Header banner MUST have an alt or title

The component interventionHeader has not been created yet or is not available for this content page type.

The component headerBackButton has not been created yet or is not available for this content page type.

General Overview

EICS Framework


Region of Reference

  • AfricaAfrica
  • AsiaAsia
  • AustraliaAustralia
  • EuropeEurope
  • North-AmericaNorth-America
  • South-AmericaSouth-America
  • WorldWorld


This intervention refers to the implication and management of emergency panic buttons at public transport hubs, on major pedestrian corridors and around public transport stops, as well as in the vehicles themselves. They are most widely used on rail and BRT systems and in the African context, implementation in informal public transport may be challenging, as the fleets are large, often owned by multiple actors, and the areas covered are vast.

An emergency panic alarm can be operated by a panic button or a linked smartphone application. These buttons can be connected to a monitoring centre or to a silent alarm or an audible bell/siren that can be heard locally.

The alarm can be used to summon local security, police, or emergency services in an emergency. Closed-circuit television (CCTV), if available, can be used to record or analyse the event. Research has found that passengers rate emergency alarms and phones as being paramount in making them feel safer, rating the measure highly among the ‘transit safety enhancements. [1,4]

Types of Impact

Area Impacted

  • To/from the stop/station/rank
  • Waiting for train/bus/paratransit
  • In the vehicle
  • At interchanges
Any form of access to emergency buttons will be beneficial in public spaces, but the intervention specifically refers to increased access in the public transport space and en route to public transport stops/stations.

Time of Day of Impact

  • Day-time travel
  • Night-time travel
  • Peak-time travel
  • Off peak-time travel
All travel time categories could be positively impacted by this intervention.

Mode Impacted

  • Bus
  • Train
  • Rideshare
  • 4 wheelers informal
  • 3 wheelers informal
  • 2 wheelers informal
  • Cycling
  • Walking
All modes could potentially be impacted by this intervention. However, established infrastructure/formal modes would benefit from fixed/physical emergency buttons, whereas informal modes would require smartphone app-based emergency buttons. Emergency buttons at fixed intervals along popular pedestrian routes may increase users’ safety and sense of safety [1].

Demographic impacted

  • Girls
  • Boys
  • Adult Women
  • Men
  • Elderly Women
All public transport users will be positively impacted by this intervention.

SWOT Analysis

  • Quick to be implemented

  • Perceived to be effective

  • Scalable to suit budget and need for the resource

  • It is easy to disseminate, encourage widespread use, and available to all types of passengers, for all types of trips, any time of the day, and on any mode

  • As soon as implementation stops, the benefits stop.

  • Crime reduction

  • Improved safety at public transport stations and inside the mode of transport.

  • Can deter criminals before committing offences

  • Hindered response to an emergency situation could render this intervention useless at times, providing a false sense of security.

  • Reliant on collaborations from several parties for full functionality.

  • False sense of security if the system is non-functioning.

  • Information/instructions required for full use of the system.


Literature sources indicate this to be an effective measure in improving public safety, with numerous studies reaching the same conclusion with regard to its effectiveness. The effectiveness of the measure is considered moderate to high, with females being more likely to forego using a mode of transport if the intervention is not in place when compared to male travellers [1-5].

  • Perception by (female) passengers
  • Perception by governing bodies
  • Level of confidence in these ratings


Implementation of this intervention can happen quickly and be ramped up over time, depending on the availability of funds. The benefits ensue immediately upon implementation. Unfortunately, if the response services stop, the benefits are foregone.

Implementation timeframe

  • 0-1 year
  • 1-3 years
  • >3 years

Timeframe to realise benefits

  • 0-1 year
  • 1-3 years
  • >3 years

Scale of Implementation

This intervention can be implemented at a local or city level.

Station or

Ease of Implementation

This intervention is moderately easy to implement, as it requires low-skilled services for the installation, maintenance, and running of the service, as well as the training of the personnel for the response services.

List of References



3. Gekoski, A., Gray, J. M., Horvath, M. A. H., Edwards, S., Emirali, A., & Adler, J. R. (2015). “What Works” in Reducing Sexual Harassment and Sexual Offences on Public Transport Nationally and Internationally: A Rapid Evidence Assessment Acknowledgements London: British Transport Police and Department for Transport. 2.

4. Cozens, P. (2015). Perceptions of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) at Australian Railway Stations. In Journal of Public Transportation (Vol. 18, Issue 4).

5. Mahmoud, S., & Currie, G. (2010). The Relative Priority of Personal Safety Concerns for Young People on Public Transport.