Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - young people, place - australasia, planning - personal safety/crime, mode - bus, mode - rail


personal safety, young people, public transport, Melbourne, Australia, safety at night


This paper presents the results of a survey of young people concerning personal safety and public transport. Previous research suggests concerns amongst public transport users in general with regarding personal safety issues. Young people are highly dependent on public transport and tend to travel at times (evenings) and locations (fringe areas) where personal safety issues are more prevalent. Research on young people shows that young women, migrant teenagers and homosexual youth have more concerns about personal safety then other groups. Concerns about use of rail and waiting at stations is also highlighted in the literature.
A web based survey of 239 young people aged 18-25 explored experience of personal safety issues on public transport in Melbourne, Australia. Analysis explored the relative priorities which young people have about personal safety compared to other public transport issues. Results suggest that personal safety issues are not as highly rated as concerns about service levels (frequency and availability). Nevertheless personal safety in general and personal safety at night in particular was considered to be very important to young people but to have only medium to high performance.
Using public transport at night and waiting at rail stations was considered to be the most dangerous aspects of public transport use amongst the sample. Interestingly travelling on train was not rated as a significantly high issue which contrasts somewhat with results from previous research. The survey also found high concerns about passengers influenced by alcohol. The highest ratings for measures to address personal safety concerns involved the presence of security guards on stations and trains. Emergency/panic buttons, better lighting and measures to ban intoxicated passengers were also highly rated.