Gender on the Agenda - Tackling violence against women and girls on transport: where are we now?

This session of the Gender on the Agenda series (sponsored by the Urban Transport Group) will focus on tackling violence against women and girls on transport.

Back in 2021, Government chose two senior officers from Transport for West Midlands – Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive (and our Chair) and Anne Shaw, Executive Director – to lead efforts to tackle violence against women and girls on transport. They were the UK's first Violence Against Women and Girls Transport Champions, part of a wider campaign to tackle violence against women and girls.

Anne Shaw, Executive Director of Transport for West Midlands, will be speaking at this event, which is chaired by our Assistant Director Rebecca Fuller. 

The set of recommendations on making the transport network safer for women and girls was published in March 2022 and highlighted some key areas for focus:

  • UK GDP is severely impacted by women and girls not taking up employment or training opportunities due to fears about travel. Around 4% of GDP is lost because of this
  • Little thought is given to how women use and perceive public transport despite being the predominant user group
  • More needs to be done to ensure the design of transport services includes appropriate surveillance, lighting, and parking provisions

A pilot tool, StreetSafe, which enables the public to anonymously report areas where they feel unsafe, was also launched.

These recommendations followed findings that almost half of women have felt threatened when travelling on public transport, stopping them from accessing opportunities such as education and employment as well as socialising.

In July 2022, £50m of funding was announced for communities across England and Wales in the fourth round of the Safer Streets Fund.

Many of the Transport Champions' recommendations were put in place during the Commonwealth Games:

  • new or improved physical infrastructure
  • better and safer public spaces
  • accelerated investment in camera and communications technology
  • closer partnership working across agencies to enhance security

The pioneering Safer Travel Partnership, for example, is a collaboration between West Midlands Police, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and British Transport.

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