California’s Focus on Public Safety

By James Rubin, Ph.D., Principal
Public transportation customers must feel safe when they travel, and transit agencies are responsible for ensuring customers arrive at their destinations unscathed. Survey results from across the nation show that along with traditional service attributes, transit customers consider personal security very important and a key driver of overall satisfaction.

A recently enacted California Senate Bill 434 asks transit operators to conduct outreach activities with subpopulations of riders who are underrepresented in surveys and impacted by street harassment. We can assist agencies in satisfying the new law by surveying customers using the designated questionnaire and additional agency-specific questions.

Using quotas, we can ensure a statistically significant sample of each subpopulation to characterize their personal security experiences properly and precisely. Once data is collected, we can help analyze results and work with leadership to develop impactful strategies.

TransPro also has extensive experience leading focus groups and customer journey mapping efforts. These qualitative methodologies can provide agencies with a deeper, more detailed understanding of how subpopulations feel when using transit at each step of the journey.

We are strong champions of improved customer experience through the cadenced measurement of customer perceptions and the use of results to drive “needle-moving” strategies. We’ve worked with agencies like Long Beach Transit, Lane Transit District in Eugene, Regional Transportation District in Denver, Capital District Transportation Authority in Albany, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and Charlotte Area Transit System to identify customer perceptions and develop data-driven strategies to improve satisfaction.

With our TransDASH member agencies, TransPro has worked to establish consensus on the definition of metrics and indicators, and the methodology with which they are measured. We intend to do the same with accident safety and personal security metrics, which are distinct and often conflated. Once established, we will apply these metrics to subpopulations to identify group-specific issues and strategies for improvement.

Based on our experience, personal security is best monitored from the perspectives of four stakeholder groups: agency, customer, community, and employee. Each group can be further disaggregated into subpopulations.

  • Agency: from law enforcement statistics qualified by ridership.
  • Customer: from questions on customer value surveys.
  • Community: from questions on community value surveys.
  • Employees: from questions on employee surveys.

At TransPro, we’re ready to assist agencies with their quantitative and qualitative personal security research, identify experiences specific to subpopulations, and help ensure everyone feels safe when using transit.

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