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Personal safety and improvements concerns in public places: An exploration of rail transport users’ perception

Adewumi Israel Badiora (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria)
Christopher A. Wojuade (Department of Transport Management, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria)
Adeniyi S. Adeyemi (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 11 March 2020

Issue publication date: 16 June 2020



Crime in public places is an increasing concern for the police, users of public places and the general public at large. Significantly, users of public transport facilities consistently perceive their risks from crime to be considerably higher, hurting levels of patronage. The aim of this study is to examine concerns for personal safety and measures that could improve sense of personal safety in a Nigerian public transport facility. This study further examines whether respondents’ perceptions determine frequent use of this public place. Explanatory factors are personal safety and place improvements concerns ratings.


The study adopted a case study. The selection of this was accomplished using carefully defined criteria in previous studies. The research process consists of three steps the on-site assessment, objective insecurity assessment and subjective insecurity survey. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Quantitative data were explored using mean ranking, percentages and correlation, whereas qualitative information was analysed using narrative techniques of reporting. To define the major determinants of the frequent use of this public place, a multiple ordinary least squares regression was constructed for variables in the correlation model.


Results show that places within the site are not designed to meet crime prevention through environmental design strategies, as 625 crimes were documented with thefts well above other listed crimes. Respondents exhibited a significant level of concern for their safety across all the factors enumerated while the most important improvements concern was enhancements to lighting. Generally, findings suggest that there is still much to be done to improve elements of surveillance, access control, territoriality, image management and activity support on the site. Regression model shows that efforts to enhance perceived safety of users would have major significance on the frequent use of this facility.

Practical implications

Policies on public place developments should be mainly in terms of tackling the environmental design of car parks and the effects of darkness at night time. This should involve improvement of lighting and the installation of CCTV, security camera as well as constant maintenance of bushes, vegetation, plants, trees and other elements of the landscape. Furthermore, the aesthetics of the site has to be attractive to users. The site and its closest surroundings have to be well-maintained and cared for. Besides, place lines and private areas must be defined with plants, pavement treatments, short walls or fences.


Previous studies on safety and security of public transport places, particularly rail facility, have mainly concentrated on the relations between fear of crime, perceived safety and place improvement concerns. To the best of authors’ knowledge, no study till date has explored how they correlate to the patronage of the transport facility, particularly in the sub-Saharan nations. This study contributes to existing literature having revealed perceived personal safety and transport place improvements concerns to be another important dimension of rail transport patronage in the Nigerian context.



Badiora, A.I., Wojuade, C.A. and Adeyemi, A.S. (2020), "Personal safety and improvements concerns in public places: An exploration of rail transport users’ perception", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 319-346.



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