Understanding and Addressing Sexual Harassment in San Francisco Transit Environments

Research Team: Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris (lead), Jacob L. Wasserman, and Madeline Brozen

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: Despite investment in improving transit vehicles and infrastructure over the last 15 years, many transit agencies in California and the U.S. have experienced declining ridership. One contributing factor to this decline is sexual harassment, which disproportionately affects women and gender minorities, causing them to feel unsafe while walking to, waiting for, and using public transportation. Transit agencies in the U.S. are increasingly interested in better understanding and addressing sexual harassment on their systems but agencies need tools they can easily adopt that can be deployed in on-board surveys or other outreach efforts. The research team has been involved in efforts to create different tools for online surveys, focus groups, and short pop-up engagements. However, most of these tools are not yet well-suited to field data collection efforts.

Project Description: The research team will work with the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority (SFMTA) to improve data collection and create a toolkit to address harassment on their systems and improve gender equity. Specifically, the project team will: (1) review results from SFMTA staff focus groups to be held in summer/fall 2022 on concerns about harassment and opportunities to address it as encountered by staff in their professional roles and their personal experiences using the transit system, (2) adapt previous survey tools the research team has created for quicker administration in the field as on-board or intercept surveys, (3) supervise field data collection and analysis, and (4) create a short toolkit for transit agencies to use to better understand harassment and advance strategies to address it. Following the toolkit launch, the team will hold an online webinar and in-person briefings to share the toolkit widely.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $50,000