The National Academies

TCRP A-48 [Active]

Mitigation Strategies for Deterring Transit Assaults

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: Texas Transportation Institute (TTI)
Principal Investigator: Joan Hudson
Effective Date: 1/18/2023
Completion Date: 3/17/2025
Comments: Research in Progress



The transit industry is facing a growing problem in terms of the number of assaults on many transit systems throughout the United States. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Division C – Transit, Sec. 30001) recently redefined assault on a transit worker to mean a circumstance in which an individual knowingly, without lawful authority or permission, and with intent to endanger the safety of any individual or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, interferes with, disables, or incapacitates a transit worker while the transit worker is performing their duties. An analysis of the National Transit Database (NTD) Safety and Security data reveals that between 2008 and 2020, 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 injuries per year since 2008. While there have been improvements in guidelines to reduce transit vehicle operator assaults, most assault-related injuries are sustained by transit vehicle riders and people waiting for or leaving a transit vehicle or facility. This reveals an issue that will require comprehensive mitigation measures beyond those being implemented to reduce operator assaults. This research project looks at spontaneous physical and nonphysical assaults, which might include passenger-on-passenger incidents, passenger-on-transit worker incidents, assaults by juveniles, reactions to verbal comments, behavior-related incidents, domestic violence, etc. 



The objective of this research is to produce a guide with strategies to reduce the number of assaults on public transit vehicles or property. The guide may include risk mitigation strategies targeting the offender, the victim, and the environment. The guide should include risk mitigation strategies that can be implemented by different transit modes and systems of varying size, including urban, suburban, and rural.


The research should consider addressing questions such as:

  • What are the components of a model assault prevention and mitigation program?
  • How do such components differ for agencies that have dedicated law enforcement resources and for those that do not?
  • What are the impacts of assaults on ridership attraction and retention? 
  • What are the impacts of risk mitigation strategies on the agency budget (e.g., operations, maintenance, security)?
  • What approaches to preventing and mitigating assaults have been effective or ineffective in the transit industry?
  • What collaborations can be built to enhance assault prevention and mitigation efforts?
  • What innovative approaches are used in other industries in the United States and abroad to prevent and mitigate assaults?
  • What are the barriers to implementing an assault prevention and mitigation program?

This research will result in a research report, a guide, a social media toolkit, and products to assist transit agencies and other stakeholders in implementing the results of the study. Some examples may include public service announcement materials (e.g., video), a toolkit, checklists, an interactive matrix organizing strategies by resources and cost, a training curriculum, and other avenues for sharing the information. A sustainability plan for the ongoing use of the specific tool should be included.




The research plan shall be divided into tasks that present, in detail, the work proposed. The research plan shall describe appropriate deliverables that include the following (which also represent key project milestones):

  • An Amplified Research Plan that responds to comments provided by the project panel at the contractor selection meeting.
  • An interim report (i.e., a technical memorandum or report) and panel meeting after the expenditure of no more than 40 percent of the project budget.
  • A draft final comprehensive research-based guide and interactive products.
  • A final comprehensive research-based guide and interactive products.
  • A technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.


STATUS: Research in Progress.


To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5255