Safety in Stockholm’s underground stations: the importance of environmental attributes and context
2011 (English)Report (Other academic)
The aim of this study is to assess safety conditions in underground stations and surrounding areaswhere individual trips take place. The study is based on four independent sources: Police crime data,Veolia’s database, SL’s database and Stockholm Safety Survey. Spatial data analysis in GIS underpinthe methodology employed combined with detailed fieldwork at the underground stations. Findingsshow that a relatively small share of reported events are crime, most events are public disorder anddisturbance. Clear temporal and spatial variations of both crime and events of public disorder werefound. Events tend to happen more often in the evenings-nights, during holidays and weekends and,at least for violence, in the cold months of the year. Despite the fact that underground stations andtheir surrounding areas are criminogenic places (around 60 per cent of all reported offences to thePolice in Stockholm city takes place up to 500 meters from an underground station in 30 per cent ofits area), people declare to feel relatively safe there. They are more concerned about safety on theway from/to these transport nodes. T-Centralen might concentrate the highest number of events inStockholm but it does not keep its top position after events are standardized by daily passengersflow. The so-called “end-stations” often show higher rates of events (crime and public disorder) thanstations located in the inner city areas (exceptions are Medborgaplasten, Skanstull and T-centralenfor thefts, for instance). Hjulsta, Farsta Strand and Hagsätra show high rates regardless crime type.Some of these stations are also perceived as unsafe. The environment of underground stationsfollows some common standards (e.g., illumination, gates, real time train arrival time tables, andplatform/lounge structures) but they are far from being homogenous. Differences in the environmentof underground stations and their contexts have an impact on the stations’ vulnerability to crime andperceived safety. Evidence shows that features that indicate barriers to formal and informal socialcontrol are related to higher rates of offences, such as few people in the station, objects hinderingvisibility/surveillance, corner, hiding places. Good illumination, less presence of physical and socialdisturbance is often related to lower rates of crime and events. The context of these stations is alsoimportant to the stations’ vulnerability. Stations are often more targeted by crime and disorder whenthey are located in more peripheral neighbourhoods with higher housing instability and populationdensity and fewer police stations. Factors behind crime and disorder at the station are not alwaysrelevant to explain perceived safety. Stations perceived as unsafe are often associated with visiblesocial disturbance, with low potential for surveillance, where violence and events of public disorderare common and visible. Although crime is an important component of safety, property crimes, suchas theft, do not seem to play a role in explaining perceived safety. Unsafe stations are often located inneighbourhoods with social problems and high housing mobility. On the other hand, safe stationsare characterized by an effective formal social control in place, they are often smaller (fewer numberof platforms and exits), exhibit high potential for natural surveillance and are not necessarilycentrally located. This study finalises making suggestions for safety improvements taking intoaccount different types of crimes, their variation over time and space and the perception of safety bydifferent groups. Finally, it also highlights areas in need of further research, among other things, theneed of better knowledge on how to implement safety measures with a whole journey approach,taking into account the specificities of stations environments and needs of different groups ofpassengers.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. , 112 p.
crime and disorder, perceived safety, underground stations, modelling, GIS
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-61377OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-61377DiVA: diva2:478991
ProjectsSafety in Stockholm’s underground stations: the importance of environmental attributes and context
QC 20120201. The authors would like to thank the Swedish Transport Administration (Traffikverket),
Stockholm Public Transport (SL) and Stockholm municipality for financing this research project.
Thanks also to Ulla Wittrock (Police in Stockholm County), Stefan Liljevall (Stockholm
Statistics), Mats Pergel (SL), Peter Assor (Veolia), Niklas Roth and Ludvig Elgström (Stockholm
municipality) for providing data for the analysis2012-01-172012-01-172012-02-01Bibliographically approved