Understanding and managing anti-social behaviour on public transport through value change: The considerate travel campaign


Stephen Moore

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, planning - personal safety/crime, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - young people


Anti-social behaviour, Public transport, Tolerance, Crime, Policing


This article explores anti-social behaviour on public transport, regarded as a major problem by most transport authorities in Britain. It has been estimated that a passenger increase of more than 11.5% in Britain could be achieved if public concerns over anti-social behaviour could be allayed. The article starts by noting that combating anti-social behaviour has generally been seen as the remit of police and enforcement officers. However, research carried out for Transport for London indicates that for the majority of the travelling public, the forms of anti-social behaviour, which concerns them is more likely to be low-level behaviour, ranging from groups of young people behaving boisterously to people eating food or talking loudly on mobile phones. Using the ‘problem solving approach’ structure, the article then examines the process by which Transport for London has partially ‘uncoupled’ anti-social behaviour from criminal activities and then treated the two issues as related but distinct. As a result, a series of policing and enforcement initiatives have been introduced to prevent crime, but a different, unique approach has been taken towards controlling anti-social behaviour. Rather than being tackled as a form of low level criminality, anti-social behaviour is viewed as the outcome of clashing values about appropriate behaviour on public transport. Therefore, the answer to anti-social behaviour lies in minimising these values clashes, rather than concentrating on enforcement against perpetrators. The article describes the resulting large-scale media campaign—the Considerate Traveller Campaign, which was launched in 2008 with the aim of increasing tolerance and consideration for others. The article concludes with a summary of the early evaluation of the campaign, which suggests that it is having some positive effect in changing values and argues that in the longer run, it may be possible to amend the behaviour on public transport without relying so heavily on enforcement measures.


Permission to publish abstract given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X