Quantifying individuals' trade-offs between privacy, liberty and security: The case of rail travel in UK

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - safety/accidents, planning - terrorism, mode - rail, mode - mass transit


United Kingdom, Transit, Trade-off analysis, Terrorism, Safety and security, Railroad travel, Quantification, Public transit, Privacy, Persons and personal characteristics, Mass transit, Local transit, Great Britain


Public transport systems have been targets in several terrorist attacks, notably in recent years, resulting in tight security measures worldwide. However, individuals' privacy and liberty often conflict with efforts towards safety and security, making it difficult to assess the implications of security measures balanced against the costs (e.g., citizens may be stopped, searched and asked to provide personal identification data to authorities without any particular reason). Henceforth, the authors' research question asks, "to what extent would people sacrifice their right to privacy and liberty in exchange for potentially safer and more secure travel?" This paper uses a stated choice experiment to quantify individuals' trade-offs between privacy and security within a real-life context, namely rail travel in the UK. Using a nationwide sample, the empirical analysis yields the importance of improvements in the security infrastructure and identifies areas of concern with regard to privacy and liberty controlling for travel related factors. Further, trade-offs across different security measures for rail travel are quantified in terms of individuals' willingness-to-pay extra on top of the average ticket price.


Transportation Research Part A Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09658564