London TravelWatch’s research on LGBTQ+ people’s safety on the transport network
As part of our plans to drive forward a more inclusive vision of doing business in London, we’ve launched a series of short interviews to find out what some of our members are doing to improve inclusion and diversity (I&D) within their own organisations. Today we hear from Sasha Langeveldt (She/Her) Campaign and Advocacy Officer, London TravelWatch.
At the beginning of 2022, London TravelWatch published research on personal security when travelling. This provided a good overview of safety on public transport, but we wanted to build a deeper understanding of how the issue impacts different communities. This led to our new report ‘Out in London’, produced in collaboration with Galop, which specifically explores the experiences of LGBTQ+ people.
While sadly many people in the LGBTQ+ community will be more than familiar with the issues raised in the report, it helps build an evidence base and understanding of safety concerns LGBTQ+ people have. It also informs what actions need to be taken to address these issues moving forward. We’re pleased that the report has had such a positive response since its launch.
We’re looking forward to working with stakeholders to implement the 12 key recommendations in the report, which we think will help create real and positive change.
An inclusive and diverse public transport network
Transport is a vital part of people’s lives, linking them to friends, family, work, and leisure activities. Given this, it’s important our transport reflects London’s diversity, so it can better meet the needs of everyone who uses it.
Unfortunately, at the moment it isn’t always a safe space. This is a barrier to travel, at a time when we should be supporting people to use public transport. It has a real impact on people – for example some people we spoke to stopped travelling at certain times of day.
Our new research reflects this impact too. Of the LGBTQ+ people we spoke to:
Four in five said they change their behaviour or appearance to avoid abuse or harassment when travelling
One in five said they have experienced hate crime in the past year while travelling in London
Two-thirds of those who had experienced abuse or harm said bystanders did not intervene
Many have little confidence or trust in the police, so incidents often go unreported.
Clearly many LGBTQ+ people are concerned about their everyday safety. Some felt this more than others, with trans+ people, Deaf and Disabled LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ People of Colour more likely to express this view.
Understanding these different experiences can help us build an inclusive and diverse transport network that everyone can confidently and safely use.
How can London businesses help?
London Businesses can help in many ways – here are our top three:
Share the findings of our research to engage communities and industry stakeholders, and continue dialogue for safer transport.
Look at how you might be able to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in your organisation, for example prioritise creating a welcoming environment and visibly demonstrating allyship.
Of course, there is more work that needs to be done outside of this training and the report itself. I hope that through education and awareness, together we can work to make transport a safer space for everyone.
London TravelWatch (LTW) is the official independent transport watchdog for the capital city. We promote integrated transport policies aimed at raising the quality, performance, and accessibility of services, while continuing to make sure they are affordable and safe for all who use them. We cover all forms of transport including those who walk, cycle or wheel in the capital.