No Ticket to Ride: A Systematic Definition of Transit Insecurity

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No Ticket to Ride: A Systematic Definition of Transit Insecurity


The ability of persons and communities to reliably access transit is a pressing one that has not yet received significant attention in the literature on city planning, in public discourse, or in policy research. This scoping review focuses on factors that negatively impact a person or community’s ability to have reliable access to transit; we call such persons and communities ‘transit insecure’. Because of the lack of existing research in the area, the term lacks a widely accepted definition, scale, and metrics of assessment. To arrive at a definition and set of metrics, a systematic search was conducted in three electronic databases for studies pertaining to transit insecurity. Over 200 articles were initially identified and, after review and screening for relevance, a total of 15 articles were included in the analysis, ranging in publication date from 2005 to 2020. By analyzing common themes and concerns across these articles, four factors were found that affect transit insecurity: low income, long travel distance, long wait times, and limited accessibility. 



Dr. Dan Nathan-Roberts is an associate professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at San Jose State University. For this study, he collaborated with Dr. Noah Friedman-Biglin, Andy Chen, and Ilyada Karogel.


Dr. Noah Friedman-Biglin is an assistant professor of philosophy at San Jose State University.

July 2021
Transit insecurity
Transit equity
Transportation access
Transit security



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