What matters to you when thinking of taking a bus, train or tram? Perhaps it is the reliability of the service, convenience of a route, or the affordability of a ticket. For a lot of people weighing up their travel options – and especially men – that’s about the limit of the issues to consider.
But for many women, there is an added factor: how safe does the service or station feel to use? “This issue needs to be part of the transport discussion,” points out Andy Newton, a Professor of Criminology & Policing at Nottingham Trent University and one of Connected Places Catapult’s new Researchers in Residence. “Far too often, safety is merely an afterthought.”
Figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics show that nearly half of women feel ‘very or fairly unsafe’ using public transport on their own after dark, compared to just under a fifth of men. Eleven percent of females don’t feel safe travelling alone on public transport during the day either.
Several sections of last year’s ‘Opinions & Lifestyle Survey’ that relate to being out and about make for sober reading. But just how safe or otherwise is the UK’s transport network for women and girls?
One concern is an under-reporting of incidents on public transport, which masks the true scale of the problem of harassment and intimidation against women and girls.