Examining women's perception of safety during waiting times at public transport terminals

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - urban, ridership - perceptions, planning - personal safety/crime, planning - surveys


Gender, Women, Public transport, Waiting time, Safety


In many cities, public transport has a higher ridership level from women compared to men, yet most systems are not designed for them. Many female riders fear of being a victim. Most of their negative experiences are usually associated with the urban environment in and around stations/stops. Integrated public transport systems will require users to make more transfers, thus increasing the proportion of their journey time they spend waiting for a vehicle (intial and transfer waiting time). Previous research revealed that women are very sensitive to transfer waiting times but the reason is not clear. This study investigates how the fear of victimization influences female riders' perception of safety during waiting times. An online survey was undertaken in Auckland, New Zealand and responses from 448 femalempublic transport users were attained. Findings provide some evidence of the concerning level of anxiety women experience while waiting. Results showed that they rely on mobile phones and headphones as a defense mechanism to their feeling of apprehension. They remain alert of their surroundings and pretend to be confident while waiting. Women with ethnic backgrounds feel less safe during the day compared to Caucasian women. They were found to be more frequent users of mobile apps to determine the duration of waiting time compared to Caucasian women. In addition, it was found that social perceptions of safety from family and friends has an influence on how women perceive their personal safety while waiting at terminals. To create an equitable public transport service, where the predominant users are women, decision makers are recommended to more explicitly consider the safety needs of female riders in and at surrounding areas of terminals.


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


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