Mitigation Strategies for Deterring Transit Assaults

In response to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and its successor, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) established the Safety Management Systems (SMS) framework as the basis for their National Public Transportation Safety Program. A key aspect of the SMS approach, according to FTA, is for transit agencies to build on their existing safety foundation to detect and correct safety problems early in the process and analyze safety data in a holistic manner to ensure resources are applied effectively to mitigate risks. One such risk that the transit industry is facing is related to a growing problem with the number of assaults occurring on many transit systems throughout the United States. An analysis of the National Transit Database (NTD) Safety & Security data reveals that between 2008 and 2020, transit assaults accounted for 12 percent of all transit safety and security events, and more than 9 percent of all transit injuries. Furthermore, assault injuries have increased an average of 80 additional injuries per year, since 2008. While there have been improvements in guidance made available to reduce transit vehicle operator assaults, the majority of assault-related injuries are sustained by transit vehicle riders and people waiting or leaving. This reveals an issue that will require comprehensive mitigation measures beyond those that are being implemented to reduce operator assaults. The objective or this research is to produce industry guidance that includes strategies to reduce the number of assaults on public transit vehicles or property. The guidance will include risk mitigation strategies such as different types of environmental designs that deter criminal activity, advanced surveillance technology to improve criminal response time, reporting systems, increased penalties for repeat offenders, and other strategies to combine risk mitigation efforts. Additionally, other mitigation strategies such as instituting a rider code of conduct or similar type of guidance may prove beneficial. Barrier design considerations, and alternative variations of designs, may be useful for agencies that have unique challenges associated with their operating environment. The guidance will also include an emphasis on employee training, including dispatch response to emergency training, situational awareness training, verbal judo, and other de-escalation techniques.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $250000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project A-48

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Start Date: 20211123
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01789437
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project A-48
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 22 2021 3:16PM