How transport users perceive personal safety apps

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, planning - surveys, planning - personal safety/crime, technology - geographic information systems, technology - passenger information, ridership - perceptions


Personal safety, Phone apps, Public transport


Fear of crime and a perceived sense of being unsafe have the potential to discourage individuals from using public transport. This paper presents analysis of the results of a survey on aspects of personal safety apps and how individuals perceive them in relation to their personal safety, privacy and their preference to purchase them. It explores their willingness to download for free or purchase such an app, their impression of features that an app might include such as revealing their location, how they would rate police force monitoring if included as a feature of the app and finally how they would rate a personal safety app against other technologies used to improve perceived transport user safety. The results show that the majority of respondents would consider downloading a personal safety app. Lower levels of engagement with technology, a higher level of education, being resident in the city of Dublin (as opposed to surrounding regions) and privacy concerns tended to make females less likely to consider downloading the app. These findings were not repeated for males. The results suggest that younger respondents were more likely to be negatively impacted by the inclusion of a facility to report location in an emergency on the app, while the older age groups were more likely to be unaffected. For the location tracking feature, cluster membership, gender and resident outside Dublin were significant. Less than half of the respondents would be negatively influenced in their decision to buy the app if a cost of €1.79 were introduced. When respondents were asked about the inclusion of police monitoring as a feature of the app, the results suggested that police monitoring had a more definite effect on perceived personal safety than on privacy.


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


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