Title

WHO NOTICED, WHO CARES? PASSENGER REACTIONS TO TRANSIT SAFETY MEASURES

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1999

Subject Area

planning - personal safety/crime, planning - safety/accidents, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Transit, Statistics, Safety and security, Public transit, Police, Perception, Passengers, Measures of effectiveness, Mass transit, Local transit, Lighting, Improvements, Illumination, Gender, Crimes, Ann Arbor (Michigan)

Abstract

Safety and security are important considerations for the transit operator, but few empirical studies exist that measure the effectiveness of measures taken to improve transit safety either on actual crime (or other incident) data or transit passengers' perceived safety. The current study focuses on the links between transit safety measures implemented in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area; the visibility of these improvements to transit passengers; and perceived levels of safety. The findings indicate that the characteristics of passengers' riding patterns, and whether a safety measure was noticed, all played some role in determining perceived safety. Additionally, ridership patterns and personal characteristics also affected whether passengers noticed safety enhancements. Of the measures undertaken, increased police presence and increased lighting proved most effective in increasing perceived levels of safety, and these also were the most visible. Safety measures also had their largest positive effect on perceptions in association with those transit places and situations perceived as least safe. In a similar vein, although women felt less safe overall than did men, they were more likely to notice safety enhancements and to feel safer as a result. Future efforts to build on this research should incorporate actual crime statistics, thereby extending the models discussed and providing a comprehensive view of the relationships among crime, safety enhancements, and passenger perceptions.