This article presents a taxonomical framework that supports the considerations of socio-cultural hazards that may affect crowd management in transport hubs, i.e. airports, ports, underground and train stations, both in normal and emergency situations. Such hazards include communication breakdowns with passengers due, for instance, to language barriers; increased potential for revolts, as in stranded passenger situations; misreporting of security threats; and uncooperative behaviour in case of emergencies. Such socio-cultural hazards are not normally considered from the integrated perspective of transport hub operators, e.g. security staff, first responders and service assistants as well as safety and security managers. The present study provides an integrated perspective of these hazards as a means to increase the performance of transport staff members that interact with the public and with passengers on a daily basis. The methodology used to develop the framework comprises: (i) a focus group with relevant experts, (ii) semi-structured interviews at operational facilities with front-end practitioners, and (iii) a review of academic literature and media reports. The framework has also been qualitatively corroborated with transport operators in dedicated interviews and a focus group session. The study identified 10 socio-cultural hazards that were combined into a single framework comprising three high-level sub-categories: (i) crowd–staff interactions, (ii) crowd–crowd interactions, and (iii) crowd–environment interactions. The framework of socio-cultural factors can increase staff’s awareness of relevant socio-cultural hazards, their potential consequences in both normal and emergency situations, and the associated mitigation strategies. In turn, this can increase the quality and continuity of service, safety and security in the management of members of the public and passengers in transport hubs.
crowd management, disruptive passenger behaviour, emergency management, emergency preparedness and training, risk and security, socio-cultural hazards, transport hubs
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