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General Overview

EICS Framework


Region of Reference

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


Safe spaces can be described as a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm. Safe spaces are areas where marginalised people, such as women or members of the LGBT community, can go when they are feeling uncomfortable or distressed.

These spaces are important in the public transport space, as marginalised groups are the main victims of sexual harassment and assault and are often fearful when using public transport. These spaces can take the form of a panic room or marked space at public transport station/infrastructure, or women and children only train carriages, buses, or taxis.

Types of Impact

Area Impacted

  • To/from the stop/station/rank
  • Waiting for train/bus/paratransit
  • In the vehicle
  • At interchanges
This intervention would impact the commuters at transport stations/interchanges.

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
Apart from cycling and walking, all other modes of transport may be impacted by this intervention, with more traditional/established/fixed mode types benefiting the most.

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

  • Relatively low skills required

  • Scalable to suit budget and need for the resource

  • It is easy to disseminate, encourage widespread use

  • As soon as implementation stops, the benefits stop

  • Not effective in parts of the transport system where the intervention is not physically present

  • Improve safety at public transport stations and inside mode of transport.

  • May further add stigma to the costs of harassment.

  • Label women outside these bounds as provocative and shift responsibility for harassment to the victim.


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 high [2-7,10-11]. A primary threat to the intervention is labelling women outside the safe space bounds as provocative and shifting responsibility for harassment to the victim, which may further add stigma to the costs of harassment in public transport.

  • 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 available funds or demand. The benefits ensue immediately upon implementation, once maintenance and associated services cease, the corresponding 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 quite easy to implement, as it does not necessarily require highly skilled personnel or substantial infrastructure changes but relies on the collaboration of several stakeholders to be realized fully.

List of References



6. 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.

North America

North America

7. Nicole Christine Raeburn (2004). Changing Corporate America from Inside Out: Lesbian and Gay Workplace Rights. University of Minnesota Press. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-8166-3998-4.

8. Amenabar, Teddy (19 May 2016). "The New Vocabulary of Protest". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 July 2016.

9. Positive Space. "The Positive Space Campaign". The University of British Columbia. Retrieved 18 June 2011.

South America

South America

10. Kondylis, F., Legovini, A., Vyborny, K., Zwager, A., & Andrade, L. (2019). Demand for “Safe Spaces”: Avoiding Harassment and Stigma Innovating in crowdsourcing information on harassment and social norms.