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General Overview

EICS Framework


Region of Reference

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


This intervention refers to how companies develop and implement policies that send strong messages that any and all types of sexual harassment are not tolerated and unacceptable. A “Zero Tolerance Policy” suggests that if a violation occurs (towards passengers or other staff members), the harasser may be terminated from employment.

Employers, however, must use some individual judgment based on the severity of the conduct and the specific circumstances of each case. The “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements have increased the attention to the issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault in workplaces.

Types of Impact

Area Impacted

  • To/from the stop/station/rank
  • Waiting for train/bus/paratransit
  • In the vehicle
  • At interchanges
Increased surveillance can be helpful as it can be used for a third party to support the victim reporting the incident. As this is a public space it is not easy for a zero-tolerance company policy to be implemented.

Time of Day of Impact

  • Day-time travel
  • Night-time travel
  • Peak-time travel
  • Off peak-time travel
All travel time categories can be positively impacted by this intervention, although most sexual harassment occurs at night, early morning, in very low frequency off peak services or peak overcrowded services.

Mode Impacted

  • Bus
  • Train
  • Rideshare
  • 4 wheelers informal
  • 3 wheelers informal
  • 2 wheelers informal
  • Cycling
  • Walking
All modes run by a company large enough to have their own policies and that operate within the transport environment will be impacted by this intervention. Informal modes may make efforts to ensure that sexual harassment is not tolerated but not always as a ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

Demographic impacted

  • Girls
  • Boys
  • Adult Women
  • Men
  • Elderly Women
The demographics affected by this intervention are also guided by the legal framework - such as underage molestation of girls and boys when zero tolerance may be more clear than adult incidents. Sexual harassment due to race, religion, and other vulnerable groups such as LGBTQI+ may also benefit if there are legal descriptions that can be used in recourse and reporting.

SWOT Analysis

  • Quick to be implemented

  • Sends a clear message and this can be an effective deterrent

  • Needs legal assistance

  • Helps to show the organization in a leadership position

  • Can be used to attract more women to apply for positions

  • Can deter employees and passengers from reporting incidents if they feel that the person may lose their job

  • Can be very resource intensive


Perception of effectiveness will depend on multiple aspects including trust in the authorities. This measure can be viewed as being very positive by governing bodies, although there is also some discussion about the effectiveness of zero tolerance policies as they can also be a disincentive to report and ‘zero tolerance’ can mean different things to different people. There are studies from outside the transport sector that indicate using this phrase to describe the policy can put people off reporting, this has been shown for workplace harassment.

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


Implementation of this intervention needs to be accompanied with a robust communications campaign (at least print, radio and social media).

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 any scale required but it is more usual at city or local level. The London example (Exposing November 2021) is linked to a national awareness campaign on sexual harassment.

Station or

Ease of Implementation

This intervention requires senior management or political support. It may also require legal support to identify and frame what can be considered to be sexual harassment. The results of the data collection undertaken by EMPOWER clearly showed that many women do not fully understand what can be considered as sexual harassment, and that there are different interpretations of what is acceptable and what is not.

List of References



3. Navin K., 2014 Sexual Harassment at Workplace: Violation of Human Rights



4. Natalie Gardner, Jianqiang Cui & Eddo Coiacetto (2017) Harassment on public transport and its impacts on women’s travel behaviour, Australian Planner, 54:1, 8-15, DOI: 10.1080/07293682.2017.1299189



12. Osmond, J., Woodcock, A. (2015) ‘EVERYDAY HARASSMENT and WOMEN’S MOBILITY’, 'International Conference ‘Towards a humane city: Urban Transport 2030 -Mastering Change'. 5-6 November 2015, University of Novi Sad, Serbia., 169-176. http://humanecityns.org/ ISBN 978-86-7892-739-3

13. Lea, S.G., D’Silva, E. & Asok, A. Women’s strategies addressing sexual harassment and assault on public buses: an analysis of crowdsourced data. Crime Prev Community Saf 19, 227–239 (2017).

14. Skiba, R., & Peterson, R. (1999). The Dark Side of Zero Tolerance: Can Punishment Lead to Safe Schools? The Phi Delta Kappan, 80(5), 372–382.

15. ITF (2018), Women’s Safety and Security: A Public Transport Priority, OECD Publishing, Paris.