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Mobility enables movement of people and goods from one place to another. It is obvious that mobility is very important for the daily life of humans and as such, the continuity of the traffic should be guaranteed. Mobility is by others dependent of the traffic infrastructure and different means of transport. Since last century, mobility in Western Europe has increased tremendously. This has lead to the regular occurance of congestion, which in turn has made the mobility system more vulnerable.

Traffic scene in Brussels, Belgium [1].

Mobility is fundamental to economic and social activities, including commuting, manufacturing, or supplying energy. Each movement has an origin, a potential set of intermediate locations, a destination, and a nature which is linked with geographical attributes. Transport systems composed of infrastructures, modes and terminals are so embedded in the socio-economic life of individuals, institutions and corporations that they are often invisible to the consumer[2].

Mobility is important for the urban planner in relation to security, since mobility is needed:

  • to bring people into safety away from the incident location;
  • to get emergency services to the incident location;
  • to keep the daily life and the economy going.

Furthermore, hampering mobility is an attractive target for potential terrorist actions, since disruption of mobility has a large impact on society. It is furthermore an easy target, since at many locations in the transportation system, many people are gathered at the same location at the same time. The past decades have shown the vulnerability of the mobility system for terroristic attacks by several tragic incidents, e.g. the 2004 Madrid train bombings[3], the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings[4], and several attacks on the London Underground[5]

The following concepts are the main concepts related to mobility and security:


Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Transport is important since it enables trade between peoples, which in turn establishes civilizations. A facility consisting of the means and equipment necessary for the movement of passengers or goods is called a transportation system[6]


The term infrastructure has been used since 1927 to refer collectively to the roads, bridges, rail lines, and similar public works that are required for an industrial economy, or a portion of it, to function[7]

Traffic management

The general definition of traffic management is the direction, control, and supervision of all functions incident to the procurement and use of freight and passenger transportation services.

Traffic safety

The term road traffic safety is about the risk of a person being killed or seriously injured while using the road network as a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist or user of on road public transport[8].

Traffic emissions

Transport is causing an unhealthy environment by emitting air pollutants or traffic emissions, like nitrogen oxides (NOx), total hydrocarbon (THC), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), carbon monoxide (CO) carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM).


With accessibility we mean how well a certain area can be reached. For example, is there sufficient road capacity and are there sufficient parking spaces? Are there good options for public transport? What is the average travel time to reach the centre?

A city with a good accessibility has good possibilities to get emergency services to an incident location, or to get people quickly out of the area in case of any danger. This concept is elaborated in much more detail in the accessibility specific section.


Robustness is the extent to which, under pre-specified circumstances, a network is able to maintain the function for which it was originally designed.

Since robustness is a very relevant concept for urban planners in relation to security and incidents, this concept is elaborated in much more detail in the robustness specific section.


  1. From: Owusu, Kwame, Brussels most congested European city in 2011, Autotribute, URL:, retrieved on April 11, 2012.
  2. The Geography of Transport Systems, Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Claude Comtois and Brian Slack (2009), New York: Routledge, 352 pages. ISBN 978-0-415-48324-7.
  7. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published byHoughton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


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