Exploring the effectiveness of transit security awareness campaigns in the San Francisco Bay area

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mode - mass transit, place - north america, planning - education, planning - personal safety/crime, planning - terrorism


awareness, public participation, public transit, San Francisco Bay Area, security, situational awareness, transit operating agencies


Public involvement in alerting officials of suspicious and potentially harmful activity is critical to the overall security of a transit system. As part of an effort to get passengers and the public involved, many transit agencies have security awareness campaigns. The objective of this research project is to learn how transit agencies seek to make security awareness campaign effective and explore how they measure the effectiveness of such campaigns, if at all. This research project includes data from case studies of five agencies that provide transit service in the San Francisco Bay Area region. The case study data comprise of descriptions of the types of security awareness campaigns the agencies have implemented, the goals of the campaigns, and how they attempt to make their campaigns effective, as well as whether and how these agencies measure and determine the effectiveness of their campaigns. One positive finding of this research is the consistency with which Bay Area transit organizations address the need for passenger awareness as part of their overall security program. However, none of the five agencies analyzed for this study measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Whereas they all have a similar goal – to increase passenger awareness about security issues – little evidence exists confirming whether they are achieving this goal. The paper concludes with suggestions for using outcome measurements to provide a reasonable indication of a campaign’s effectiveness by capturing the public’s response to a campaign.


Permission to publish the abstract given by Mineta Transportation Institute.