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Journal Article


Krankka M, Byring B, Kiiskila K. Res. Rep. Finn. Transp. Agency 2011; (59): online.


(Copyright © 2011, Finnish Transport Agency)






The transport system constitutes an essential part of basic social services and critical infrastructure. Its reliability is vital to the operations of the society. The variety of disruptions in the transport system has demonstrated our dependence on the effective functioning of the system. Through appropriate risk management, risks can be minimized and their secondary effects mitigated in addition to securing the functionality of the transport system. The purpose of the preparatory study was to gather information about the current state of the risk management practices in a few European countries and Finland. The objective has been to learn from other countries and to identify new research methods and approaches for the risk management and coordination practices of the Finnish Transport Agency. In addition to Finland, three other countries were selected for the study: Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom. The study was carried out by means of a literature survey and expert interviews. In addition, the steering group appointed for the project contributed to determining the scope of the study. Threats and incidents may vary largely in terms of both extent and duration. The following were identified as the strategic risks to the transport system: severe disruptions in energy supply, critical communication and information system incidents (the so-called cyber threats), major disruptions in transport logistics, extreme natural conditions; severe and exceptional weather conditions and natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as terrorism and other criminal acts that endanger the social order. Vandalism may also result in major disruptions in the transport system. The security of supply and preparedness planning have been organized in the same way in the Nordic countries. In the United Kingdom, these issues have been strongly emphasized due to the terrorism threat, and the country has several organizations responsible for preparedness and security issues. In the countries reviewed, some differences were identified between the risk management organizations responsible for the transport system and/or the different forms of traffic in terms of the number of ministries and agencies. Whereas in some of the reviewed countries different forms of traffic fall under the responsibility of a single agency and risks are managed at the level of the transport system, others have dedicated agencies for each form of traffic and risk management is likewise specific to them. During the past decade, all of the countries reviewed began studying the vulnerability of the transport system and risk management as a whole alongside or instead of examining each form of traffic separately. The great vulnerability of societies has increased continuously due to the fact that their functions are highly dependent on electric and telecommunications systems, global transport chains and even on international politics. This has accentuated the importance of cooperation between countries, different authorities and the various forms of traffic. The importance of up to- date status information and communication is emphasized when examining the vulnerability and functionality of the transport system, and risk management plays an increasingly important role. Sweden has focused particularly in the development of risk management methods, vulnerability analysis and regional surveys. In Norway, the risk management practices for the transport system and vulnerability analysis were developed and coordinated as a whole within the project RisikO og SÃ¥rbarhetsanalyse for SAMferdsesektoren (SAMROS). Also the United Kingdom has developed a national risk assessment process with the focus on the vulnerability of the system and the tolerance specifications. Putting the practices, processes and guidelines developed by other countries to use in the development of the risk management policy of the Finnish transport system is highly advisable. The decision in principle of the Finnish Government on the Security Strategy for Society was updated in autumn 2010. The Finnish Transport Agency is currently preparing the preparedness plan for the transport system on the basis of the revised Strategy. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has addressed the reliability of the transport system and the significance of risk management in its future prospects. Until now, only a few risk management surveys covering the entire transport system have been carried out in Finland. By contrast, the number of risk management plans specific to different forms of traffic is fairly large. The risk management practices of rail, sea, and air traffic are governed by Finnish legislation and international regulations. For instance, the transportation of hazardous substances on road is laid down in legislation. On the basis of the preparatory study, the recommended further measures include the preparation of a risk management strategy for the transport system by the Finnish Transportation Agency and the creation of risk management guidelines and a risk management plan covering the entire transport system on the basis of the strategy. Furthermore, it is recommended that the vital functions, critical infrastructure and the so-called weakest links and bottlenecks in the transport system be identified and the relevant risk management plans be prepared in order to secure a high level of service and functional travel and transport chains. The communication of up-to-date status reports and relevant information, as well as the development and maintenance of these processes for the needs of traffic management and the provision of customer information all help to ensure the functionality and reliability of travel and transport chains. The risk management plans will be prepared by utilizing Nordic risk assessment and risk management methods as well as vulnerability analysis and scenario review methods. In order to efficiently share good practices, the possibility of Nordic cooperation in the development of risk management practices for transport systems should be examined. It is important to test the functionality of the prepared risk management plans as well as the cooperation between different parties in practice through scenario-based exercises, for instance in accordance with the Swedish model.



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