabin, etc).

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    More information available at

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    Readers interested in RISTAD can use the procedure illustrated on the website

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    “Corriere della Sera” (Italy), Kommersant (Russia), CincoDì (Spain) and other newspaper of the countries involved in railway attacks.

This work is partially supported by the European Commission, Directorate-General Home Affairs, within the Specific Programme on “Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of Terrorism and other Security-related risks,” under Grant HOME/2010/CIPS/AG/035 MEthodological Tool for Railway Infrastructure Protection (METRIP).


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Published Online: 2013-08-28
Published in Print: 2013-10-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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