When it comes to safety, perception can influence transit ridership just as easily as actual crime rates. Women, in particular, are unlikely to abandon the safety of their personal vehicles in exchange for an unlit bus stop or empty subway platfrom. UCLA urban planning professor, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, who co-authored a 2009 study on how to improve transit safety, says there are low cost solutions transits can employ in these times of budget shortfalls.
"You can put the stop half a block away, but by a business that's open late and that has pedestrian traffic," suggests Loukaitou-Sideris. Personnel training and policy changes can have a positive effect on rider comfort as well. For instance, Loukaitou-Sideris recommends encouraging strong customer service that makes riders feel at ease. Changing to a flag stop system after dark so riders can wait where they feel most comfortable is another possible solution.
Jessica Meany, a Safe Routes to School organizer, points out that traffic safety is as much of a concern as personal safety. Imrovements to the pedestrian environment, such as crosswalks and traffic calming, are important steps. Meany describes her ideal transit stop experience:
"What I'd like to see more are places to wait that are enjoyable, and that provide shade and dignity."
Thanks to Jessica Brent