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H2020

IMPACT Report Summary

Project ID: 653383
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.7.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IMPACT (Impact of Cultural aspects in the management of emergencies in public Transport)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The IMPACT CSA is investigating the essential role played by cultural factors in preventing and managing safety and security issues related to emergencies in Public Transport hubs.
Transports hubs are central parts of modern cities and the cornerstone of a future completely multicultural civic life. Moreover, Transport hubs are very crowded environments in which many security and safety events may arise, from terrorists attacks to natural disaster and accidents.
The project aims at analysing the different cultural behaviours that are relevant for the prevention of emergencies and for the management of emergency events and post-events. In particular, the high- level objectives of the IMPACT CSA are:
• Analysing how emotional, psychological and social-cultural peculiarities can affect the way crowds engage in restoration and recover from disaster.
• Anticipating problems and identifying solutions to cultural problems that may arise in the event of an emergency in Transport Hubs, by providing an analysis of existing links between disaster and culture.
• Improving the effectiveness of those who respond to disasters by better meeting the needs of various cultures during disaster relief, thus improving reaction time and reducing fatalities.
• Increasing hubs’ preparedness for, and ability to, recover from emergencies.
• Providing a framework for improving disasters’ policies and practices by taking into consideration every disaster victim’s cultural and personal uniqueness.
To ensure the achievements of the above objectives, IMPACT is expected to deliver the following outcomes, customised for inter-modal Transport Hubs:
• to produce a cultural risk assessment methodology and the associated mitigation actions (in terms of response to identified cultural behaviours) for the public transport hub sector.
• to develop agent-based computational models to simulate and validate cultural behaviours models and cultural-specific communication solutions.
• to identify innovative solutions that can support public transport operators in improving the communication with passengers through dedicated messages to the different cultural groups (via mobile phones and social networks), and other solutions to enhance the management of emergencies, considering cultural aspects.
• to develop dedicated multi-lingual Computer-Based Training (CBT) material and procedures for both public transport operators and first responders.
• to develop and disseminate best practices and policy recommendations for policy makers, regulators, municipalities and public transport operators.
The IMPACT Consortium comprises 8 partners from 6 countries, including SMEs, Universities, one Large Company and a Public Body. The composition of the Consortium reflects the inherent intercultural and interdisciplinary approach of the project:
• The Consortium includes entities that will exploit the results of the project during their day-by-day-activities (i.e. port authorities, railways and airport operators), provide their operational knowledge, and support the evaluation, application and dissemination of project results through coordination activities in their sectors.
• The participation of SMEs ensures flexibility, innovation and creativity.
• As many countries as possible are involved, to be representative of the European multi-cultural environment.
• The project gathers an extensive expertise in different disciplines, from psychology, sociology and anthropology, to safety, security and emergency management and from computer-science to communication and event organization. Operational and regulatory knowledge is also granted.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first IMPACT year was dedicated to the following main activities that will serve as basis for the IMPACT Multi-cultural Theoretical Framework (due at M18):
• An extensive review of existing scientific literature and of past projects in the fields of multi-cultural crowd behaviour, with special focus on emergency management.
• A detailed analysis of past safety and security-related events, their causes and consequences;
• Qualitative and quantitative data gathering activities, ranging from interviews, questionnaires, focus groups and field observations with passengers, Transport Hub front-end operators, first responders and safety and security experts;
• Identification of relevant issues and definition of emergency scenarios in which multi-cultural aspects are relevant with the support of safety and security experts in the Transport domain;
• Formal and generalised definition of “Transport Hub” and of the boundaries of the IMPACT analysis;
• Collection and formalisation of the preliminary requirements for the IMPACT Supporting Measures for emergency prevention and management.
This phase can be described as mainly preparatory work for the design, implementation of the IMPACT Supporting Measures, i.e. the Agent Based Models for multi-cultural crowd behaviours, the Cultural Risk Assessment Methodology, the Culture-specific Emergency Communication Solutions and Guidelines, the Cultural-Based Training Framework, which are already under study since month 7, respectively within WP2, WP3, WP4 and WP5.
Deliverables successfully submitted during RP1 are:

• D8.1 Quality and Ethical Monitoring Plan (DBL, M3)
• D7.1 Dissemination and Exploitation Plan (DBL, M4)
• D1.1 Review and critical analysis of multi-cultural crowd behaviour in case of emergency (UOL, M6)
• D1.2 Empirical data-sets and results (VUM, M12)
• D4.1 Communication framework requirements definition (VU, M12)
• D5.1Training Requirements and Key Scenario Application (DBL, M12)
• D8.2 Activity Report M12 DBL D8.4 Management Report (DBL, M12)
• D9.1 H - requirement N. 6 (DBL, M4)
• D9.2 POPD – requirement N. 8 (DBL, M4)
• D9.3 POPD – requirement N. 13 (DBL, M4)

