15 Meters/11 Seconds


Some past terrorist attacks have illustrated that in the final moments before the attack happened, some people recognised the attacker and reacted, while others simply ignored them. Modelling these events requires an analysis recognising how ‘some people with high situational awareness will be influenced by other people’, and that some people (the terrorist attacker) are sufficiently adept at creating deception, outwitting perception, or vice versa. These two features underpin the key moments prior to a terrorist attack. Modelling this in the context of a terrorist attack requires a new form of granular analysis. This is called the ’15 meters/11 seconds’ model, and is the title of the research project modelled in this paper. It is a terrorist attack scenario examined as a time/action study of the immediate minutes and seconds leading up to a terrorist attack (as well as including the following events). Out of this analysis, ground rules are established for modelling an approach to the problem, in order to better develop possible evacuation strategies in public places, such as rail stations.


Photo of Christopher Flaherty

Terrorism Research Centre, Washington DC

Christopher Flaherty is a Senior Research Associate at the Terrorism Research Center in Washington, D.C. He has a PhD in Economic Relations from the University of Melbourne with a focus on networking. Following this, he pursued a career in defence and security research in the Australian Department of Defence. Dr. Flaherty has been based in London since 2008. A Senior Research Associate of the Terrorism Research Center (TRC), he regularly contributes to its current publications. He is also the co-primary author of Body Cavity Bombers: The New Martyrs (iUniverse 2013). Two essays of his from 2003 and 2010 were reprinted in the TRC book: Fifth Dimensional Operations (iUniverse 2014). He is also the author of Australian Manoeuvrist Strategy (Seaview Press 1996). He has been an active contributor on security, terrorism early warning, and related international intelligence issues, including tactics, techniques, and procedures analysis, published in the TRC report ‘Dangerous Minds’ (2012). He also has a long-term involvement in the microsimulation and risk modelling group.

Senior Research Associate, University of Wollongong

Tony Green is an active consultant and researcher in Catastrophic Risk Assessment, Risk Simulation and Fire and Explosion in the UK and Australia. He is Visiting Principle Fellow in the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Wollongong. His work in Catastrophic Risk Assessment has resulted in the development of novel approach to incorporating risk events at the catastrophic end of the risk spectrum. His technique incorporates spatial modeling of behaviours and risk in complex systems. Some applications which are currently being developed are for terrorism and policing, explosion and fire, pandemics and biosecurity. This is being developed as a real time decision support systems for emergency planning and other uses. He is a recognised leader in modeling of fire, fire spread and explosion, to give realistic predictions of damage and injury.

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