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Behavioral Modeling for Security in Airports

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

Providing the fundamental human resource tools involved in crisis management that will form the basis for an integrated training program dealing with airport security requires gaining a more definitive understanding of the social dynamics involved in the decision making process among all the airport stakeholders. This means being prepared beforehand, during and after an actual crisis. In order to lay the groundwork for such an endeavour we must build up a portfolio of empirical evidence that is derived from actual behavioural patterns involved in decisions relating to airport security.

It requires focusing on a number of groups of actors that are part of the airport organization including the passengers. It is clear that there is interdependence among all the actors in an airport organizational environment that encompasses those directly, and indirectly, involved.


Ground Breaking Scientific Advancement - Advancing the state-of-the art in behavioural modeling through:

- Direct, multi-faceted observations of group behaviour in airports;

- Developing a dynamic and realistic model of social behaviour during security threats in airports;

- Development and integration of advanced software simulations that help to capture and predict social behaviour in stressful emergencies.

Training Modules and Packages - Developing innovative world-wide airport staff training programmes that:

- Provide breakthrough progress in real-world crisis handling and hazard reduction;

- Reduce some of the most well-known effects of stress and time pressure on human behaviour;

- Create training modules and training packages that can be readily applied across cultural and organizational boundaries.

Meeting the two above-mentioned objectives will have the following impact on the European air transport system:

- Increased safety and security through enhanced training;

- Improved capability to correctly detect potential hazards;

- Increased efficiency of air transport;

- Reduction of false alarms.

Description of Work

A work plan has been designed, which foresees 8 Work Packages (WP) and accommodates for the interaction between the WPs. Each WP Leader has a set of tasks that covers all the work within that package. Partners who participate in these tasks are allocated the resources that will facilitate a successful, timely completion of the tasks. Most of the WPs are active only partially throughout the entire project, as some of the results obtained by a certain WP may provide the input for a consequent WP.

The WPs have been divided into three building blocks:

Block 1: Preparatory Research.

- WP1: Developing an initial simulation working model of social decision-making chains;

- WP2: Designing the Initial Survey for the study of airports;

- WP3: Studying Airports;

+ An exploratory ethnographic study of the major airport security agents;

+ Generating a longitudinal survey of a cohort of key security decision-makers;

Block 2: Application Development.

- WP4: Utilize the continuous survey output for data analysis and validation;

- WP5: Iteration & simulations of the behavioural science model;

- WP6: Designing training modules and packages.

Block 3: Other activities.

- WP7: Dissemination and Exploitation;

- WP8: Project Management.

Expected Results

The research will improve people's capability to correctly detect potential hazards and reduce false alarms. Such improvements will surely have an impact on hazard/hostile actions' prevention. BEMOSA will contribute to make airports 'learning organizations', meaning that the developed models/training procedures improve the way in which airports learn from experience, revising and updating their safety and security skills and procedures.

The emphasis of the project will be on emergency and disaster behavior of individuals, groups and organizations associated with air travel. Investigating generic decision making factors affecting preparedness, emergency and security resolution behavior will be emphasized. These results will form the benchmark for developing a behavioural model for resolving crises, and will be the basis of training simulations. Such behavioural findings are applicable to a varied set of circumstances that, given cultural sensitivities, are applicable to alternative scenario modelling that aids training and operational protocols for such types of crises resolution. As a result, BEMOSA will allow airport management and other related stakeholders to make evidence-based policy decisions in upgrading security and safety for passengers as well as making their own security systems more effective.