During the first year of the IMPACT CSA, management and coordination activities were central to ensure a better knowledge and mutual understanding among the partners, define common and agreed quality standards and ethical procedures to carry out data collection activities, support the interactions with the ESG, set up all the tools and templates for internal project collaboration and carry out all the formal communication and reporting with the European Commission.
Good and effective collaboration among all Consortium partners have been achieved during this first year of the project, meetings and conference calls were frequent and productive. All the risks have been proactively managed with the support and availability of the whole Consortium.
During the M1-M12 period dissemination and communication activities were mainly preparatory for future work in the next period of the IMPACT CSA in which much mature outcomes will be available for dissemination and exploitation.
WP7 partners successfully identifies target audiences, their needs and peculiarities, planned in details the IMPACT dissemination and exploitation activities for the whole CSA lifecycle, designed the project Visual Identity with the provision of all the accompanying templates and tools, implemented and actively maintained the project web-site. Scientific and technical papers are under production, while participation to various events and meetings as already been ensured.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The IMPACT Project’s remit is to examine cross-cultural crowd management, in public transport, in emergency conditions. This is a highly specific topic and a complex one addressing several different areas. Indeed, the topic is so specific, that there is no previous research addressing it specifically in detail. The IMPACT project has an interdisciplinary and user-centred approach to tackle this issue and will combine a set of primary and secondary research to gather relevant data, analysing, interpreting and integrating them in a unique Theoretical Framework that will serve as a basis for the IMPACT Coordination and Supporting Measure. The IMPACT Coordination and Supporting Measures will really enhance current stata of the art in emergency prevention and management by tacking into accout socio-psychological and multi-ciìultural factors.
The adoption of the IMPACT supporting measures will help improve disasters’ policies and practices by taking into consideration socio-cultural and personal peculiarities, thus enhancing the overall security and resilience of European transport systems and cities.
Specifically, in order to “increase the effectiveness of those who respond to disasters”, the project will provide a cultural-based risk assessment integrated with a simulation environment and a dedicated training package taking into account cultural differences both in the prevention and in the management of emergencies.
Moreover, to “better meet the needs of various cultures during disaster relief, thus improving reaction time and reducing fatalities in order to provide disaster relief”, IMPACT is developing guidelines and prototypical examples of an innovative emergency communication framework tailored on cultural-based instances. Gestures, images, audio and visual alerts, as well as lights and physical environmental constraints will be integrated in the communication framework to ensure the maximum coverage and understandability. Social media and portable devices will be also used to reach passengers and citizens. This way, by meeting the needs of different cultures during disaster relief, the project aims at improving reaction times and reducing fatalities.
IMPACT will also support the building of ”a more resilient society by ensuring that cities are better prepared for and able to recover from emergencies” by improve the resilience of Transport Hubs, that are central points in modern cities. Moreover, Transport Hubs can be considered as ‘small simplified cities’ into the city. In order to ensure that cities are better prepared for and able to recover from emergencies, the project is designing and delivering a training package to support first responders and Transport Hubs operators in facing the complex multicultural management of emergencies and a multimodal communication framework for citizens as passengers which takes into account cultural differences will be also provided. Moreover, a specific coordination activity will be devoted to the generalization of the best practices consolidated for Transport Hubs within the project to other domains/urban environments, such as shopping malls, stadium, big events premises, etc..
In order to “provide a framework for improving disasters' policies and Practices”, guidelines for transport operators and first responders, as well as policy recommendations for regulators and decision makers are under development and will be circulated and disseminated by the IMPACT CSA.
The action is expected to proactively target the needs and requirements of users, such as citizens, Transport Hub managment organisation, first responders, urban communities and local security agencies.
The IMPACT Consortium includes three end-users (from air, land and maritime transport) ensuring a direct link with national and international cooperating security agencies. They are involved in the project as expert partners and will provide relevant inputs, in terms of needs and requirements, for the coordination and support actions to be undertaken addressing citizens, communities and first responders.
The IMPACT project interacts with an External Stakeholders’ Group (ESG) to maximise the research relevance for all the Safety and Security Stakeholders in the Transport domain. ESG members represents Transport Hub Operators, First Responders, National and Local Authorities, Law Enforcement Agencies, Policy Makers and Regulators and Industries.
Finally, a specific activity among coordination measures is dedicated to the generalization and cross-fertilisation of the IMPACT results to/from other domains beyond transport.

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