Keeping people safe on public transportation requires human solutions and inclusive platforms. See something, say something is a good mantra but must be easily actionable in ways that people can willingly participate. A transit agency accepting phone calls is not enough. A crowdsourced incident reporting platform that is ADA compliant, offers multiple languages, and has a multitude of ways to report (mobile app, webform, QR, texting, etc.) is needed. Such a mobile communication platform for transit agencies should be designed with the safety and accessibility of everyone in mind.
Dozens of transit agencies have deployed a mobile incident reporting platform to increase safety and security. These forward-thinking transits include SEPTA, MBTA, BART, DART, METRA, SACRT and many others. Transit agencies that can receive geolocation, photos, video and a descriptive payload about rider concerns are able to know what is happening right now. Speed of reporting matters.
Multiple Ways to Report
By providing multiple ways to report concerns, information gets reported immediately – before situations escalate into more serious, more costly incidents. For example, “train door is stuck open”, “driver is being threatened”, “wheels are making a noise like I’ve never heard in 5 years of riding this bus/train”.
A modern incident management console can show the dispatcher which CCTV camera and speaker horn are nearby an incident report location, so the dispatcher can live-view the situation and audibly command the perpetrator to stop bad behavior, without endangering a transit employee to confront the disruptive person.
Trip Planning App Integration
Trip-planning and fare payment apps are popular with riders. Thus it is important to allow the incident reporting solution to be bolted on to any existing trip planning or fare-payment mobile app, making it more accessible to riders when they need it.
Location, Location, Location
Ideally an incident reporting solution should be integrated with AVL/GTFS RT technology so when there is trouble onboard a vehicle, the dispatcher immediately knows the vehicle ID. With this they can activate live-look-in cameras, call the bus operator via 2-way radio, or intercept the vehicle if an active crime or assault is onboard.
Transit Safety Campaigns
BART Not One More Girl campaign, for stopping sexual harassment on transit, uses an incident reporting app for riders to report when they or others are being harassed.
SEPTA SCOPE program, which provide assistance to homeless and vulnerable persons in the transit system, utilizes incident reporting technology so riders and workers can report where vulnerable persons are and their status.
Transit workers and riders deserve to feel safe. Every transit agency in America should deploy a robust incident reporting platform, with the above mentioned technology innovations, to enhance safety & security.