consequences of failure, or risk = [vulnerability x probability of occurrence x cost (or magnitude)] / mitigation or preparedness
In a system, structure, or a simple device, the consequence of Failure is determined by the probability at which a vulnerability can be exploited magnified by the cost of damage either physical or monetary. However it can be significantly decreased by the amount of preparation and and modification that are done afterwards in case of failure. Similar to the leaning tower of Pisa, the infamous structure had only lasted so long due to the modification of architects and engineers to prevent the collapse of the building. This goes to show that risk and failure can be eliminated with preparation!
But as society and civilization improves our needs for technological advancement grows as well. The risk factor becomes greater as more intricate systems and buildings are required to encompass more people. Vulnerability is increased by extreme weather conditions, technological failure, and most importantly the unpredictability of the human actions. The NYC subway system is proudly known as the longest public transportation system. However this year alone has shown the public how fragile and flawed it actually is. Similar to the majority of city people, the subway system is an extremely important part of life. With the snowstorms and hurricane Sandy, the city that never sleeps experienced an unbelievable event. People couldn't go to work and schools were shut down as a result and millions of dollars had to go towards reconstruction. These extreme conditions are unavoidable but can be mitigated with the proper preparations. The vulnerability of flooding of the stations could have been better prepared for if the tracks were restored more often before it occured lowering the risk factor.
But one greater vulnerability that is the most unpredictable and horrific is the factor of humans . Over the past year there had been many unpredictable occurences of people being pushed of the tracks causing unnessasary deaths and injury to others. This risk is unfortunately unavoidable by the way the system is constructed, and costly to the city not including the victim, many other people are impacted due to the work and time needed for restoration and regulation. Even with mitigation tactics set up by means of law enforcement the random probability of occurence renders a high risk factor.
While the media actively reports the occurence of these incidents, as a fellow New Yorker I find myself more weary and cautious about the people around me in the train station. The psychological impact of how vulnerable your position is puts more stress onto the situation making one believe that it is of common occurence. Even though more crimes, death and injury occur throughout the city in a day, the risk factor is magnified when it involves a routine that you do so much, that it never occured to you that it can be dangerous.