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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 the presence of visible security officers—either police officers or private security guards in the transport system. [8] There is general acceptance of the notion that physical surveillance aids in improving security and reduces the fear of crime.

This is due to the presence of formal surveillance and the instant availability of help. In the transport system, physical surveillance is generally implemented at transport stations and stops, or onboard the transport vehicles themselves. Surveys reveal that passengers are more fearful when such staff is not visible or available. [6]

Types of Impact

Area Impacted

  • To/from the stop/station/rank
  • Waiting for train/bus/paratransit
  • In the vehicle
  • At interchanges
Any form of increased surveillance will be beneficial, but the intervention specifically refers to increased surveillance in the public transport space.

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 the literature has examples of some targeted operations that focus on peak hour travel times or night-time travel, especially if there is evidence to support particular times of day being a problem.

Mode Impacted

  • Bus
  • Train
  • Rideshare
  • 4 wheelers informal
  • 3 wheelers informal
  • 2 wheelers informal
  • Cycling
  • Walking
Nearly all modes will be impacted by this intervention.

Demographic impacted

  • Girls
  • Boys
  • Adult Women
  • Men
  • Elderly Women
All public transport users will be positively impacted by this intervention, there is no evidence of physical surveillance and policing projects focusing on particular user groups only. The literature does, however, reveal that women prefer staffing surveillance measures to technological solutions. Other studies have found little gender-based differences on the perceived effects of this intervention, and so no clear hypothesis with regards to gender preference is available. [6]

SWOT Analysis

  • Quick to be implemented

  • Perceived to be very effective

  • Relatively low skills required

  • Scalable to suit budget and need for the resource

  • As soon as implementation stops, the benefits stop

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

  • Job creation

  • Other crimes also reduced

  • Limitation to the type of personnel that is effective (there is a number of examples where transport operators have experimented with training members of the community – on a voluntary or paid basis – to be a reassuring extra presence on public transport, with mixed results)

  • Can be very resource-intensive


Several literature sources confidently indicate this to be an effective measure in improving public safety. A large number of studies reach the same conclusion with regard to effectiveness, so the level of confidence that this measure is effective is high. [1,6,7,8] Some examples exist where incidences of sexual harassment, specifically, had been reduced upon implementation of this intervention. No African examples could be found in the literature, however.

  • 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 trained staff. The benefits ensue immediately upon implementation and improve as perpetrators become aware of the physical policing presence. Unfortunately, as soon as deployment stops, the benefits start to disappear.

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

Station or

Ease of Implementation

As this is a labour-based approach, it can be easy to implement. Targeted approaches to increase cost-effectiveness may be more difficult to implement, based on the need to generate the evidence base required to inform targeting. The skill level and availability of personnel can also affect the ease of implementation of this measure.

List of References



1. Chowdhurry, S & van Wee, B, 2020. Examining women’s perception of safety during waiting times at public transport terminals, Transport Policy, 94, 102-108. Audit Office of New South Wales (2003). Auditor-general’s report, performance audit, state rail authority, CityRail passenger security. Sydney: Audit Office.



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

3. Bates, L. (2013, October 1). Project Guardian: Making public transport safer for women. The Guardian [online].

4. Stafford, J., & Pettersson, G. (2004). People's perceptions of personal security and their concerns about crime on public transport. research findings. London: Department of Transport.

North America

North America

5. Loukaitou-Sideris, A., & Fink, C. (2009). Addressing women's fear of victimization in transportation settings: A survey of US transit agencies. Urban Affairs Review, 44(4),554-587.

6. Yavuz, N., Welch, E.W., 2010. Addressing fear of crime in public space: gender differences in reaction to safety measures in train transit. Urban Stud. 47 (12), 2491–2515.



7. Beecroft, M, 2019. The future security of travel by public transport: A review of evidence, Research in Transportation Business & Management, 32.

8. Tanu Priya Uteng, Yamini Jain Singh, Tiffany Lam, 12 - Safety and daily mobilities of urban women—Methodolgies to confront the policy of “invisibility”, Editor(s): Karen Lucas, Karel Martens, Floridea Di Ciommo, Ariane Dupont-Kieffer, Measuring Transport Equity, Elsevier, 2019, Pages 187-202, ISBN 9780128148181, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-814818-1.00012-3.