Security enforcement in public transport
Ghent is implementing an integrated safety and security plan entitled ‘Safe on the road’. Its main objective is to substantially improve the safety and security of public transport users and drivers.
Implementing sustainable mobility
In recent years, safety and security in public transport has been a hot issue in Belgium, with many incidents leading to casualties and damage to public transport vehicles. By interviewing users, counting bicycles and registering the number of accidents, Ghent wants to improve cycling routes and promote cycling in the city. The city will provide viable alternatives to the use of private and individual cars and will incorporate cycling measures as complementary initiatives within the targeted CIVITAS ELAN demonstration corridor. Measures that give priority to safe cycling, such as the reallocation of road space, surface treatments, changes to junction priorities and timings will also be introduced.
The safety plan already exists and its main aspects are:
- To install safety cameras for monitoring;
- To work with students in a cooperative and participatory programme - “Trammelant”
- To increase the number of “lijnspotters” - a second person that accompanies bus drivers to limit incidents;
- To train personnel with a focus on safety and security;
- To invest in safe and secure infrastructure: architectural aspects, radio connection and GPS-system in all buses and trams, closed driver cabins and motorcycles for fast interventions;
- To prioritise and list hotspots: a safety monitoring system will be installed, measuring the weakest points concerning safety. Each weak point will get a number ranging from 0 (safe) to 3 (severe nuisance). Based on the score, De Lijn will take the most urgent measures.
The first step has already been taken, as people can only enter the bus at the front door to decrease the number non-paying customers. Also, lijnspotters are being used to limit incidents. The Trammelant bus was introduced in November 2009. The bus travels from school to school to raise awareness about the consequences of vandalism. This is done in a playful rather than pedantic way. An educational film is shown on the bus and pupils have to guess the price of possible misbehaviour. At the end of the session, the instructor sets up an evacuation exercise.
Deviation from the original plan:
In the latest version of the DOW for 5.7 it is mentioned that cameras will be installed in the vehicles. This submeasure is implemented but not as a part of the Civitas Elan project. De Lijn did not want to wait for the start of the project as this was an important issue in the safety plan, the implemented action was based on an internal project schedule.The evaluation on this item is therefore not part of this evaluation document.
Evaluation approach and key results
The evaluation was done by collecting the number of incidents on PT, the number of contacted schools / students and the number of interventions of the Lijnspotters.
The documented incidents (aggression forms) are in the security monitor registered at the level of statistical sectors, which are the smallest administrative units in Belgium. To evaluate the impact of Trammelant on a given school, the aggression forms of the sectors where the scholars of that school take PT most frequently before/after school are filtered. For the BAU scenario, the whole region of Eastern Flanders is used.
The evaluation on the security perception of the PT users is evaluated on IP level.
- Key result 1 – Significant decrease in number of incidents - the number of documented incidents with youngsters (-18 years) in the area of Trammelant schools have decreased significantly. When we compare the average number of incidents for the first half of 2008 (before start of Trammelant) and the average for the same period in 2010 a reduction of -53% on incidents with youngsters -18 years is reached. The quantifiable target (number of incidents -30% ) has been reached.
This reduction is even stronger when the comparison is made with the total number of incidents with younster in the city of Ghent which is increased between 2008 and 2010 with 52%.
- Key result 2 – positive internal perception at De Lijn - During the evaluation meetings with the involved controllers it was stated that often they see the positive impact of the project when they are doing control activities asked for an intervention for an incident in the neighbourhood of a trammelant school. Due to the fact that some of the youngsters (from Trammelant schools) know what the mission of the controllers is or that they recognise the involved controllers it is easier for the controllers to intervene and do their job. There is a mutual understanding and respect.
- Potential for replication - The Trammelant concept is implemented in the other entities of the public transport company because of the positive evaluation/effect. Not only within the public transport company, but also the other CIVITAS city-partners value the measure of the Trammelant bus as interesting. The needed costs for equipment are low because busses that are not used anymore are used as Trammelant bus. To maximize the impact of the Trammelant activities, the focus has to be on schools where problems with youngsters on the PT were reported in the past.
- Motivation of controllers and bus drivers - it is important that the controllers and bus drivers are motivated and have education skills. It is recommended to organize periodical evaluation meetings with the involved controllers / drivers so that the program can be changed if needed.