Security, Surveillance, and Privacy Related Preferences of European Metro Travellers

Security, Surveillance, and Privacy Related Preferences of European Metro Travellers


Dr. Sunil Patil, RAND Europe, Mr. Bhanu Patruni, RAND Europe, Dr. Hui Lu, RAND Europe


Using preferences provided by the train/metro travellers across EU27 we add to the evidence base related to public perceptions of security and privacy. We also estimate the willingness to pay for security and surveillance measures.


Authors: Patil, Sunil; Patruni, Bhanu; Lu, Hui; Fox, James; Potoglou, Dimitris; Burge, Peter; Robinson, Neil

Following revelations of NSA secret surveillance programmes in the summer of 2013, we have witnessed an increased debate related to privacy and personal data. While internet surveillance was the focus of this debate, it is expected to have far-reaching consequences in other fields, including transportation, where increasing amounts of data are collected from travellers through mass surveillance. For example, the data collected through the surveillance of metro/train facilities is becoming more effective as close circuit televisions evolve to gain capabilities such as facial recognition, but at the expense of traveller privacy. Further, advanced security checks involving body scanners and pat-down also have significant potential to increase security, but at the expense of travellers’ privacy. It is likely that the security and surveillance measures of the future will be judged based on their effects on privacy.
Using data collected across the EU27 in the PACT Project – Public Perception of Security and Privacy: Assessing Knowledge; Collecting Evidence, Translating Research into Action – we investigate security and privacy preferences by metro/train travellers. PACT uses stated preference methods to collect the security, surveillance and privacy related preferences using internet-based and face-to-face surveys for over 26,000 respondents. It is also rich in contextual details as well as attitudes related to security, privacy, trust, and risk taking. These responses were collected just after the stories of secret surveillance programme broke out and hence offer a unique opportunity to gauge the European privacy perceptions in this environment.
At ETC 2013 we presented a paper based on some preliminary models estimated on data collected during the pilot testing. This year’s paper now draws on the full dataset of 26,000 responses. Discrete choice models are developed to quantify willingness to pay for different security and surveillance features. For example, how much travellers are willing to pay to have CCTV cameras at the metro facilities? Are they willing to pay more for CCTVs which can identify abandon bags? Are they willing to pay to widen the access to CCTV data outside their country of residence? This extended work provides a more detailed analysis of the public preferences and greater insight into how these differ between individuals, and discusses the implications for policy. We investigate the differences in the willingness to pay to identify if respondents from certain European Member States are willing to pay more compared to those from other Member States. Further we use advanced discrete choice models which also incorporate effect of attitudes and perceptions. These models provide insight into the role attitudes and perceptions play in shaping the preferences related to security and privacy.
Results from PACT will provide input for decision- and policy-makers regarding how to invest in security whilst being mindful of the implications for privacy and data protection.


Association for European Transport