Women’s Perceived Safety on Public Transport Journeys : A Qualitative Study

University essay from KTH/Urbana och regionala studier

Abstract: Women feel more fear than men in public space and when using public transport. This is an inequality in our society which limits women’s mobility and access to public goods. This study aims to qualitatively explore how women experience their public transport trips from a perceived safety perspective in a study of Gullmarsplan. Which elements women focus on during the trips and what they perceive as unsafe was explored, as well as what behaviors and strategies women use to manage their fear of crime. This was explored by first collecting travel diaries using a whole journey approach and then by narrowing the study down to performing walk-alongs in the walking environment at Gullmarsplan. The study found that women focus mostly on the social environment and that their reflections on the physical environment usually are related to perceived indicators of social incivilities and risk of victimization. Gullmarsplan was generally perceived as quite safe during the day but during evenings and nights most women avoided certain places which usually were secluded, difficult to survey or were perceived to attract dangerous others. Defensive adaptation strategies, mainly avoidance strategies and vigilance, were found to be the most commonly used safety strategies by women. Women’s fear of crime likely cannot be completely designed away in the physical environment but will require structural changes that promote gender equality in our society. With that noted, it is important that urban planners and designers are aware of how the physical environment affects women’s perceived safety. This study found that principles of CPTED generally made women feel safer, particularly important were good lighting and natural surveillance. Green spaces such as parks were found to often be avoided by women after dark. The geographical location and use of safety principles such as CPTED is thus especially important at such locations. Urban planners and designers have the power to shape public spaces that are accessible and safe. Public policies and design that promote equality in access to and use of public space is a feature of a more just democratic society.

  AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)